The best way to prepare for an insurance settlement is to prepare the case for trial. Trying to predict what would probably happen at trial is a great way to gauge the value of an insurance dispute.
I am writing this while flying to New Orleans for a mediation tomorrow morning. This blog post may be removed if the matter settles–so read quickly.
Slabbed is probably going nuts because I am indicating that another case may be resolved confidentially and without public scrutiny. So, to help Slabbed understand a little (there is more) of what we do and provide Dimechimes with some more adjuster training lessons, I am publishing the Reports of the Claims Expert and the CPCU expert in the case.
If this post is not removed, I would appreciate any ideas on this case and would love to share information about AIG and Lexington Insurance Company with those who are having claims problems with them.
Deborah Trotter in our Gulfport office is the primary attorney on this matter. She has flown from one side of the country to the other working on this case. We are on a contingency fee and we report to a receiver in the Bankruptcy Court. The client went into bankruptcy long before we were retained and the Court approved as counsel.
The mediator for the case is Jim Perry. He has an excellent reputation and was the mediator in our Port of New Orleans case. From my one experience with him, he deserves the reputation.
One commentator with personal knowledge about our firm in replying to The Parable of Hurricane Ike Insurance Claims, indicated that our files are "thick" when we go to settlement conferences. Our experience is that most good counsel prepare their cases thoroughly.
However, there is significant debate whether all facts should be used as leverage at a mediation. Even in our law firm, I have seen a strategy that "less is more" at mediation since the lawyers just end up arguing about which case is factually better. As mediation is purely about money, the attorneys following that theory do the trial analysis and simply give a one page summary: pay or go to trial.
I prefer to provide information prior to the mediation and discuss the facts less while there. As indicated in a post last week, our firm is discussing trial technique because we expect that more carriers will try to delay their day of reckoning through trial and appeal as the current economic climate worsens. Still, I have my trusted presentation advisor, Jack Stein of Trial Exhibits, with me because I feel compelled to make a few more points.
Will this case settle? Who knows? If it does, you may be one of the few who will know it existed.