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.

“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 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

As the weeks following Sandy have stretched into months, and the months are beginning to stretch into years, businesses and homeowners with unresolved claims have been asking me whether it’s worthwhile to complain about their carrier to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (“DOBI”).  Truth be told, it’s a complete waste of time.

Settling complex insurance claims involving multiple carriers can be like playing three-dimensional chess. (Since I can’t even play one-dimensional chess, that means it’s really difficult.) I once had a multimillion-dollar environmental insurance coverage settlement fall apart because one of the participating carriers would not assume an extra 1% of the coverage, despite (or perhaps because

Here’s an interesting situation that recently came up.  A general contractor (Aristone) got sued in a construction defect case involving continuous water damage to a building over several policy periods, involving several insurance companies.  One of Aristone’s carriers – OneBeacon – stepped up to provide a defense.  Another – Pennsylvania Manufacturers – took a “no

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

Here’s a fairly frequent scenario in the insurance world.  The carrier takes a “no- pay” position on a liability claim.  The policyholder settles the case and then seeks reimbursement from the carrier in a coverage suit.  What exactly does the policyholder have to prove in order to get paid?  

In Fireman’s Fund v. Security Ins.