Obituary: Eugene Wollan

New York Law Journal

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Eugene Wollan
Eugene Wollan

Eugene Wollan, a lawyer who spent his 60-year career with Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass and literally wrote the book on reinsurance law, died Feb. 2 after a short illness. He was 84.

Wollan was one of the first attorneys to specialize in insurance law and rose to international prominence in the field. He began his career representing insurers. Reinsurance was his primary area of practice for the past 25 years. He represented several high-profile companies, including American International Group.

Wollan never retired and continued serving as counsel until recently. In December, he celebrated his 60th year with the firm.

At Mound Cotton, Wollan was as a mentor to three generations of lawyers on insurance, reinsurance and legal writing. In an announcement of his passing, the firm described him as "dean of the reinsurance bar."

Wollan wrote the "Handbook of Reinsurance Law," a 500-page tome that covers the rise of the reinsurance industry and key decisions and cases in reinsurance law. He was an editor of the ARIAS Quarterly, the journal of the national AIDA reinsurance and insurance arbitration society; a contributing editor of the John Liner Review, a publication for insurance agents and brokers; and a member of the editorial board of Risk Management Reports. Wollan also authored several insurance and reinsurance texts with his Mound Cotton colleagues.

"He was always known as an individual with extraordinary intellect," said Lawrence Greengrass, a partner who worked with Wollan for 38 years. "He was an extremely sought-after attorney in his field. He was calm and he was a gentleman, and he really taught many of us that you could be assertive without being offensive."

Wollan was a stickler for proper grammar, Greengrass said. He frequently corrected his colleagues' work and knew the reason for every arcane grammar rule.

Wollan graduated with honors from Harvard College. He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and also attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He served as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve JAG Corps.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Marjorie; two children, Jennifer and Cosmo; two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

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