There’s a very true old quote about interpreting insurance policies that I (and other policyholder lawyers) like to cite.  It goes: “Ambiguity and incomprehensibility seem to be the favorite tools of the insurance trade in drafting policies. Most are a virtually impenetrable thicket of incomprehensible verbosity…The miracle of it all is that the English language

When I was a kid in Maplewood, New Jersey, our next-door neighbor was a feisty Irish widow named Anne Byrne.  (She was related to our former Governor, Brendan Byrne, but I forget how.)  When I would do something stupid, which usually involved putting some kind of ball through one of her windows, she would grab

“Subrogation” seems to be a simple concept. You suffer a loss. Your insurance company pays for the loss. Your insurance company then assumes your rights against the party that damaged you. But, like everything in the insurance world, subrogation can result in numerous complications. The problem, of course, is that if your insurance company doesn’t

I’ve sometimes commented on this blog that my first boss in the business warned me: “If you assume there’s no coverage, you won’t find any.” There are plenty of risk managers and brokers who believe that general liability insurance coverage exists primarily to protect against people falling down in the parking lot. Not suprisingly, many

I’m not a big fan of arbitration.  I think it costs too much (which kind of goes against its main marketing point), and I don’t particularly like the fact that there’s no right of appeal absent the arbitrator committing fraud. Having said that, and with so many Sandy-related claims still pending in New Jersey, I

“For want of a shoe, the horse was lost,” goes the old saying.  If you handle claims from the policyholder side, nothing will aggravate you more than seeing a perfectly good claim go awry because of poor risk management controls in an organization, especially the failure to give notice under potentially applicable insurance policies.

The

Lawyers and insurance companies are forever reserving their rights.  Sometimes I think it’s a reflex action against ever being forced to take an actual position.  But in the world of insurance coverage, “reservation of rights” letters do serve a function. Insurance companies fear that if they undertake the investigation or defense of a claim, for example