May 3, 2016

Clarissa Cerda on Insurance for Bet The Company Litigation

Posted in Advice on Insurance by Miller Friel

In today’s video, Miller Friel client Clarissa Cerda gives General Counsel advice on how in-house lawyers can develop a strategy to address and deal with bet the company litigation.  Any time a company faces litigation or governmental investigations, insurance is an important component of any solution.  In this video, Clarissa discusses exactly how companies can integrate insurance recovery into a comprehensive defense and recovery strategy.  

In Clarissa’s particular case, when she was hired as General Counsel, the company was facing a series of highly contentious issues.  They faced dozens of lawsuits, and a strategy needed to be developed to successfully defend those lawsuits.  Rather than dealing with insurance as an afterthought, Clarissa integrated Insurance recovery expertise into the company’s overall strategy, so that defense costs incurred by the company could be recovered from the company’s insurance carriers.  Clarissa understood that she needed a team of insurance recovery experts to help untangle policy language, case history, and notice issues that were at the heart of insurance recovery.  We were happy to step in and work closely with Clarissa’s team of team of world class defense lawyers and in-house counsel to develop a strategy that ultimately secured significant insurance recovery funds for the company

Watch the video to learn more about Clarissa’s particular situation, and give us a call if you find yourself addressing similar concerns.  Our Washington, DC office number is 202-760-3160.

We have included the transcript below:

Clarissa Cerda on Insurance for Bet The Company Litigation

I came into a situation where the company had approximately fifty-five bet the company cases going within sixty days of my starting with the company. All of these actions were starting to hit at the time that I was coming in in litigation. Which means the disputes and the facts that gave the company notice that there might be potential issues started years earlier before I had joined the company.

Miller Friel helped me assess as we were getting blind sided with many of these lawsuits or rejection matters from the insurance companies, or lack of notice to insurance companies. They really help me sort through just a tangle of different notices, some that had been given correctly, and some that had not.

We went from that situation to coming up with the strategy, not just answering these issues in one off sort of way, but really coming up with the strategy for what we want to do for the company going forward. What processes are we going to put in place so that this doesn’t happen in the future, while at the same time untangling what happened in the past.

Unfortunately, what happened in the past is that we did not have a dedicated individual with the appropriate insurance expertise in-house to be able to handle that situation. So, I adopted Miller Friel as my in-house expertise, even though they were really outside counsel, but they were very good at understanding how to blend with the team, how to work with me.

I cannot tell you how responsive they were, how collaborative they were, not just with my internal team but with other law firms. They worked very well with the other players on the team, making it unnecessary for me to always play the middle role. One of the nice things is that once everyone understood that Miller Friel was there to serve that role, my other lawyers in these other cases felt very comfortable dealing directly with Miller Friel to give the notices.

So, instead of them being a middle person, the notices went directly to Miller Friel with copies of course and records being kept in the internal legal department. But everyone felt very comfortable and we included them on a lot of the team strategies because our strategies in these litigations were not done in a vacuum without considering the potential insurance consequences.

Either of recovery or of exclusion and by including them in the original planning sessions with my other litigators, we were able to be very strategic about how we approached insurance recovery.

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