I often mention in seminars and meetings a point that I call “the insurance company and the repeat player.” In doing so, my intent is to emphasize to insureds and their usual counsel the importance of retaining experienced insurance coverage lawyers to represent them when issues arise involving insurance coverage and insurance policies, whether they arise in the context of negotiating a policy, seeking coverage for a loss, disputing a coverage determination, negotiating a resolution of a claim with an insurer, or litigating a coverage dispute with an insurer.
The allusion to a repeat player is meant to drive home the point that the insurer in such a scenario is always using an expert on insurance coverage to represent it and even more than that, is probably using an attorney who has thousands of hours of experience working with the exact insurance product at issue; the attorney is a repeat player. The insured, to have any chance of competing on an even playing field, needs a repeat player of its own – i.e., an experienced insurance coverage lawyer with expertise in the type of policy and coverage issues involved in the matter.
My thoughts on this go further, but I will not repeat them all here (or what else will I have left to post on in the future?). What brings the point to mind right now, however, is that Rees Morrison has a post on his Law Practice Management blog on the Horndal effect, the improvement in efficiency and effectiveness that flows to the repeat player, only he discusses it in the context of the benefits captured by in house law departments when lawyers in the department become specialists and “repeat players.” His description of the economics that underlie the idea of the repeat player captures this point beautifully. To quote in part,

As in-house counsel handle matter after matter of a similar kind, they gain experience and they can do more, better, and in less time. The knowledge they accumulate can be thought of as a by-product — a spillover from the repeated production of advice and counsel