Discovery of Reserves and Other Repetitive Events

Here is a nice post on whether claim reserves are discoverable in insurance coverage or bad faith litigation, with some case law on the topic as well. The discovery of claim reserve information is one of those issues that is a consistent point of dispute from one coverage or bad faith action to the next. In fact, given how much it comes up, it is kind of amazing the amount of time and money spent - some would say wasted - in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation over discovery issues such as this one. Some of that, it is fair to say, is driven by the fact that insureds and claimants in such lawsuits are often convinced there is some document somewhere in the insurer's files that is the key that will unlock the entire case, and are determined as a result to obtain every single piece of paper possessed by the insurer that they can grab hold of. In truth, there almost never is such a key stone document, and even when there is, you can be pretty certain it isn't going to be found in the claim reserves or in similar information, such as reinsurance documents, that are likewise routinely the source of a tug of war over production and discovery in coverage and bad faith litigation.

But the other part of the problem is that what we may really need is some sort of federal rules of evidence, insurance coverage and bad faith subsection (hopefully then adopted by the states as well as part of their own evidence codes, in states like Massachusetts that don't automatically follow the federal rules of evidence), that synthesizes all the case law on these types of issues that arise repetitively in coverage or bad faith litigation, and sets down a rule once and for all on them. In this tidy little daydream for a Friday morning, we could then all stop relitigating the same discovery points over and over again, frequently with little more than a change of judge and forum from the last time we argued over them.