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Defending Insured Risk Cases (from CPR Legal Program Proceedings, P 64-77, 1984 - See NCJ-97003)

NCJ Number
97006
Date Published
1984
Annotation
The nature of the interaction between the insured, the insurance company, and the outside counsel in disputes involving insurance companies is examined, and opportunities for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in this area are explored.
Abstract
Disputes involving insurance companies are of two types: coverage disputes and claims. Both types normally involve responsible parties on both sides of the dispute, making for easier application of ADR. Barriers to the wider use of ADR in insured risk disputes are identified, including lack of knowledge and misunderstandings about insurance. Various issues that arise in insurance cases and affect the relationships of those involved are analyzed; perspectives of the insured, the outside counsel, and the insurance company are provided. The increased interest in insurance questions on the part of inhouse counsel is attributed to the increase in product liability cases and the increase in the resulting judgments and settlements. The differences between the structures of insured and uninsured cases are delineated, and carrier-provided defense counsel is identified as presenting a conflict in the area of insurance coverage. Other problems include the loyalty of the defense counsel, punitive damages, and the insuring of more than one defendant by the carrier. The novelty of having inside counsel involved in insurance disputes is addressed, and unfair claims practice statutes are considered. Finally, the need to educate people in the use of ADR and to communicate its positive results in terms of lower transaction costs, earlier resolution, and prevention of polarization between parties is emphasized.

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