- Claims & Litigation: Nobody Better Lay a Finger on My Claim File: How Insurers May Preserve Attorney-Client Privilege While Working with Insurance Coverage Counsel
- Management Liability: Remote Working, Vaccines, COVID-19 and Employer Obligations Under the ADA and State Equivalents
- Product Liability: It’s Electric! The Future of Lithium-ion Battery Litigation in the Automotive Industry
- Professional Liability: Liability from the Ground Up: Design, Surveyor, and Contractor Liability Issues on a Construction Project
Session 1 - Claims & Litigation: Nobody Better Lay a Finger on My Claim File: How Insurers May Preserve Attorney-Client Privilege While Working with Insurance Coverage Counsel
Shannon Harjer, Quincy Mutual Group
Donna MacConnell, IMA
Sarannah McMurtry, Acceptance Insurance
Kelly Petter, Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady
Michael L. Young, Reichardt Noce & Young LLC
In insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, policyholders are constantly pressing to see the insurer’s privileged coverage analysis. This presentation will address some of the latest policyholder efforts to invoke waivers to defeat attorney-client privilege in disputed coverage matters and ways that in-house and outside coverage counsel can help protect that privilege. Panelists will discuss these issues in at least three key areas. First, regarding the waiver that can result in some jurisdictions when coverage counsel is deemed to have functioned as a claims professional in the claims investigation or handling process. Second, how the manner in which the carrier maintains its claims file—and whether it bifurcates or splits the file into separate “defense” and “coverage files”—may affect attorney-client privilege. Third, how an insurer’s reliance in whole or in part on advice from coverage counsel in making claims decisions can operate as an express or implied waiver of the privilege.Back to top
Session 1 - Management Liability: Remote Working, Vaccines, COVID-19 and Employer Obligations Under the ADA and State Equivalents
Joseph Gagliardo, Laner Muchin
Kevin O'Connor, Peckar and Abramson, PC
Kristen O'Neill, Hanover Insurance
Laura Zaroski, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
The Bloomberg Law 2022 Outlook on Labor and Employment forecasts that return to office policies (RTO), remote working, and the thicket of compliance issues that result, are all likely to drive ADA-related litigation in 2022 and for some time to come. Employers have, in a post-COVID-19 world, been thrust into a legal environment where remote working has come to the fore and become commonplace. Claims of disability discrimination around a refusal to allow remote working were more difficult to pursue prior to COVID, but the threat of such claims today is real and must be anticipated. A flat denial of a request for remote working where an employee arguably suffers from a disability (including a COVID-related disability such as long COVID) without engaging in a good faith interactive process with the employee, creates the potential for liability for employers. Panelists will provide an overview of the ADA as well as the regulatory changes and case law that should be considered surrounding remote working requests, and also will provide a detailed overview of the unique issues that arise concerning vaccination programs in this new environment. Attendees will learn practical tips on how to engage in an interactive process and properly document these issues.Back to top
Session 1 - Product Liability: It’s Electric! The Future of Lithium-ion Battery Litigation in the Automotive Industry
All signs indicate that electric vehicles and their lithium-ion batteries are about to flood the market. In preparation, the panel will discuss the speakers' experiences and insights relating to product liability litigation involving lithium-ion battery fires and provide adjusters, in-house counsel and defense counsel with a “Lesson 101” tutorial in defending battery claims including what immediate steps must be taken when put on notice of a potential product liability claim involving a fire.Back to top
Session 1 - Professional Liability: How To Overcome Obstacles Perpetrated by the Pandemic
Kim Noble, Applied Financial Lines
Frances O'Meara, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
Kathryn Whitlock, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
The last two years have had a dramatic impact on society, the workplace, and state actions in response to COVID-19. Professionals have had to pivot in their handling of cases and clients given these changes.This session will address the ethical changes in a professional's practice created by these current events. Panelists will discuss both ethical and practical issues of virtual vs personal appearances; statutory creations and impact on litigation; and the anti-vaxx client.Back to top
Session 1 - Transportation: Fender Benders and Side Impact Offenders
Join us as presenters provide an introduction to biomechanical analyses associated with minor vehicle impacts. Accident reconstruction and biomechanics are often used in tandem to answer questions regarding injury causation and evaluate alleged injuries or alleged events. The presentation will focus on rear-end impacts, which are the most common crash scenario in the United States, as well as side impacts. A focus of the presentation will be to make the material accessible to an audience that includes members with non-technical backgrounds.Back to top
