- Presentation A: Who's in Charge Here? Dealing with Difficulties that Arise Between Insurer and Insured as the Value of a Case Nears the Insured's Self-Insured Retention
Scott Nehs, BlueCross BlueShield Association
SESSION 1 - Presentation A: A TOWtal Loss for Insurers
Mark Pollack, CPCU, AIC, RPA, Affirmative Risk Management
Michael Schneiderman, Wellington Claims Service
Jeffrey Segal, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP
A growing concern for insurance companies and equipment owners are the abusive towing and storage practices by a tow company. Tow companies use their leverage from having possession of the vehicle and cargo to charge excessive towing and storage fees. When insurance companies or equipment owners refuse to pay or challenge the excessive fees, an insurance company might be surprised to learn that it can be strictly liable to a tow company for its towing and storage charges. The presentation will discuss the abusive towing practices taken by tow companies, and ways for insurance companies and equipment owners to minimize abusive practices. The presentation will also discuss state statutes that allow a tow company to bring a direct action against an insurance company that pays a total loss on a vehicle to recover any unpaid towing, clean up, and storage charges. The panel will discuss options for an insurance company when such a statute applies.
SESSION 1 - Presentation B: Shipwrecked - The Use of Modern Technology in Maritime Loses
Bryan Emond, SEA, Ltd.
Jerry Hamilton, Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel LLP
Robert Horner, Markel Service, Incorporated
In recent years, technology has greatly changed the way maritime losses are investigated, assessed and litigated. This is especially true in the area of vessel accident reconstruction, where a number of modern resources are available to investigators to assist them in determining the cause of an accident. An issue with these novel techniques and application of this technology is the fact that they may be considered novel. While these techniques can greatly improve the accuracy and foundation of an investigator’s findings, it can be difficult for those commissioning, receiving, defending or attempting to counter these methodologies to weigh their usefulness and validity. Participants will walk away from this presentation with an understanding of the capability and limitations of some newer vessel accident reconstruction technologies, as well as ways to ensure that the results of these highly technical methodologies can be relied upon to conclusively determine the cause of the accident and assess responsibility. These high-tech methodologies can also be used to preclude the opposing expert methodology from being accepted as fact.
SESSION 1 - Presentation C: The Early Bird Gets the Evidence: Investigating Motor Vehicle Collisions
Susan Lantz, CED Technologies - Engineering Experts
Elizabeth Sichi, City of Chicago
Bharat Varadachari, HeplerBroom LLC
Vehicles, no matter how large or small, obey the laws of physics and engineering. Multi-vehicle, multi-impact crashes are more complex and may require different types of analyses. When objects of vastly different sizes (such as a tractor-trailer and a car or a train and a pedestrian) collide, post-impact movements and injuries can be influenced by many different factors. To effectively reconstruct complex collisions, physical evidence (debris, skid marks, gouge marks, paint transfer, etc.) is essential. To obtain the necessary physical evidence, one must document the accident scene and collect the evidence as soon as possible after the collision. There may be only one opportunity to accurately document the accident site and the damage to the vehicles.
SESSION 2 - Presentation A: The Legal, Insurance, Technical, and Investigative Aspects of Commercial Motor Truck Cargo Claims
Darrin Kolbet, Marsh
Dennis Minichello, Marwedel, Minichello & Reeb, P.C.
David Stobbe, SEA, Ltd.
John Venneman, Sedgwick
This panel will provide an overview of the myriad issues that can result from a motor truck casualty involving damage to cargo; insurance coverage and exclusions; and legal liability, including subrogation—all from the point of view of the investigator, engineer, claims adjuster, and lawyer, emphasizing the dependence of each on the other for the successful resolution of a cargo claim for the insurer, the insured motor carrier and cargo owner, and pursuit of subrogation.
SESSION 2 - Presentation B: Advent & Acceptance of Biochemical Engineering Experts in Low Speed Impact Accidents
Steve Anderson, Self Employed
Richard Baratta, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
William A. Long, The Long Firm, LLP
Chris Massenburg, MG+M, The Law Firm
Are you an attorney, claims professional or risk manager in need of an advantage in the defense of your low impact accident case? Do you know in your heart that the plaintiffs in many of your cases are not hurt, or at least not as hurt as they claim to be? Should you just settle the case based on what the plaintiffs claim in damages, or is there a way to bolster your expert line-up and lessen the impact of the plaintiffs’ likely exaggerated damages?
