The Practical Role of Policyholder Counsel
By Gary Thompson
The use of experienced counsel dedicated solely to the policyholder (adverse to the insurers) is important to the recovery of insured losses from insurers.
1. When there is a loss, policyholder counsel reviews loss assessment, studies the policies that may cover the loss, and advises (a) where coverage is clear; (b) where ambiguous coverage should be resolved in favor of coverage; (c) where insurers are being aggressive in any coverage-minimizing arguments; and (d) how the deductible and limits apply.
2. We provide ongoing privileged advice as specific issues emerge, working with other involved counsel, experts, accountants, contractors, or others working on the client team.
3. We help draft or edit letters and e-mails to insurers/adjusters or others as issues develop, carefully protecting rights and positions.
4. We review any agreements that relate to or intersect with the insurance, such as loan agreements, leases, and management agreements.
5. We participate in the claim negotiation process when it is appropriate to involve counsel, working with risk managers, brokers, and others. When there is a favorable opening, we mediate or arbitrate a claim to resolution.
6. If it is necessary to litigate, we are qualified to:
- (a) file a court complaint;
- (b) invoke insurance administrative procedures;
- (c) conduct specialized discovery;
- (d) seek fees and extra-contractual damages; and
- (e) take the case to trial.
7. Finally, we add value in the renewal process – our experience allows us to spot possible coverage gaps and ambiguities that can be addressed with policy changes.
Thompson DC Law bills at hourly rates significantly lower than big firms, or under flexible fee arrangements. For further information contact our team or call us at (202) 256-9910.