Session 2 - Claims & Litigation: Pitfalls to Avoid When Handling a New Claim
Linda Bondi Morrison, Tressler, LLP
Shannon Harjer, Quincy Mutual Group
Suzanne Karapashev, Westfield Insurance
Scott Pfeiffer, Cray Huber Horstman Heil & VanAusdal LLC
Too often a claims professional and an attorney handling a new claim miss the opportunity in the early stages of the investigation to confirm if the new claim has the potential to exceed the policy limits, if the excess carrier should be put on notice (if there is excess coverage), if the client has maintained all relevant evidence, and what support a retained expert can provide. These missed opportunities can lead to misjudgments of the potential value of the claim, a missed opportunity for early resolution, and can threaten a successful defense going forward. Additionally, it is important early on to identify sources of risk transfer in order to timely tender a claim to other parties who may be obligated to defend or indemnify an insured, and to understand potential exposure based upon contractual liability provisions. It is also important to identify who may have additional insured rights, and to determine whether different types of insurance policies may be obligated to respond to a loss. This roundtable of seasoned claims representatives and attorneys will discuss how to avoid these pitfalls and provide lessons learned from their own experiences.Back to top
Session 2 - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: The Changing Face of the Claims and Legal Community
Rebecca Appelbaum, Gartner + Bloom PC
April Esterhuizen, Vault Insurance
Antonio Irizarry, Callahan & Fusco, LLC.
Myrna Rembold, Imagine Reporting
Jannea Rogers, Adams and Reese, LLP
A diverse panel of attorneys, claims, and industry vendors will discuss current issues related to diversity and inclusion that challenge the claims and legal community. These issues include but are not limited to discussions on unconscious bias, equality of position, promotion and pay, as well as how holidays may play a factor in bias. Gender roles and terms and how these play into today’s work atmosphere will also be discussed along with addressing the ongoing evolution of all these ideas and why they matter.
We all see, feel, and are aware of the changes in the world as they relate to diversity and inclusion. Presenters and attendees will engage with experiences and ways to recognize, accept, and participate properly in this changing world.
Session 2 - Medical Malpractice: In the Eye of the Beholder: Detecting and Correcting Implicit Bias in Medicine
Bill Bower, GB Specialty (Division of Gallagher Bassett)
Constance Endelicato, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
One would assume that the Hippocratic oath -- first do no harm -- would apply to any and all patients, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We assume it equates to fair and equal treatment for all patients. Yet, although health care providers possess incredible skill and compassion, they are human with impressions formed over their lifetime based upon their own personal experiences. Such inherent biases may not even be realized by the provider, yet still play its way into a less than desirable outcome. Conversely, providers may experience patient bias that can also negatively impact the provider-patient relationship. With the aid of identifying factors derived from published studies, this session will help the attendee recognize what unconscious biases he or she may hold. Attendees will hear examples where bias led to unfortunate outcomes or otherwise led to a failure to receive evidence-based medical treatment. The panelists will address strategies for honing in on personal awareness, coping with issues of conflict, minimizing the notion of stereotypes, correcting the culture, and rationalizing the end goal of protecting patients' rights and patient safety. Walk away with tools to effectively manage patient bias toward the provider, as well as bias among colleagues, all in effort to reduce the risk of litigation.Back to top
Session 2 - Professional Liability: Liability from the Ground Up: Design, Surveyor, and Contractor Liability Issues on a Construction Project
Glen Mangold, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
Nick Sansone, Turner, O'Mara, Donnelly & Petrycki, PC
Gary Strong, Gfeller Laurie LLP
Attendees will dive into a complex construction project and the players involved, including the site surveyor and their role on the project. Panelists will walk through examples of claims against surveyors and suggestions for handling such claims. Design professionals and contractors also will be discussed including applicable standards of care. Insurance coverage issues will be addressed, as well as eroding insurance policies for the design professionals and how this can be used to resolve a matter early in the claims process. Unity between contractors and professionals regarding the plaintiff will be discussed, as well as clarity on their positions as needed. Finally, panelists will address site safety concerns on the project. This will include issues related to worker safety, COVID-19, environmental conditions on the property, contract interpretation, and what the design professional should do if the necessary safety protocols are not met.Back to top
Session 2 - Transportation: How to Effectively Refute Damages in Trucking Cases
Michael Gordon, Foreman Friedman
Meghan Hvizdos, Daseke
Fred Perez, McLarens Global Claims Services
Caryn Siebert, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.
