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3 Things In-House Counsel Should Know About Insurance

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on December 09, 2015 5:59 AM

In-house attorneys need to be able to handle insurance issues in order to help their company avoid unnecessary litigation. Here's a short list of things you should definitely know if you're working in-house.

1. Insurance Types

The list of things you can insure against runs the gamut -- really. Types of insurance range from "Errors and Omissions," "Directors and Officers," and even "Cyber and Privacy Liability." The sheer number of insurance types would make the layman go mad. But as in-house, it's your job to know the differences.

2. Key Insurance Terms

Insurance is one of those professional service areas that seems to be particularly loaded with sensitive terminology. You should spend the time and get familiar with all the relevant insurance terms. Additionally, every in-house lawyer should know who their client is in the contract. The in-house counselor should also know the policy limits and when an "occurrence" has actually been triggered under the terms of the contract.

3. Notice Provisions

It should be the goal of all in-house attorneys to pay close attention to the "Notice" provisions in the insurance policy. When claims are made, insurance companies will frequently attempt to avoid indemnification by claiming that the notice was deficient in some manner. This is less of an issue because courts have generally construed notice in favor of the insured party; they generally impose a material prejudice standard of imperfect notice on the insurer.

Although these three tips all hint at prophylaxis, this isn't to suggest that you should treat your insurer like your enemy. Still, it's good to go into every relationship with caution. As far as your insurer is concerned. Everything is perfectly fine when no claims are made and they only collect on premiums. Just make sure they hold up their end of the bargain.

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