Elected Member

Gretchen Hoff Varner

San Francisco, CA
Covington & Burling LLP
Harvard College, A.B.
Yale Law School, J.D.

Ms. Hoff Varner is a partner at Covington & Burling LLP who represents a wide range of companies in high-stakes coverage litigation and arbitration and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurers. She is a noted trial lawyer who has successfully arbitrated or tried multiple insurance cases, including a contested arbitration for Exxon over coverage for MTBE contamination that resulted in a $25 million recovery; an insurance coverage trial on behalf of E. & J. Gallo Winery that resulted in a favourable ruling from the bench and subsequent settlement on the eve of a bad faith trial; and a jury trial on behalf of California agriculture company Lagorio Bros, Inc., resulting in a favourable verdict.  

Ms. Hoff Varner's trial work also reflects her commitment to public service; she led the Covington trial teams that overturned New York City's racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk policy after a three-month trial in the Southern District of New York, and challenged unconstitutional conditions for mentally ill prisoners in a Mississippi private prison.

Ms. Hoff Varner has particular expertise with respect to cutting edge cyber-liability claims resulting from high-profile data breaches, and has successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for data breach losses. She also brings expertise and skill to complex business interruption claims, and has successfully litigated multimillion business interruption cases arising from fires, hurricanes, and other catastrophes.  

Outside the courtroom, Ms. Hoff Varner is a trusted advisor to corporate decision-makers on first party losses, D&O claims, business interruption, event cancellation, product liability, media liability, environmental claims, and general liability policies, and has resolved multiple high-dollar matters without the need for litigation.

Ms. Hoff Varner is often praised for her ability to translate complex insurance concepts into practical guidance. She is the past Chair of the Insurance Section of the San Francisco Bar Association and is a frequent speaker to industry groups and at conferences.

 Gretchen Hoff Varner Image
Areas of Expertise
Insurance Law
Commercial Law