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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Defeat These 10 Insurance Landmines With a Well-crafted Notice of Claim or Tender Letter

Previously I talked about Insurance Landmines that lurk in the process of sending a notice of claim or tender letter to your insurance company. (See “Avoiding ‘Notice’ Landmines When Seeking Coverage.”) Here I discuss 10 specific landmines in the notice process that a properly crafted notice of claim or tender letter can help you avoid.

Read more . . .

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Avoid “Notice” Landmines When Seeking Coverage

The receptionist just brought you a thick envelope. Inside are a summons and complaint revealing that your company and its CEO have been sued. You’ll need your insurance company to defend this lawsuit, so you pick up the phone. But who do you call? Do you call the insurance company? Do you call your broker? Do you call a lawyer first? Who do you call? 

Read more . . .

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

LANDMINE: The Certificate of Insurance

Many contracts require the junior party (the one with less leverage) to buy insurance for risks created by the contract and to have the senior party (the one with more leverage) listed on the policy as an additional insured. In most cases they require the junior party to provide a Certificate of Insurance to prove that the right kind of coverage has been purchased and that the superior party has been listed on the policy as an additional insured.

But a Certificate of Insurance by itself is meaningless.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 16, 2017

RULE NUMBER THREE: When You File a Claim, You Initiate an ADVERSARIAL Process

(Updated May 23, 2019.)

Following close behind Rule Number One and Rule Number Two is--Rule Number Three: When You File a Claim, You Initiate an Adversarial Process.

Some will say, “Everybody knows that.” But few people understand just how adversarial the process really is. Many of my clients over the years have not seen Rule Number One and Rule Number Two lurking behind the insurance adjuster’s friendly demeanor. They’ve discovered too late that the insurance company was not their friend, and that the adjuster was not protecting their interests. They’ve been shocked and dismayed to see how the adjuster used insurance policy language to deny, delay, or diminish their coverage. They’ve been deceived by the claim adjusters’ warm smiles and empathetic assurances. They simply have not appreciated the extent to which the claim handling process was strewn with Landmines.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 2, 2017

RULE NUMBER TWO: Your Insurance Policy is a CONTRACT.

The second most important thing I can communicate to people about insurance law is --Rule Number Two: Your Insurance Policy is a CONTRACT.

Some will say, “Everybody knows that.”  But there is much evidence to the contrary.  The vast majority of my clients over the years have never read their policies. Many of them, including lawyers, thought that regardless of the policy’s actual language their “reasonable expectation of coverage” would govern the policy’s coverage. Some thought that because the policy was an adhesion contract (and they normally are) a court would not enforce the policy as written.  Others believed that all policies say pretty much the same thing or that nothing can be done to get better policy language, so why bother?

But none of that is true.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

RULE NUMBER ONE: The Insurance Company is NOT Your Friend.

The single most important thing I can communicate about insurance law is--Rule Number One: The Insurance Company is NOT Your FRIEND.

Some will say, “Everybody knows that.” But I have witnessed the anguish of countless individuals--business owners, executives, professionals, and high net worth individuals--who thought their insurer was their friend, only to discover when the chips were down that their insurer was actually and exclusively a tough, sophisticated, for-profit business.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 4, 2017



Over my 26 (and counting) years of insurance law practice, I have been asked the following three questions countless times, always in this order, always with increasing exasperation:

  1. Am I covered?
  2. Why not?
  3. Why do I even buy insurance?!

This Insurance Landmines Series is designed to answer these and closely related questions. The short answer, however, is that the insurance transaction, from the design of the policy to the end of the very last claim, is littered with what I call “Insurance Landmines.” In short, these are the devices—unexpected and unforeseen by the policyholder—by which insurers delay, diminish, or deny coverage that the policyholder thought existed.

As you will see below, most of these Insurance Landmines are deliberately inserted into the insurance transaction by the insurer. Whether a given landmine was inserted dishonestly in a given case is something you must judge for yourself.

Read more . . .

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