General Counsel Tips on Insurance Policy Review

In this video, Clarissa Cerda explains her practices for the review of insurance policies for an NYSE publicly traded technology company. 

By any measure, Clarissa Cerda is a highly accomplished business person, lawyer and individual.  By age 35, Clarissa had worked as the assistant counsel to the President of the United States in the White House Counsel’s office, practiced as a Corporate & Securities partner at a top law firm, and became general counsel of a technology company.  She takes being financially driven to heart, and is known for developing business solutions, not just legal solutions, for her clients.  She has also been widely recognized for giving back to the community, and was recent named to Ethisphere Institute’s highly coveted  List of Attorneys Who Matter

Her approach to insurance policy review recognizes two important issues for GC’s to consider.  First, she emphasizes that insurance policy language controls coverage, and, in the event of a significant claim, insurance policy terms and conditions are more important than premiums.   Here, she explains the importance of insurance policy language, and illustrates some of the tactics she utilizes to make certain that insurance policy language is improved over time, at each renewal, so that it is the best that it can be.  Although this method of improving insurance coverage over time through the strategic use of insurance recovery counsel may be the norm for sophisticated organizations, see Moving Insurance Policies to Perfection Over Time, Clarissa also stresses a second, perhaps more important point: insurance policy reviews need to address corporate interests.  It does little good to suggest insurance policy changes that has little value to the company, or that does not help the organization achieve its corporate interests.  Lawyers, both inside the organization, and outside, need to think about what is being proposed, and adapt that advice to corporate interests and objectives. 

We are pleased that Clarissa Cerda has utilized Miller Friel to help her achieve these kinds of corporate and legal goals.  We hope that you find Clarissa’s experiences helpful, as you will be hearing more from her on a variety of insurance-related topics in the weeks to come.   If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Below is a transcript of the video:

The Importance of Legal Insurance Policy Review

My name is Clarissa Cerda and I am the Chief Legal Strategist for a public company and I’m here today to tell you about my experiences with the law firm of Miller Friel. One of the things that I’d like to talk to you about today that’s important to the Chief Legal Strategists and Chief Legal Officers is the role that Miller Friel can play in reviewing insurance policies at the beginning of a relationship.

Often times the company is looking to select its carrier based on the amount of the premium. And they neglect the fact that the policy inclusions in the scope of the coverage and the important things when an issue actually arises for the company and in deciding whether or not you’re going to be able to reimburse the loss buy your policy. In my situation I chose over the course of our partnership with Miller Friel to keep them on retainer on a regular basis to review all of our policies in all of our different insurance policies whether it was D&O or E&O or Cyber to make sure that we understood what we were actually paying for in our premiums.

And as a result we ended up being able to negotiate better coverage for the same premium and in fact it was the use of Miller Friel that helped us come up with some of the best policies to help us manage risk for the enterprise overall. One of the reasons why I put Miller Friel on retainer is that we worked with Miller Friel to improve our insurance coverage year over year.

When you start off as a private company and you move into being a public company or when you start as a smaller company into a larger company the options that you have available to you and your coverage change. And having someone like Miller Friel help you navigate that change or that growth in your business not just in the business but how you cover your losses is a very helpful collaboration that you want to have with a law firm that understands the intricacies of policy exclusions and coverage.

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