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Legal Consulting

TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLAIMS

“To the uninformed, “a claim is a claim is a claim.” To some extent this is true. Any type of liability claim requires proof that the insured owed a duty to another person or entity, that the insured breached this duty, and that the breach was the proximate cause of quantitatively measurable damages suffered by the person or entity to whom the duty was owed. Thereafter, it becomes a matter of determining whether or not there are any defenses such as comparative or contributory negligence on the part of the claimant. Finally, there is the question of coverage—the issue of whether or not the policy will respond to the claim. ….

There are significant differences between managing professional liability claims, compared to those arising out of more standardized coverages. …”

THE RISKS INHERENT IN DIMINISHING LIMIT POLICIES

“Diminishing limits policies create a host of potential problems for insurance company claim departments. As is well known the insurance industry has long been plagued with “nuisance” claims. While in some instances insurance companies make quick settlements of nuisance claims to avoid defense cost expenditures, in others, insurers will attempt to resist such claims to avoid setting a precedent, thereby sending a message to the plaintiff’s bar that nuisance claims will not be honored. Considering that defense costs are deducted from the policy’s aggregate limits, either course of action places an insurance company in a difficult position. … “

CONTINUITY AND PRIOR/PENDING LITIGATION EXCLUSIONS IN THE CLAIMS-MADE POLICY FORM

“Directors and officers liability policies have long been issued on a “pure claims-made” basis (a
phrase this writer first coined in 1990). That is, they were written with no prior act date (also
known as a retroactive date). As a result, wrongful acts of the directors and officers dating
back to corporate formation were covered as long as the claim was first made against the insured
during the policy term. To minimize the singular risk D&O insurers were taking (i.e.,
“what probability exists that a claim will be first made against the insured during the policy
term?”), they began using a “continuity date” and/or a “prior/pending litigation exclusionary”
date that was the same as the inception date of the first policy issued. The date the insured
first obtained coverage thus became known as the “first coverage date” so the “continuity
date” could be honored at renewal. This was reinforced by a warranty within the application
for coverage stating that the insured was or was not aware of facts, incidents, or circumstances
that could give rise to a claim in the future.”

A Review of the Modern Claims Made Form

“Since its creation, “claims made” wording’s use has expanded outside of the “profession” and professional liability realm, finding use in diverse liability coverages. But the roots of “claims made” wording, and its most common use still, is found in covering the exposures created by a “professional’s” activities. As seen by the list of true “professions,” professionals are individuals who provide a service to society which, if done poorly, could cause extreme or irreparable personal or financial harm. …

The expansion of claims made policy forms beyond “professions” caused the basic “claims made” concept to diverge and evolve into two distinct forms. One evolutionary branch commenced in professional liability coverages (known also as “errors and omissions” coverages in this series) and the second branch grew out of the financial services industry and the need for directors and officers liability protection, fiduciary liability and employment practices liability (referred throughout this series as “executive liability” coverages).

Although both branches attach to the tree at the same point; greatly different “claims made triggers” have resulted. Additionally, coverage terms, conditions and definitions differ between the two branches.”

Tips for lawyers on working with Expert Witnesses – what’s not taught in Law shcool

“Lawyers are advocates, and as such try to paint the best picture of the facts for their clients. It’s a good strategy in front of a jury or arbitrator, but not with an expert. The non-confidential information about the case that the other side is going to learn anyway should not be kept from an expert. Otherwise, a strongly favorable expert opinion can tumble like a house of cards on crossexamination.

It can ruin your whole day, not to mention the case. Sometimes, your expert can do you an immense favor (if hired early) by identifying a truly hopeless case—one that should be settled before the other side realizes just how good their case is. But he or she can only do that with an accurate knowledge of the facts.

A caveat: the attorney’s opinions about the case and confidential communications with the client should not be given to an expert, or they may become discoverable. There are ways to get damaging information to an expert without breaching the attorney‐client or work‐product privileges”

Agency Networks Aid Agency Net Worth

The advantages and disadvantages of joining an Agency Network…and the issues to be considered in selecting a suitable Agency Network.

Charles C Hewitt

Chuck Hewitt is a veteran insurance claims executive with 45+ years of multi-line claim department experience and leadership at national and regional carriers. Particular strengths in coverage analysis, creation, and teaching; bad faith defense; technical and management training; claims management; cyber liability; employment practices liability; litigation management; customer relations; reinsurance; and runoff operations. Multiple appearances…

Oliver V. Baker

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Craig Andrews

Craig Andrews is a Senior Consultant with Malecki Deimling Nielander & Associates, LLC.  Craig entered the property-casualty industry as a producer in an independent insurance agency in Defiance, Ohio in 1977.  A few months later, he established his own independent agency “from scratch”.  He operated the agency successfully until selling it in 1996 to join…

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