Amber Wiltse, Acuity Insurance
Presenters will highlight the importance of defending and refuting claimed damages in trucking accident cases. Learn focused strategies that will include, but not be limited to, taking an effective deposition of the plaintiff; propounding tailored written discovery and issuing appropriate subpoenas and record requests; utilizing investigators and video surveillance; and retaining the right experts.Back to top
- Medical Malpractice: Unique Issues in the Defense of Non-MD Healthcare Providers in the Homecare Setting
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: How To Create Organizations That Are Truly Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable
- Medical Malpractice: Medical Malpractice Claims During A Declared Health Emergency: Statutory Immunities and Defense Strategies
- Claims & Litigation: The Lion (Cannot Afford To) Sleep Tonight: Herding Carriers With Overlapping Policies
Premiere Session - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A Beginner's Guide to Allyship in Law, Construction, and Insurance
Roseann Coughlin, Golden State Claims Adjusters
Gwen Gatson-Long, North American Risk Services NARS
Mikala Glaza, Pete Fowler Construction Services, Inc.
William Linero, Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been especially hot-button topics in recent years. Workplaces now put greater importance on not just hiring more diversely, but also on creating an inclusive culture. “It’s time to step up and become an ally!” cry companies, often without clarifying how to become an ally, or even what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to begin with.
This presentation aims to define basic terms and concepts to keep in mind while also providing examples of actionable allyship and how to overcome common struggles as a new ally. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions for candid advice on personal growth.
Session 3 - Management Liability: Investigating Sexual Misconduct Claims: The Do's, Don’ts & Challenges
John Floyd, Wicker, Smith, O'Hara, McCoy & Ford, P.A.
Joseph Goldberg, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP
Richard Henderson, TransRe
The group will focus on sexual misconduct claims beyond the traditional hospital environment and with special attention on social workers, residential facilities, outpatient treatment centers, etc..Back to top
Session 3 - Medical Malpractice: Unique Issues in the Defense of Non-MD Healthcare Providers in the Homecare Setting
Homecare is a growing field and medical and quasi-medical malpractice claims are unique and will only continue to increase in this area. This session will address the defense of homecare companies and their employees such as home nurses, wound care specialists, home heath aids, and the like. Panelists will discuss the various types of clients and cases, coverage issues, standards of care, and expert issues. Bring your questions to add to the discussion.Back to top
Session 3 - Product Liability: Teens, Trucks, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems in 2022 and Beyond
As part of the infrastructure bill recently signed into law, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will develop an apprenticeship pilot program that will train drivers as young as 18 years to drive commercial trucks across state lines. Under this program, apprentices must drive trucks with forward-facing video cameras and active braking collision mitigation systems. Given that these technologies are becoming increasingly available, it is critical for all claims professionals and litigators to understand how these technologies may assist the driver in responding to hazards and how these technologies become implicated in the incidents we review. Furthermore, a younger population of drivers designed to fill a labor shortage poses an interesting set of factors for claims professionals to consider. This session will discuss the current state of collision mitigation technology, specific to heavy-duty vehicles and trucks, how they become implicated in litigation, and how to defend claims from a human factors perspective.Back to top
Session 3 - Professional Liability: Managing Conflicts of Interest in Eroding Limits Policies
Brian Bassett, Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP
Rebecca DuBoff, AXIS Insurance
Melissa Lessell, Deutsch Kerrigan, LLP
E. Theresa Panensky, Willis Towers Watson
