Excess or umbrella coverage

I’ve been representing policyholders in insurance coverage litigation for 35 years, and I’m convinced that I’ll never understand the logic of insurance company claim departments. They settle cases that I think they might want to fight, and they fight cases tooth-and-nail that I think they really should settle. (Maybe it’s me.)

The carrier’s claim file

Earlier this month, I was asked by Elizabeth Lorell, an excellent defense lawyer, to speak at a CLE conference sponsored by her law firm.  (You can read Elizabeth’s bio here.) The audience consisted of other defense lawyers, and insurance company claims representatives.  In other words, I was basically a snake at a mongoose convention.

I used to know a guy who worked for a major, nationally known public adjustment company.  In years where there were no major hurricanes or tornado incidents, he would literally walk around looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He never overtly wished death or destruction on anyone (as far

Here’s a fairly common circumstance in large commercial liability claims.  A policyholder settles with the carrier in Layer 1 for less than its limits, leaving a gap between Layer 1 and the next layer up.  Does the carrier in Layer 2 then have an obligation to contribute to settlement with the underlying plaintiff?  

Example:  I