Insurance Expert Witness On Bad Faith Cases – Part 12

In Negotiating and Settling Insurance Bad Faith Cases , insurance expert witness Guy O. Kornblum of GK Consultants, LLC, writes:

Insurance bad faith cases offer an early opportunity for resolution for several reasons. First of all, they are expensive to prepare and try. Capturing the case early, evaluating the damages, and looking at the down the line costs should motivate both sides to review the case to see if mediation at an early stage is prudent. Second, insurance bad faith cases present a unique opportunity for an early evaluation. If there are coverage issues, they can be evaluated by reviewing the policy provisions and the applicable law. Because there is already a “paper trail” called a “claims file,” there is an excellent source of information for preparing a chronology of claims handling and learning what was done and why. Once the pertinent files are obtained, you should have considerable information about the claims handling, and the reasoning, or lack of such, behind it.

The pertinent insurance company files can be obtained and reviewed early in the case. This may include underwriting and claims files as well as industry and company manuals as a means for evaluating how the claim was handled – that is, what was done and why. The client and client representatives, such as brokers should be interviewed and files obtained for review. On the defense side, the company personnel should be interviewed to determine the basis for underwriting and claims decisions.

In some cases the parties might agree on limited early discovery with a view towards mediating once they have completed this preliminary discovery or informal exchange of information.