Professional liability policies are usually eroding or burning limits policies. The erosion of policy limits through the payment of defense costs can create potential conflicts between insurers, the insured, and defense counsel. The tasks assumed by defense counsel in mounting a vigorous defense on behalf of the insured can be critical to the defense of a claim, but they also can deplete policy funds available to protect the insured in settlement or resolution of the claim. Panelists will address how insurers and their coverage counsel address the rates to be charged in defending professional liability claims, how counsel can navigate the defense of claim while preserving policy limits, and how the parties can address potential conflicts of interest when settlement demands are made for the balance of policy limits.Back to top
Session 3 - Transportation: The Hidden Dangers of Highway Construction Zones
Rebecca Falzone, Acuity Insurance
Tiffany Knight, Houchens Insurance Group
Rowland Lamb, J.S. Held
Daniel Santaniello, Luks, Santaniello, Petrillo & Cohen
We all dread seeing the long line of red brake lights when we approach construction zones. Cars and trucks merging, trucks leaving and entering the construction zones, it’s a chaotic scene. It’s also a scene where many accidents occur both on the highway and in these zones. The presenters will help attendees better understand key terms and regulations of these dangerous zones by discussing: the five sections of a temporary traffic zone; the duties of a construction traffic controller; the four types of visual and tactile traffic control devices; and case studies on construction zone accidents with lessons learned.Back to top
Session 4 - Claims & Litigation: Practical Tips For Managing Conflicts of Interest in Claims Handling
Gregory Ginex, Costello Ginex & Wideikis, P.C.
Griselda Harris, AFICS
Doretha Johnson, Hiscox
Schuyler A. Smith, Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel LLP
Claims professionals are faced with myriad situations when dealing with high exposure and high intensity claims. Hear these panelists provide practical tips for claims professionals to successfully manage files where there are competing interests (i.e., coverage disputes between the insured and the carrier, also conflicts between the insured and the additional insureds). Learn what steps can be taken to avoid potential bad faith issues and code of ethics violations. Walk away with tools and resources that can be used to assist the file handler in bringing an amicable resolution to the claim.Back to top
Session 4 - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: How To Create Organizations That Are Truly Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable
Jeanette Dixon, Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP
Aisling Jumper, Fair American Insurance and Reinsurance Company
Jennifer Odrobina, Sompo International Insurance
Stephanie Panico, QBE Insurance
Christina M. Rieker, Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP
Presenters will explain how using the acronym AFFIRM can create organizations that are truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable. Learn how the breakdown of this acronym leads to actionable items organizations can take to further their DEI initiatives.
In this largely remote environment, a continuing conscious effort needs to be made to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workspace, and to provide the support needed to each employee.
Session 4 - Management Liability: Top 10 Steps in Managing a Company Crisis
Sam Terzich, GB Specialty (Division of Gallagher Bassett)
Marisa Trasatti, Cipriani & Werner, PC
Think you're ready for a company crisis? This session will highlight critical decision points and provide a road map for adjusters, c-suite, and counsel to review when a crisis lands on their doorstep—be that a cyber attack, a product recall, class action litigation, etc. Preparing for an emergency situation and establishing a crisis management plan is essential to mitigating damages—internally and externally. After this session, you'll be ready.Back to top
Session 4 - Medical Malpractice: Medical Malpractice Claims During A Declared Health Emergency: Statutory Immunities and Defense Strategies
Sandra Bevans, MedPro Group
Sidney Degan, III, Degan, Blanchard & Nash
Kiera McGroarty, Watermark Retirement Communities, LLC
Elizabeth Sconzert, Blue Williams, L.L.P.
