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NEW YORK—Eugene R. Anderson, a founding member of New York-based insurance recovery firm Anderson Kill & Olick P.C., died Friday morning after a long illness.
Described by many of his peers as the “dean of policyholder attorneys,” Mr. Anderson, 82, was a frequent speaker at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. annual conference and other insurance industry events. He also wrote numerous articles about insurance coverage issues and is the co-author of a two-volume treatise titled “Insurance Coverage Litigation.”
Admitted to the bar in 1953, Mr. Anderson once served as an assistant U.S. attorney. He also was a member of the New York City Mayor's Task Force on Automobile Insurance, chairman of the Amicus Committee of United Policyholders, director of Citizens Against Unfair Insurance Practices and a director of the Police Athletic League.
Mr. Anderson was a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Harvard Law School and New York University School of Law.
Mr. Anderson often used insurance coverage as a mechanism for social reform, taking insurers to court to fund environmental cleanups, medical treatment for asbestos cancers, experimental treatment of advanced breast cancer, and to pay to rebuild black churches in the south that had been targeted by arsonists.
“He was a creative genius. He thought "outside the box' way before that phrase ever was coined,” said Bob Horkovich, a partner at Anderson Kill, in an e-mail correspondence announcing Mr. Anderson's passing.
Moreover, “Gene was a unique individual, a true character. His cowboy boots, the wooden moose head in this office that his brother carved with a chain saw, his kindergarten certificate on his wall instead of his law degree from Harvard...all demonstrated that he could care less about social trappings. He enjoyed defying them,” Mr. Horkovich wrote.
“He empowered women lawyers, and he empowered junior lawyers to learn how to stand on their own two feet and to not just practice law but to act like business people and find ways to solve their clients' problems,” said Ed Joyce, a former partner in the coverage group at Anderson Kill who is now a partner in the Insurance Recovery Group in the New York office of Jones Day.
Mr. Anderson also was respected by his adversaries in the courtroom.
“Gene Anderson was both a pioneer and giant in the insurance coverage area. I admired him greatly, and he will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues of the bar,” said Barry R. Ostrager, a senior partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett L.L.P. in New York who heads the firm's litigation department.