Insurance company claims adjusters and claims managers are most important people. Their jobs are not easy and the stakes of their decisions can be very high. My post yesterday, Merlin Law Group Wins Hailstorm Trial Against Travelers—Hard Work Pays Off, brought a lot of pleasant private comments and congratulations. It also brought some personal reflection because the tendency for many representing policyholders is to look at us as the only "good guys" when in fact there are legions of good people working for and representing insurance companies, including those at Travelers.
Phillip Sanov‘s closing statement made me think of this when he discussed the testimony of Travelers claims manager Wade Ledbetter, who inherited the claim once it went into litigation:
Next in line is Wade Ledbetter. I like Mr. Ledbetter. Mr. Ledbetter got up there and told the truth. Mr. Ledbetter said that Travelers paid based on [the expert’s] report, paid for wind-damaged tiles….They didn’t fully pay. [The expert] only looked at five out of 15 buildings. But that’s what they paid on.
I also spoke with Randy Goodman, a past president of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), who told me that one of Travelers capable trial attorneys is a "Prince of a guy." Of course, that Prince was doing his best to cut our throats and win the case for Travelers, but that is the nature of American legal advocacy. It is hard to look at one’s opposing counsel as anything other than "the enemy." But, I find it helps me and my client if I do not.
Showing respect and acknowledging the important role of insurance company adjusters and their interests is highlighted in the first two ethical points of NAPIA:
Members shall conduct themselves so as to command respect and confidence. They shall work in harmony with one another, with their clients, and the insurance company’s representatives, so as to foster a cordial and harmonious relationship with all branches of the insurance business, and with the general public.
Members must be fitted, by knowledge and experience, for the work they undertake. They must not endanger the interests of the public adjusting profession, or risk injustice to assureds or to the insurance companies, by attempting to handle losses or claims for which they are not qualified, and for which they cannot find competent technical assistance.
Admittedly, in the heat of battle or while advocating for the interests of the policyholder, I too am often guilty of looking at the insurance claims adjuster as "the enemy" rather than a person with important responsibilities and views. I am certain this viewpoint and reaction is not in my best interest or my client’s.
So, if you have some time for weekend reflection, I would suggest you read Classic Blog: Reflections on Insurance Disputes and Adjustments After Two Weeks in Italy.
Positive Thought For The Day
"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”