The pandemic brought a new wave of litigation against medical providers and continues to stress health care services across the country. Despite federal and state immunities, plaintiffs have asserted a multitude of COVID-19 related claims, and there is increased concern about the potential liability health care providers who are responding to the pandemic face while continuing to provide high-quality care to all patients. This roundtable discussion will focus on current defense strategies at the federal and state levels to shield health care professionals from medical liability during a declared health emergency. Panelists also will discuss tactics that plaintiff lawyers are employing to avoid both federal and state immunities, and will detail the Federal PREP Act, statutes and regulations in several states, and will provide a survey of COVID-19 case law, including Federal Appellate authority regarding jurisdiction and immunity as it sits at the time of the presentation, and the possibility that the US Supreme Court weighs in.Back to top
Session 4 - Transportation: What Does the Crystal Ball Foresee for Trucking Litigation?
Jim Foster, Cassiday Schade LLP
Debra Houston, FirstFleet, Inc.
Lea Kapral, Acuity Insurance
Joseph Pappalardo, Gallagher Sharp, LLP
Learn about three trending topics in one presentation. Attendees will hear of how the driver shortage has led to the FMCSA’s Young Driver Pilot Program and the liability implications. Presenters also will cover recent astronomical verdicts across the country, and whether this trend will continue. Finally, get a better understanding of the types of litigation and defenses we may see when there is an accident involving an autonomous truck.Back to top
Session 5 - Claims & Litigation: The Lion (Cannot Afford To) Sleep Tonight: Herding Carriers With Overlapping Policies
Rishabh Agny, TittmannWeix
Charles Crawford, Assurant
Derrick Mullen, Seneca Insurance Co.
Clarence Risin, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Often times, navigating the overlapping policies to cleanly coordinate coverage, whether or not policies overlap, and manage indemnity obligations presents a challenge, especially where other insurers are hesitant to open the checkbook. Panelists will share best practices for matters where there are insureds with multiple policies, some of which may overlap. Examples and lessons learned will be shared by experienced panelists for situations such as: coordination of coverage amongst multiple applicable policies; issues when policies overlap; managing indemnity clauses between multiple carriers and liability shifting to trigger same; and carrier options when insurers fail to acknowledge settlement obligations or defense/indemnification duties, i.e., dealing with recalcitrant insurers.Back to top
Session 5 - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Sad But True: Unconscious Bias in the Claims Environment
Christopher Bates, Lynberg & Watkins
Bert Dizon, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.
LaDonna Murphy, Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company
Rebekah Ratliff, JAMS ADR
It is sad but true, unconscious bias is present in our daily life and in all that we do. In the insurance industry, it can unknowingly affect the decisions made in our claims investigations and resolutions. It is also prevalent in how we perceive a claimant, an attorney, or even our own colleagues.
Presenters will explore the various types of biases, how they affect what we do, and how we can recognize them in order to make the case for a better claims strategy and resolution. By gaining a better understanding of the reality of unconscious bias and recognizing how it may arise and permeate our everyday life, we can hope to provide a better and more equitable and inclusive environment in the industry.
Session 5 - Medical Malpractice: Voir Dire Variants: Disruption of Traditional Jury Selection
Tiffany Gamlin, Admiral Insurance Company
Thomas O'Carroll, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Kevin O'Hara, Beytin, McLaughlin, McLaughlin, O'Hara & Bocchino, P.A.
Stacy Prince, AdventHealth
Taking a case to trial now is much different than at the onset of the pandemic and even in the midst of the pandemic. Attorneys and claims professionals have to account for multiple variables such as assessing a juror who is wearing a mask or a juror's stance on medical professionals and the perception of their values. Claims professionals must now know how to evaluate a case based on the shift in the general population's view at that moment in time. Panelists will uncover new truths regarding evaluating a jury voir dire in order to seat a panel with the best potential for a defense win.Back to top
Session 5 - Product Liability: Breaking Down Product Liability Faults and Findings
Christopher Del Bove, Callahan & Fusco, LLC.
Brian Flinn, J.S. Held
Mei Wright, CNA Insurance
Did you know research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that defective or unsafe products cause 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths each year? The estimated costs of these injuries is over $12B annually. Claims professionals that handle product liability claims must be well-versed in all elements of such claims in order to perform a thorough investigation and manage the unforeseen that can arise. This session delivers on both the elements and the kinds of product liability claims with engaging case studies involving scuba diver hoses, baby bottle liners, and bicycle seat failures.Back to top
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