Why Hire Coverage Counsel?

If I have said it once on this blog, in seminars and in meetings, I have said it a thousand times: always look to your insurance coverage when sued, even if you don’t think the lawsuit fits within the coverages you or your company purchased, and when necessary, such as if the dollar amounts at issue are significant, hire coverage counsel to look into that question and to press for coverage. There are various ways in which policies can be triggered, often providing at least coverage of defense costs for claims that do not seem to fall within the express language of a policy. In seminars, when I start talking about examples of coverage being found for patent infringement actions, despite the absence of any policy expressly granting coverage of such claims, that is when the pens start scribbling furiously in the audience. And that is just one example of the type of claims that experienced coverage counsel may be able to force into the scope of a policy, even a policy that may never have been written to cover that type of claim. Now I am not saying that all of those types of claims should be covered, but, given the vagaries of policy language and the manner in which courts interpret them, they sometimes are, regardless of whether or not they should be, and it is the job of a policyholder’s coverage counsel to try to find coverage where none was intended (and the job of the insurer’s coverage counsel to prevent that). This article makes the same point, discussing how marshaling corporate insurance policies when threatened with significant litigation should be a first step in defending the company.