Friday, June 18, 2010

More on Miller's public availability

In my last post I commented that the Insurance Library is the only local library I know of that subscribes to Miller's Standard Insurance Policies Annotated.

It turns out, however, that the Norfolk, Worcester, Hampden, and Hampshire County law libraries have Miller's in hard copy. Some county law libraries may also have it as part of their Westlaw subscription.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Westlaw acquires Miller's

On June 1 Miller's Standard Insurance Policies Annotated moved from Lexis to Westlaw.

Miller's is a quirky but great resource that lists cases by the policy endorsement they interpret. It also lists similar coverage provisions (sort of like a thesaurus for insurance endorsements).

Miller's is available at the Insurance Library (another one of my favorite resources) but I'm not aware of any other local library that carries it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Massachusetts Appeals Court holds that insured waived attorney-client privilege when it brought suit against insurer

In Global Investors Agent Corp. v. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 812 (2010), the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that an insurer who is a defendant in an an action alleging that it breached its duty to defend may depose the attorney who represented the insured in the underlying action.

The insureds notified the insurer of the claims against them on May 2, 2002. On July 30, 2002, before the insurer had made a determination about whether it had a duty to defend, the insureds settled the underlying claims. The insureds then sued the insurer alleging breach of the duty to defend. The insureds sought legal fees and costs and consequential damages on the grounds that they were forced to settle the underlying suit on unfavorable grounds and that they lost claims and rights in the underlying suit.

A Superior Court judge granted summary judgment to the insureds on the issue of the duty to defend, and the parties proceeded to trial on the issue of damages. The insureds, dissatisfied with the damages awarded, appealed after trial. They argued in part that the judge impermissibly allowed evidence protected by the attorney-client privilege.

The Superior Court had allowed the insurer to depose the insureds' attorney in the underlying claim concerning his perceptions, recollections, and analysis of the insureds' defenses and strategies before during and after the underlying mediation.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed that the insureds had waived the attorney-client privilege. It held that their claim for consequential damages relied on the relative merits and value of the underlying case, and the only source of that information was their attorney.

Monday, June 7, 2010

This is insurance

Time Magazine published an article about "health-sharing ministries," in which Christian families pool their resources to pay one another's medical costs. Although the article discusses the difference between this system and "traditional" insurance, this system is insurance at its most basic.

Insurance is nothing other than a bunch of people getting together to pool their risk. Everyone puts in a set amount of money, perhaps based on the actual risk to the individual participants or perhaps a flat fee. When the thing insured against happens -- a fire, a health event, a car accident -- then the participant to whom it happened receives money from the pool to cover their loss.

Things are complicated by the fact that insurance companies are often multinational corporations that make or lose a lot of their money from investments funded by the premiums. But that does not make their basic function -- pooling risk -- any different.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Serving a complaint on an out-of-state insurance company

The Massachusetts Division of Insurance moved recently. The new address for serving a complaint on out-of-state insurers is:

Massachusetts Division of Insurance
1000 Washington Street, Suite 810
Boston, MA 02118

The agent for service of process is the Division generally, but Stacy Siegan is the person at the Division in charge of accepting service.