We spoke with Karen Rice, head of construction claims for AXA XL and co-chair of CLM’s Construction Claims Community, about what the community has in store for 2024, the big topics facing construction claims professionals, and how you can become more involved.
Head of Construction Claims, AXA XL
Co-Chair, CLM Construction Claims Community
Q: What are some of the Construction Claims Community’s plans for 2024? What’s going to get CLM construction professionals excited, what topics are on the community’s mind, and how will you tackle those topics this year?
Karen Rice: “We're excited to work with the local chapters this year, not only for the great networking opportunities they bring, but also for great learning opportunities. AI (Artificial Intelligence, not Additional Insureds this time!) is top of mind right now. How AI and technology will help the construction industry is something we'll be talking about at those chapter events, as well as at the Construction Conference in Huntington Beach, California, in September. The construction industry is facing several challenges, including increasing catastrophic weather, supply disruptions, cyberattacks, inflation, and other economic headwinds. All of these issues have had a significant impact on claims.”
Q: The Construction Claims Community has a webinar coming up on May 8. What can attendees expect for “Package Deal: Insights on Coverage and Strategy for Consolidated Lien, Delay, and Construction Defect Claims,” and does the community have any other webinar topics brewing in 2024?
Karen Rice: “The webinar on May 8 includes a panel of seasoned professionals providing perspectives from the contractor, claim handler, defense counsel, and mediator in examining the common scenarios that lead to a contractor filing a claim for failure to pay, and the owner then filing a counterclaim for defective work. The presentation will review the different types of insurance policies that may provide protection for the contractor and the owner, such as Builders Risk, CGL, Construction Professional Liability, and Subcontractor Default Insurance. The presentation will also explain the scope and limitations of each policy, and the potential subrogation and indemnity issues that may arise. Along with providing an hour of continuing education for adjusters and attorneys, attendees will learn how to navigate the nuances and challenges of these types of claims.
“While we don’t yet have definitive details of another webinar from the construction community, we are actively recruiting potential panel members and seeking topics that would be of interest to the community. The next webinar will likely be presented during the last quarter of the year.”
Q: The community had a virtual meeting last month. For those who missed it, what were the takeaways, and what should attendees expect for the next meeting in April?
Karen Rice: “The virtual meeting last month was a great success, with many attendees listening in and participating in discussions surrounding myriad topics, including the upcoming Annual Conference, which includes eight panels and roundtables on construction-related issues. Other topics included potential ideas for articles for Construction Claims magazine, potential topics for webinars, and finally the upcoming Construction Conference in Huntington Beach, California in September. Co-chair Steve Henning (Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP) facilitated the meeting with other members of the leadership team providing input and insight. Caryn Siebert, vice president of carrier practice and director of carrier engagement at Gallagher Bassett, and this year’s recipient of CLM’s Lifetime Achievement Award, provided insight into the benefits of attending the Litigation Management Institute (LMI) and Claims College, School of Construction, for newer adjusters wanting more in-depth insight into handling construction claims.
“The Construction Community and CLM aim to stay updated on trends, issues, and opportunities in the construction industry, and these virtual community meetings provide a forum to collaborate and share knowledge and insights.
“The biggest takeaway from this month’s meeting was that the proposal portal for the upcoming Construction Conference in September is expected to open March 12 and close April 12.”
Q: What would be your pitch to CLM members and fellows to get more involved in the Construction Claims Community? What opportunities are available to them, and what resources can they draw upon to support their careers?
Karen Rice: “If you want to expand your knowledge, network, and opportunities in the construction insurance and defense industry, you should join our community. We have a diverse and dynamic group of professionals who are passionate about sharing their expertise and experience, and who are always looking for ways to collaborate and learn from each other. We offer regular webinars, virtual meetings, chapter events, and conferences that cover the latest and most relevant topics in the field. By being part of our community, you’ll gain valuable insights, connections, and skills that will help you advance your career and serve your clients better.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a leader in the Construction Claims Community?
Karen Rice: “Every year at the Construction Conference, it’s like old-home week where I feel like I’m seeing old friends. We get to collaborate and share our knowledge and expertise, but also find out about how their families are and what they’re doing for vacation in the upcoming year. It’s truly a tight-knit community, which is unique and something I have valued for a long time. I’ve heard from several people throughout my career that when they’ve left construction to concentrate on other areas of expertise, it’s like leaving a fraternity…they truly miss the camaraderie that this unique community brings to all of us.”