United States: Insurance Advisory Services (Video Content)

Last Updated: November 3 2015
Article by Brian Friel

Miller Friel's Insurance Advisory Services leverage our extensive expertise in Insurance Recovery Claims to bring value to our clients before a claim has been made.  Because one word in an insurance policy can make the difference between recovering hundreds of millions of dollars, or nothing, many of our clients have come to the understanding that it is less expensive to fix a problem before a claim has been made, than it is to litigate coverage after the fact.  Because we have such detailed knowledge of this area of law, we can add value to our clients while they are negotiating coverage.  By suggesting enhanced policy wording to address the ever changing legal landscape, costly claims issues can be avoided, and additional policyholder claims flexibility can be achieved.   This kind of legal preparation and forethought can save your company millions of dollars in the long run.

To learn more, watch the video and please call us if you have any questions about your existing coverage or about any policies that you are in the process of renewing.

If you would prefer to read the transcript, we’ve included it below:

Ensuring our clients get the best insurance policy through careful assessment.

One of the other areas that we practice in, a service that we provide to our clients, is what we call insurance advisory services. Our clients typically use an insurance broker to help them either purchase insurance for the first time or renew an existing insurance program. It could be directors and officers, it could be their general liability, it could be their property business interruption insurance. So what we do is we come in and provide an independent and legal assessment of the policies. Sort of back stopping if you will, working with their insurance brokers to make sure there clients are not only getting the best insurance possible at the best prices but getting the best of terms and conditions in those insurance policies.

Insurance Advisory Services

These policies change from year-to-year, from underwriter to underwriter, it makes an enormous difference. One single term in a policy, one single provision, one single exclusion, can mean the difference between whether your hundred million dollar loss is covered or not covered. So what we like to do is bring the experience on the claim side inlitigating these claims against insurance carriers and then bring it over to the advisory services side and really bring value to our clients so that they get enhancements, basically, to those insurance policies and making sure that their insurance brokers are really delivering the best possible insurance policies and programs available in the market.

One example of what we do in the insurance advisory services area, just recently for a client of ours, they have what we call a sort of multilayer insurance program, which is made up of a primary insurance policy and above that will be a series of excess policies. Sort of your tower of coverage. So for this particular client we’re talking about the total of $50 million in coverage, primary at $5 million and then the other at $45 million of what we call additional or excess insurance. Here’s the issue, the excess policies all had language that said, we are only going to be triggered if the underlying or primary insurer pays their policy limits in full and the insurance company pays it. Period.

Here’s the problem. Our client had a claim. They want to settle with the underlying insurer, the primary, it was a $5 million policy they had a dispute about coverage. Our client was willing to pay $1 million towards the policy limit, the primary was going to pay four, for a total of five, to exhaust the program, to exhaust that policy. The excess policies all had this language that said, sorry we are not triggered, because the underlying ensurer did not pay all $5 million itself. You policyholder, made a contribution of $1 million. This is a very, very bad situation. We see it all too often. Recently, we saw the same language on a series of renewal policies. We, working with the broker and our client, were able to negotiate that language out of the excess policies so that now and a future dispute, if our client wants to make a contribution to the primary insurer, or maybe another underlying excess ensurer, the other carriers above them, the other excess insurers are going to then be triggered and so their insurance proceeds will be available to our client. It is a very, very important aspect of a multilayered insurance program, but all too often it causes a problem later on with an actual live dispute.

This is just an example of where our insurance advisory services identify a problem early on, fix it, modify it, so that we don’t have a problem later on when we have a live dispute. We have insurance policies that are enhanced, are more responsive and really more applicable to our clients in the claims that they are involved in.

Miller Friel, PLLC is a specialized insurance coverage law firm whose sole purpose is to help corporate clients maximize their insurance coverage. Our Focus of exclusively representing policyholders, combined with our extensive Experience in the area of insurance law, leads to greater efficiency, lower costs and better Results. Further discussion and analysis of insurance coverage issues impacting policyholders can be found in our Miller Friel Insurance Coverage Blog and our 7 Tips for Maximizing Coverage series. For additional information about this post, please email or call Brian Friel (FrielB@MillerFriel.com, 202-760-3162).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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