insurance law

Ten Things: Insurance Law Basics for In-House Counsel

Looking back, I realize I spent a good amount of time working on insurance-related issues as in-house counsel.  Sometimes it was helping the insurance team figure out what types of coverage were needed, other times it was about filing a claim or trying to answer questions from senior management about how the policies worked, and – unfortunately – several times it involved litigation with the insurance carrier over its failure to pay claims.  I was thinking about insurance issues because my good friend and noted insurance law guru, Amy Stewart, recently published a book entitled “Texas Insurance Coverage Litigation – The Litigator’s Practice Guide (2015).” Reading through the pages I recalled various issues I came across over the last 20-something years.  Even though it’s aimed at Texas law, the book has very useful general discussions about insurance law issues.

As in-house counsel, you (or someone on your team) should have a solid understanding of basic insurance law issues.  While hopefully your company will never need to make a claim against its insurance, if it does, Legal’s ability to spot issues and help guide the process can mean the difference between a quick payout or a long court battle with the insurer.  You do not need to become an insurance law expert, but you should know the basics and know when you need to get help from outside counsel.  This edition of “Ten Things” will discuss some things you should be familiar with regarding insurance purchased by your company.