“the cheapest quote.” That is a recipe for
disaster. Companies sometimes pick their
insurance based on price, only to then act
surprised when they do not receive platinum claim service.
Some due diligence tips include talking
to the claims people, as they will actually
be handling your cases; asking about their
claim philosophy; supplying hypotheticals and learning about their approach in
dealing with them; and checking out their
procedures, service standards, and chemistry. If you take away nothing else from
this discussion, then let it be the tip that
insurance-buying decisions do not hinge
upon price alone.
3 Make the case for settlement that
is based on liability. This will be most
persuasive to the adjuster. Perhaps the liability picture has degraded, or there are
new facts about the case. Has one of these
E A key defense expert “craters” or is unavailable.
E You lose a vital Daubert ruling.
E A bad document surfaces.
E A high-octane plaintiff’s firm has just
These are examples of compelling factors to use in making a case for liability—
and policy limits—on the merits.
4 Over-communicate with the carrier.
Avoid the “mushroom treatment,” where
you keep the insurer in the dark and
cover it with “bad stuff.” If you see the insurer as a glorified ATM machine, then
you will encounter problems. Issues will
arise if you treat the company like a potted plant—expecting it to stand quietly
in the corner and write checks when you
signal for money.
5 Communicate in various settings,
and document conversations. Keep insurers in the loop. Communicate in writing, but also, pick up the phone. Meet
face-to-face periodically. Cultivate
multiple communication channels with the insurance carrier. Keep meticulous records
of the dates and content of the communication in case there is ever a dispute.
6 Do not reflexively view insurers as
the enemy. Just like the flattest pancake
has two sides, the insurance company has
a definite perspective. Do not paint all in-
surers with the same broad brush. If you
approach them collaboratively, then it is
more likely that you will be able to maxi-
mize insurance coverage.
Charles Hunter McRee is a claims expert
and risk management executive. He has
more than 30 years of claims experience
and works for a division of a Fortune 500