Enter the biomechanical engineer. Biomechanical engineers use biomechanics to analyze the effects of accidents on the human body and are best known for their performance of automobile crashworthiness tests, development of artificial limbs, and design of surgical instruments, sports equipment, prostheses, and seat belts. Biomechanics is also utilized in the study of blood flow dynamics; imaging; medical products, parts, products and devices; cell culture technology; soft-tissue mechanics; and vascular disease. This presentation focuses primarily upon biomechanics in litigation of low speed impact accidents. It will provide an overview of the historical use of biomechanical experts in litigation, along with a jurisdictional breakdown of their acceptance and exclusion in courts-of-law throughout the United States. Additionally, and most importantly, this presentation will provide a guideline as to what your biomechanical experts need to do their job most effectively and to best avoid any limitations in court. You will receive a “to do” list, which will serve as a guide to preparing your case, and your expert, in the most effective manner possible. In so doing, this presentation should aid you in increasing your chances of bringing about a more desirable outcome in your low speed impact cases.
SESSION 2 - Presentation C: What the Driver Sees, or Doesn't See At Night
Robert Arnwine, Self Employed
Marc Bardack, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP
Renee Blum, Quality Distribution
Dirk Smith, Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
At some point in your career, you will be tasked with defending a case where your driver is in a nighttime accident and the plaintiff alleges he was “over driving his headlights.” This argument alleges your driver was driving too fast for nighttime conditions, even though he was driving at or below the speed limit. This presentation will explain the legal argument you are likely to encounter and your available defenses. It will also identify the relevant human factors variables that are critical to both proving and defending the claim. Participants will leave the presentation with an understanding of how to best defend against this type of claim.Back to top
SESSION 3 - Presentation A: Who's in Charge Here? Dealing with Difficulties that Arise Between Insurer and Insured as the Value of a Case Nears the Insured's Self-Insured Retention
Michael DeLonay, AXIS Specialty US Services Inc
Martin Levinson, Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP
Anthony McMahon, RLI Insurance Company
Whether you are a claims professional, risk manager, in-house counsel, or outside counsel, if you have handled large commercial losses, claims, or lawsuits in recent years, you probably have dealt with self-insured retentions (SIRs) and have some idea how they work. SIRs can be a great way for businesses to manage risk and maintain more control over at least some claims. But what happens as the cost or value of a claim or lawsuit approaches the insured’s SIR? This presentation will identify and discuss some of the key issues that can arise in these situations and will provide suggestions on how insurers and insureds can foresee and avoid or resolve some of the difficulties that can arise in this context. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of SIRs and how to handle some of the potential pitfalls or issues they may encounter as the value or cost of a case or claim approaches the total amount of an insured’s SIR.
SESSION 3 - Presentation B: Finding Exit Ramps in Transportation Cases Through the Use of Technology
Joseph R. Fowler, Fowler Hirtzel McNulty & Spaulding, LLP
Julie Oh, Airgas, Inc.
Daniel Winkler, Westfield Insurance
It is common knowledge that early identification of issues in claims provides for lower indemnity and defense costs. Transportation technology provides exceptional opportunities to target, investigate and evaluate all forms of claims. The marriage of transportation technology with litigation management principles related to early resolution of cases is obvious. Our panel will discuss ways for claims professionals and attorneys to find ways to accelerate the decision point and providing efficient outcomes to cases from both a cost and indemnity perspective.Back to top
SESSION 3 - Presentation C: Effective Approaches to Modern Claims Handling: Elements of a Modern Claim Process
Sean Doyle, SEA, Ltd.
Stephen Mulkey, North American Risk Services NARS
Steve Silvey, The Patterson Law Firm, LLC
Effective claims handling means different things to different people within the claims process and is often based on a perspective which is shaped by their particular role, be it claims adjuster, defense counsel, underwriter, excess carrier, the insured, etc.
We’re all supposed to be on the same team and headed the same direction - lawyers, company, carrier, experts, client, all in alignment with a common purpose. In our respective professional lives, we know that isn’t true as we encounter varying levels of friction with the concept every day. With a high performing team, there should be consensus with one definition, not three or more. Do you know it if it hits you (pun intended)? If not, why not?
We explore and discuss elements of effective claims handling in the context of the tri-partite relationship, from each of the main player’s perspective and using a catastrophic trucking claim as a foundation. Some of the topics addressed will include consistent and fair claims valuation, use of technology in claims and the discovery process, underwriting issues, setting reserves, as well as practical and ethical conflicts that can arise between counsel, claims and the insured/client.
Participants will leave the presentation with an understanding of some options that can be used to effectively adjust and defend claims in this costly and litigious era. There will be a success story, a lesson or two, claims suggestions offered in relation to reserve projections and ideas for a consistent and effective approach to placing value on existing claims. All of this will be accomplished as the participants learn how to navigate away from as much risk as possible in their sector of the transportation claims industry. Students should leave with at least one idea of effective claims handling, without being hit.Back to top
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