Safeguard Your Litigation Rights Whenever Using Insurance Brokers On Complex Insurance Claims

Safeguard Your Litigation Rights Whenever Using Insurance Brokers On Complex Insurance Claims

 

Safeguard Your Litigation Rights Whenever Using Insurance Brokers On Complex Insurance Claims

Companies facing catastrophic losses, whether because of any sort of accident or perhaps a natural disaster, or because of mass tort claims, frequently will engage both their insurance agent and a lawyer to recognize and pursue potentially responsible insurers. The insurance coverage broker could be a valuable resource throughout the claims process and, amongst other things, might help:

..develop loss allocation models to aid insurance recoveries

..collect, organize, and evaluate the client’s documentation of losses

..supplement counsel’s understanding from the insurance sell to help develop settlement strategy and

..leverage lengthy-standing business relationships to facilitate settlement of claims disputes.

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November 20, 2014
Safeguard Your Litigation Privileges When Working With
Insurance Brokers On Complex Insurance Claims
Businesses facing catastrophic losses, whether as a result of an accident or
a natural disaster, or due to mass tort claims, frequently will engage both
their insurance broker and legal counsel to identify and pursue potentially
responsible insurers. The insurance broker can be a valuable resource
during the claims process and, among other things, can help:
• develop loss allocation models to support insurance recoveries;
• collect, organize, and analyze the client’s documentation of
losses;
• supplement counsel’s knowledge of the insurance market to help
develop negotiation strategy; and
• leverage long-standing business relationships to facilitate
settlement of claims disputes.
Clients must keep in mind, however, that disputed claims often proceed to
litigation or arbitration. Once adversarial proceedings commence, insurers
will argue that the broker is not the client’s attorney, but rather a “third-
party” to the attorney-client relationship. Insurers often pursue discovery
of broker-client communications as well as attorney-client communications
that are shared with the broker. These efforts by insurers can be overcome
by establishing that the broker was engaged to assist counsel in gathering
factual information, preparing for litigation, or otherwise formulating
confidential legal advice, rather than performing the typical “day-to-day”
functions of an insurance brokerage. The burden is on the policyholder to
make this showing.
It is critical to document the reasons for the insurance broker’s
participation as part of the legal team at the outset of the claims
process. In order to protect the confidentiality of communications to the
greatest extent possible, and guard against inadvertent waiver of privileges,
the client and/or counsel should secure an agreement with the broker before
the broker is engaged to assist with a disputed claim. The agreement
should:
For more information, contact:
John H. Fontham
+1 202 626 5543
jfontham@kslaw.com
King & Spalding
Washington, D.C.
1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006-4707
Tel: +1 202 737 0500
Fax: +1 202 626 3737

www.kslaw.com

• Specify that the broker is being retained to assist counsel in formulating confidential legal advice;
• Outline the discrete functions the insurance broker will perform; and
• Specify that communications, files, and records will be maintained as privileged materials and labeled as
such.
A court or arbitral tribunal will still have to analyze and decide whether a particular communication, in fact, was
related to assisting with counsel’s rendition of legal services. By taking the steps outlined above, however, clients
can position themselves to have a strong factual record when adversarial proceedings commence.
* * *
Celebrating more than 125 years of service, King & Spalding is an international law firm that represents a broad array of clients, including half of the Fortune
Global 100, with 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has handled matters in over 160 countries on six
continents and is consistently recognized for the results it obtains, uncompromising commitment to quality and dedication to understanding the business and
culture of its clients. More information is available at www.kslaw.com.
This alert provides a general summary of recent legal developments. It is not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In some
jurisdictions, this may be considered “Attorney Advertising.”
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