Insurance Archaeology

Beginning with the first asbestos-related claims in the 1970s to product recall and Chinese drywall issues of today, corporate legal liabilities have ballooned. Many mass tort and complex liability claims involve events that may have occurred years ago. Historical mass tort insurance claims have lengthy lifecycles and are expanding beyond individuals to families and communities. Examples of long-tail exposures include:

  • Asbestos
  • Toxic exposures
  • Construction defect
  • Product recall
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Medical device failure
  • Pharmaceutical side effects

These liabilities may be covered under old insurance policies which tend to be less restrictive and provide broader coverage than current policies. However, the institutional memory has faded as corporate America has downsized, merged and relocated. Files are displaced and often forgotten. The consolidation of brokers who have traditionally been a source to reconstruct older programs has hindered the process as well. With the burden of proof falling on the policy holders to resurrect the old policies, the need to skillfully search and retrieve this information is critical. Producing these policies can ultimately determine claims coverage and remuneration.

Insurance archaeologists have a skill set that combines techniques from historians, private investigators, claims specialists and excavators in order to locate policies. Arcina Risk Group experts have been instrumental in recovering millions of dollars for clients and delivering favorable results in large complex litigation. We have the ability to review coverage as far back as the 1940s and conduct a comprehensive search via multiple sources including:

  • Insurance company and broker outreach
  • Interviews with current employees and former personnel such as risk managers and corporate counsel
  • Access to U.S. and London archives
  • Contact with former law and accounting firms
  • State and federal government records review
  • Locating sample policy forms to support secondary historical insurance evidence

The Research Process

Arcina Risk Group employs a disciplined phased approach to ensure a cost effective deliverable.

Step 1 - We conduct a thorough assessment of existing policy information and identify gaps in coverage.

Step 2 - Arcina archaeologists delve into the policy search and retrieval process via multiple channels.

Step 3 - Gathered information is compiled into a coverage map that details policy limits and provides a cumulative snapshot of an insured’s historical insurance profile.

In addition to these steps, our skilled team of investigators, data management and claims consultants work to provide an understanding of a policy holder’s historical insurance assets, including coverages, terms, limits and solvency. We draw on our array of risk management and claims recovery experience enabling us to recover any monies due to the insured.