Blue Bell, Pa.-based insurance law firm Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton is set to open an office in Greensboro, N.C., with the addition of four area lawyers.
It is scheduled to open November 1.
David L. Brown will join Nelson Levine as a partner from Greensboro firm Pinto Coates Kyre & Brown, where he had been a partner, and will head up the new office.
Brown will bring with him Pinto Coates partners Martha P. Brown, John I. Malone Jr. and Brady A. Yntema, who will also join Nelson Levine as partners.
Nelson Levine Chairman Michael R. Nelson said North Carolina represents an important market for the insurance industry.
“We felt like our footprint, because of what we are building, is about having a presence in more than just the Northeast market, and the Southeast U.S. is certainly the next logical step with what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “North Carolina, especially, is sort of on the cutting edge of the Southeast.”
Greensboro, along with the cities of Winston-Salem and High Point, constitute the Piedmont Triad, a hub of industry in North Carolina.
The Triad is located to the west of North Carolina’s other industrial hub known as the Research Triangle, which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
Several of Pennsylvania’s 100 largest firms have North Carolina offices, but none are located in the Triad, according to a scan of PaLaw, an annual publication affiliated with The Legal Intelligencer.
Cozen O’Connor, K&L Gates, Dechert, Dickie McCamey & Chilcote, Littler Mendelson, DLA Piper and McGuireWoods all have offices in either Charlotte or the Research Triangle, according to PaLaw.
McGuireWoods also has a Wilmington, N.C., office, according to PaLaw.
Nelson said having a presence in the Carolinas is essential to the firm’s commitment to serving the insurance industry.
“We have a very strong belief that the Lloyd’s of London market has been looking for us to take this step because they’d like to see us have a greater presence in North Carolina and South Carolina,” he said.
Nelson said his firm took an interest in Brown and his group because their practices focus on a number of emerging insurance issues. Nelson specifically pointed to Brown’s focus on coverage related to DNA identification.
According to Nelson, DNA testing is “starting to have implications in the insurance world with regard to, ‘What does it mean when all of the sudden a new body of evidence has become more accepted?’”
Brown said the issue often emerges in wrongful incarceration cases.
Brown is also heavily involved in work related to commercial general liability coverage for construction defect claims, which he said is “a really big issue” across the country, but particularly in the Southeast.
According to Brown, growth in the region has led to increased construction and, in turn, increased construction defect claims.
Brown’s practice also involves matters related to allocation, property coverage and directors and officers liability.
Brown said he was attracted to Nelson Levine because of the firm’s sole focus on the insurance industry and its emerging issues, as well as the camaraderie among its attorneys.