Main Menu



Michael S. Olsan Partner

Chair, Commercial Litigation Department
Philadelphia, PA | Direct 215.864.6278Fax 215.789.7508
vCardPrint to PDF

When insurers and reinsurers need creative solutions to complex problems, they call on Michael Olsan to partner with them and provide sound counsel and representation. Advising insurance and reinsurance companies for over 25 years, Michael understands the business of insurance. He has significant reinsurance arbitration experience with matters involving follow-the-fortunes, accumulation of claims, recovery of declaratory judgment expenses, offset, insolvencies, billing of asbestos claims under clash treaties, breach of warranties, misrepresentation in the procurement of reinsurance, priest molestation claims and recovery for extra-contractual obligations and payments in excess of policy limits on behalf of ceding companies and reinsurers. 

Michael has taken many of his cases to final arbitration award with a substantial success rate. As a counselor, Michael advises his clients on a wide array of issues including the applicability of reinsurance contracts to particular claims, posing or responding to inquiries about reinsurance billings and drafting new or renewal contract wordings.

In addition to his reinsurance practice, Michael represents major property and casualty companies in coverage disputes in environmental, asbestos and mass tort liability cases, many of which involve tens of millions of dollars in coverage potentially recoverable from his clients. He was lead counsel in a major asbestos bankruptcy case that resulted in denial of plan confirmation in favor of the insurance carriers. Additionally, he has substantial experience successfully mediating complex coverage disputes. He also counsels his clients on coverage issues arising out of a variety of insurance policies in an effort to avoid expensive and contentious litigation.

During law school, Michael was the Technical Editor of the Syracuse Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Michael is a frequent speaker at reinsurance seminars and is also a fellow of the Academy of Advocacy of Temple University. 

Representative Matters

  • Successfully argued to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division – First Department that a reinsurer’s statute of limitations defense should be decided by arbitration panel rather than the court
  • Represented ceding companies concerning the application of treaty retentions to multi-year policies
  • Represented ceding companies in issues involving Bellefonte
  • Represented property casualty company in recovering reinsurance for asbestos claims under clash reinsurance treaties
  • Obtained declaratory judgment on behalf of several ceding companies implementing claims handling protocols and requiring reinsurers to reimburse payment of asbestos claims

  • Recovered reinsurance on behalf of an issuer of surety bonds to Enron

  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of reinsurer based on treaty’s exclusion of extra-contractual obligations
  • Successfully defeated a reinsurer's claim that a ceding company client had breached a warranty contained in a treaty
  • Advised major property casualty company on Treaty wording for new line of business in South America
  • Represented Century Indemnity Company in defeating plan confirmation in In re Pittsburgh Corning 

Recognition & Involvement

Since 2007, Michael has been selected in a survey of his peers as a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers.

Michael is a pro bono attorney with the Support Center for Child Advocates.


Bar and Court Admissions


New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


Syracuse University College of Law, summa cum laude, 1989

Franklin and Marshall College, BA, 1986 




Pennsylvania Bar Association

Back to Page