Claims Jeopardy: Navigating the Tripartite Relationship Among Insurer, Insured, and Defense Counsel

April 29, 2021


Melissa Demmon, VP, Claims Counsel, Professional Liability, shares her perspective on one of the most challenging aspects of the insurance defense business; Navigating the tripartite relationship among insurer, insured, and defense counsel, in an article she co-authored with Scott Barabash (Aspen), Joseph Garin (Lipson Neilson PC), Lisa Midkiff (B&B Protector Plans, Inc.), and Kathryn Whitlock (Hawkins Parnell & Young) in dri’s For the Defense Magazine.


Stressing the importance of making decisions about when and how cases will be resolved (dismissal, settlement, or trial) based on the frequent communication, realistic budgeting, frank analysis, and fair billing that has occurred in the case, they note that the client, the carrier, and the attorney can reasonably assess the risks and benefits of any particular course of action and neither flip flop at crunch time nor overpay. “Probably the most important thing for all three of the members of tripartite relationship to do in a case where there are coverage issues is to document in writing the scope and limits of the representation, together with the insured’s right to retain separate counsel.”


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