One of my favorite things about the regional CLM conferences that I’ve been attending for several years now is the dialogue with insurance carriers. The Claims/Litigation Management sessions are chock full of insurers telling panel counsel what is important to them and how we can make their lives easier. There is no other forum in which I am so openly advised of client’s priorities and expectations. With that in mind, here are some of my takeaways from the 2017 CLM Southeast Conference.
What Was on the Collective Consciousness of Insurance Carriers at CLM Southeast 2017?
- Use a devil’s advocate to find the holes that you’re missing in your defense strategy and who will knock down the walls of your echo chamber.
- Build “touch points” into your practice management systems that help you maintain good, regular communication with your clients.
- Attorneys do well to appreciate and respect the business relationship between insurance carriers and their insureds.
- Using an executive summary at the top of cumulative reports and/or including new information in bold is helpful. Related: 74 page reports are not appreciated.
- Attorneys who disregard litigation guidelines (regardless of their other work product) will find themselves with unhappy clients, and eventually without a client altogether.
- Clients notice when the trend within your firm’s files is to have long cycle times.
- Don’t be a law firm that requires constant management and prodding from your clients to communicate and comply with guidelines.
- Increased allocated loss adjustment expenses (ALAE, i.e., higher case expenses) can be justified when the final result is a more desirable outcome.
- Law firms should base their case budgeting processes on real numbers that better enable insurers to manage claims and set reserves.
- Undoubtedly, budgets can change during the course of litigation, but attorneys need to notify insurers as soon as practicable of expected upticks in case expenses and necessary budget increases.
- Mediation allows the insured to have his day in court without the risks associated with trial.
- Lawyers provide a valuable service when they aggressively obtain information that enables clients to evaluate claims for early resolution, even if it results in higher case expenses, because it allows the insurer to close a file more quickly.
- The great majority of insurers are interested in hiring individual attorneys they know, like, and trust, as opposed to hiring firms.
- Soft metrics, like regular communication from panel counsel, may not be a measurable metric, but it doesn’t go unnoticed and does affect the relationship between the insurer and attorney.
- Your clients don’t need you to be a “trial lawyer.” They need you to be a problem-solver, which sometimes entails trying cases.
I expect to have some thoughts to add to these topics that insurance carriers addressed at the 2017 CLM Southeast conference. But in the meantime, I’m going to print these out, place them in plain view, and contemplate how to implement them in order to further my goals for 2018.