The Power of Two: Insurance Archaeology + Claims Management

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When faced with mass tort claims, a defendant organization can avoid substantial losses by successfully recovering funds from current and historical insurance policies. This is often easier said than done, as many mass tort claims become highly complex due to the years, even decades, of their relevant time periods. In cases like these, the key to gaining clarity and a successful recovery of funds requires two critical functions: insurance archaeology and claims management. Together, they ensure highly effective management of insurance carrier interactions and a thorough discovery of all the coverage funds available.

Following are three real-world instances that demonstrate the favorable outcomes of engaging in both insurance archaeology and effective claims management when faced with mass tort claims.

Arcina’s Persistence Pays Millions in Environmental Claim Recovery

Mass tort claims management can rapidly grow in complexity when attempting to recover funds from eight separate insurance carriers. That’s exactly what happened when a manufacturing company sought to recover funds for environmental damage claims. 

Arcina launched an insurance archaeology effort that discovered and produced policies dating back to the 1940s and extending through the 1960s. The team then developed a strategy to engage specific carriers with favorable policy language that would enable the client to obtain a recovery from each carrier. Over a three-year time span, Arcina advised the manufacturing client in negotiating with the eight insurance carriers to recover on environmental claims spanning several decades. The advice centered on helping the client to remain focused and resolute in obtaining settlements for the claims.  

When litigation between the carriers erupted, Arcina continued to advise the client and collaborated with outside counsel. Negotiations with each carrier paid off, resulting in a multi-million-dollar settlement that also would provide resolution for any future environmental claims.   

Archaeology and Claims Advocacy Deliver Unexpected Results

A water utility, on the verge of a trial, faced a significant liability related to historic asbestos claims. The company had limited insurance to provide coverage and defense for the claims, and so, turned to Arcina to learn if they had overlooked any potential coverage or strategies to maximize the recovery of funds. 

The Arcina team immediately implemented an insurance archaeology and advocacy plan. In just two weeks, the team located significant insurance assets and arranged for defense of the claims. 

On the eve of the trial, the case settled with the authority of multiple insurers, and the insurance carriers ultimately reimbursed 100% of the defense costs, producing a seven-figure recovery for the client. Diligence and persistence resulted in the location of over $100 million in coverage for pending and future asbestos claims, providing the client with both peace of mind and a reliable insurance asset.

Claims Management Wins Coverage and Offloads Client Staff Burden

A distributor of healthcare products was deluged with mass tort claims brought by individual plaintiffs related to a medical device malfunction. The distributor’s risk management team did not have the necessary bandwidth to manage the claims and required assistance to both organize and perform ongoing management. Moreover, fees from outside legal counsel had already mounted to approximately $1 million per month. Company management needed to relieve the burden placed on their risk management team while ensuring a more cost-effective method to achieve their insurance recovery goals.

Arcina assumed the claims management function from the client’s limited risk management staff, almost instantly enabling them to focus on other critical risk issues. Over the course of just 12 months, the Arcina team noticed nearly 3,000 claims to the appropriate insurance carriers and normalized the process to include collaboration among risk management, the insurers and legal counsel. By constructing two databases to centrally manage volumes of data for the claims, Arcina enabled the insurers to access relevant data via a secure portal – a step that went a long way toward optimizing the client’s relationships with insurers.

The ROI of engaging Arcina was impressive. Thanks to the timely management and on demand access to information, Arcina and the client established a cooperative dialogue with the insurance markets, resulting in total avoidance of litigation. The client also obtained more than $100 million in coverage for indemnity and defense fees from multiple insurers. A collaborative relationship continues with Arcina as an established trusted advisor. And the risk management team has been free to  pursue their department responsibilities unencumbered from day-to-day mass tort claims management.

Trust the Power of Two 

These client success stories – and many more like them – demonstrate how diligent insurance archaeology, together with effective claims management, ensure proper recovery and remuneration for defendants in mass tort claims cases. Learn more by speaking directly with one of our consultants.

Excavating Proof: How Insurance Archaeology Plays an Important Role in Mass Tort Claims Success

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Any organization faced with a mass tort claim should consider insurance archaeology as part of its defense strategy. It is a vital tactic in unlocking an asset in order to obtain insurance recovery and reimbursement. Without insurance archaeology, defendants may struggle to manage a mass tort claim cost-effectively leaving them exposed to significant financial impact. This is especially true for a legacy claim that surrounds an issue or event that took place decades ago or over multiple years. For instance, events such as asbestos exposure, environmental contamination, talc-related cancer, sexual misconduct, and sports concussions commonly occurred over decades and can date back to the 1960s or 1970s.

Insurance archaeology helps offset indemnity and defense fees

Fees can mount really quickly in mass tort claims, and often, organizations with a distant or no direct relation to an event, find themselves facing a claim. Nowhere has that been more evident than in mass tort cases of asbestos that have typified the ‘sue first and get facts later’ approach. Plaintiffs routinely over-name defendants, naming 65 on average in asbestos lawsuits. Defendant organizations that are unable to locate evidence of applicable insurance coverage – from existing or expired coverages – must absorb defense fees and other fees that can climb into the millions of dollars.

Certain courts are now requiring evidence to support each mass tort claim against each defendant – an encouraging step toward tort reform. Yet, many defendants still find themselves mired in cases that have applied the over-naming approach. Small and mid-sized defendant organizations find the situation particularly frustrating, especially when they are named alongside industry behemoths with deep pockets that are legally and fiscally prepared  to address these claims.  

Insurance archaeology removes the insurance coverage mystery

A highly experienced insurance archaeologist follows a proven and effective approach to locate and access historic insurance policies. Without it, many defendants fail to account for assets which they already purchased and paid for years ago. This happens for many reasons, such as changes in company ownership, mergers or acquisitions, or the exit of key people from the company with institutional knowledge. An insurance archaeology team with the expertise, resources and insurance industry relationships can conduct a comprehensive, disciplined search via multiple channels domestically and abroad to locate potential coverage for a client. 

Engaging insurance archaeology firms also reduces the client’s cost of risk in that the rates to locate coverage are often a fraction of lawyers’ hourly rates to research historic insurance. Skilled archaeologists are accustomed to working in a world of secondary evidence – receipts, cancelled checks, board meeting minutes, etc. – to demonstrate evidence of actual insurance policies. The aforementioned disciplined and effective approach produces quicker and better results.  

Insurance archaeology provides value beyond locating coverage

Arcina has differentiated itself over the years by assisting clients beyond locating their historic insurance coverage. The act of locating insurance alone is often just the tip of the coverage iceberg, as clients need to understand how the coverage can be applied to their specific mass tort claim case. 

To bring clarity, Arcina provides clients with an overview of their historical insurance assets via a multi-layered chart of the coverage history. It clarifies the terms of each coverage policy, the limits, the solvency status and past impairments. Such a cumulative snapshot of historical insurance coverage helps to quantify the assets and model the best course of action to recover any monies due to the insured. This gives defendants the confidence to pursue a claims strategy and peace of mind to optimally manage their risk related to future legacy mass tort claims.

Beyond insurance archaeology, Arcina has developed a well-defined process to “perfect the claim” which makes it easy for clients to maintain confidence throughout the claim’s lifecycle. Close collaboration with the insurance carrier and legal counsel enables a non-adversarial approach further reducing the cost of risk and increasing the probability of a positive outcome.