Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

Last night, the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) threw a costume party that was a hit! My partner, the stunning Donice Krueger, and I dressed up as Doug and Limu the Emu from Liberty Mutual’s commercials. Speaking of Liberty Mutual, let’s segue into something a bit more serious—a recent case where the insurer found out the hard way that RICO claims aren’t a walk in the park.1

Continue Reading Liberty, Liberty, Li-ber-ty

I wonder if the Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company would want to advertise how proud they are of their case investigations that result in lawsuits. Yet, wrongful claims practice cases sometimes result in decisions by trial judges that seem wrong to those who practice in this area. The case of Luse v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. 09-1221, 2010 WL 2698342 (M.D. Pa. July 7, 2010), is a recent example.

Continue Reading A Curious Finding that a “Reasonable” Liberty Mutual Fire Claims Investigation Took Place

Insurance company coverage counsel certainly will do everything in their power to dismiss claims that their clients breached obligations of good faith when those cases are in federal court. Last week’s post, Networking and Sharing Information Can Help Win Cases and Prevent Losses: A Liberty Mutual Example, is followed by another case with a very similar point in Johnson v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., No. 10-494, 2010 WL 2560489 (D. N.J. June 24, 2010). The important observation is that it is becoming a lot more difficult to get by motions to dismiss in federal court since civil procedure case law changed, starting in 2007. Bad faith lawsuits are often “sitting ducks” because all the facts and motives giving rise to the bad faith activities are generally not known until after discovery reveals exactly how, what and why the insurance company failed to pay or pay timely.

Continue Reading Wrongful Claims Practice and Bad Faith Pleading Requirements are Getting Tougher in Federal Court

In a business interruption claim the insured has an obligation to mitigate its losses by reasonable means, but, as illustrated in Insured’s Duty to Mitigate – Understanding Business Interruption Claims Part 30, insureds should not be required to go out on a limb to protect the insurer and then get a hand slap in response.

Continue Reading Mitigation Efforts Are Recoverable as Extra Expenses Outside the Period of Interruption – Understanding Business Interruption Claims, Part 34

Last week in Don’t Forget to Consider the Severity of Your Claim, I wrote about what severity means in the insurance context. We also started to talk about how severity can affect whether the insured’s claim was handled fairly by the insurer. Let’s hear a little more about what some of these carriers have to say about it and whether it makes sense to you.

Continue Reading Don’t Forget to Consider the Severity of Your Claim: Part II

Sometimes cases are lost because the policyholder attorney lacks information about an insurance company. I was recently thinking about this when our firm’s Knowledge Manager, Ruck DeMinico, sent a property insurance opinion involving a claim with Liberty Mutual to our firm’s attorneys. The opinion, Delfrate v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2010 WL 3023866 (M.D. Fla. July 16, 2010), demonstrates these perceptions.

Continue Reading Networking and Sharing Information Can Help Win Cases and Prevent Losses: A Liberty Mutual Example

Almost every attorney has filed a Motion to Compel regarding discovery. Sure, we’ve won some. Of course, we’ve lost some. And we’ve all gotten the “granted in part and denied in part.” But how many times has your motion to compel been granted in a bad faith case? When has the court ordered your insurer to produce both its “work product” and “attorney-client” privileged material about how your insured’s claim was handled? I know what you’re thinking – “it’ll never happen.” But it does…

Continue Reading “Going through the Motions” Is Usually Not Enough to Compel Bad Faith Discovery From an Insurer

(Note: This guest blog is by Vivian Persand, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Coral Gables office).

Last week, I wrote about some of the things you can expect to see, and not see, when Insurers like Safeco and Liberty Mutual respond to discovery requests. This week, I want to explain one of the steps you can take to combat these evasive discovery tactics. Some of the most effective and successful methods have been used across the country by large and small firms alike. What makes these plaintiffs’ law firms stand out is not the type of claim they pursue, the amount of the claim or the kind of insured they represent, but their commitment to not letting insurers get away with stonewalling discovery tactics. These attorneys go the extra mile, invest wisely, and do their homework. Sure, it might take some time; it’s going to take extra effort, and, naturally, nothing is free. But in the end, plaintiffs’ attorneys who obtain adjuster’s diaries, employee training manuals, and documents showing incentives for employees to put money into their own pockets instead of the insureds’ pockets, are going to go a long way in proving how their insured’s claim was improperly handled by the insurer from day one. This type of evidence can show your judge how the insurer never really intended to pay anything near a fair amount on your insured’s perfectly legitimate claim, if anything at all.

Continue Reading Getting the Inside Scoop on Insurance Company Claims Practices

(Note: This guest blog is by Vivian Persand, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Coral Gables office).

How many times have you reviewed documents produced by Safeco, Liberty Mutual or other insurers, only to receive virtually nothing significant other than a large privilege log? While the purpose of discovery is to exchange relevant documents or information which helps parties prove their cases, the clever and difficult attorneys hired by insurers have developed a knack for hiding and preventing the disclosure of crucial evidence pertaining to what really motivates and determines claims actions and decisions. In many cases, policyholders and their counsel can expect well-calculated discovery tactics which lead many to simply give up or think that the effort will delay the case for too long a time.

Continue Reading Obtaining Meaningful Claims Practice Discovery From Safeco, Liberty Mutual and Other Insurers

Safeco Insurance Company cancelled depositions in a Texas insurance litigation matter yesterday. So, we spent the day working on Safeco and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company discovery and networking with other consumer attorneys who are helping clients with Safeco and Liberty Mutual claims problems. The collegiality of policyholder attorneys helping each other is refreshing. The Texas plaintiff’s bar is very good at this.

Continue Reading Learning Obligations of Good Faith Insurance Claims Conduct and Litigation Strategies Through Safeco and Liberty Mutual Examples