Reed Smith is a leader in the representation of professionals. Our insurance recovery attorneys are an important element of that leadership. Reed Smith attorneys have extensive experience assisting and advising companies, firms and individuals providing professional services in all aspects of their relationships with insurance companies.
Breadth of Representation
As one of the world’s largest law firms, Reed Smith represents all types of professionals and consultants. From large financial institutions, consulting and accounting firms, to group medical practices and individual professionals, Reed Smith works with its clients on both business and litigation issues. Professional liability/errors and omissions insurance is essential to professionals in today’s litigious society. Our breadth of experience and expertise provides a perspective that is invaluable when pursuing recovery from insurance companies or advising professionals about their liability insurance. We also bring that experience to bear in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
Almost all professional liability coverage currently issued in the United States is on a “claims-made basis” where the applicable policy is the one in effect at the time a claim is made and, frequently, reported to the insurer. Most claims-made policies have exclusions for claims which are based on actions which took place before a specific date, either the policy inception date, or an earlier “retroactive” date. Most have very specific reporting requirements which must be adhered to. Reed Smith attorneys are very familiar with all of the intricacies and nuances of claims-made coverage and how to find weaknesses in insurers’ positions when insurers try to deny coverage because of some defect in the manner or timing of claim reporting. Reed Smith attorneys have been successful in both negotiating and litigating these issues on behalf of all types of professionals and under all types of policies.
Professional Liability vs. General Liability Coverage
Many general liability policies contain professional liability exclusions and many professional liability policies specifically define the scope of the “professional services” which they cover. Reed Smith attorneys understand the differences between the two types of coverage and work with clients to make sure that no gaps exist. We have reviewed coverage programs and pointed out existing gaps, enabling our clients to negotiate a broader definition of “professional services” and the potential of an uncovered claim.
Advice and Counsel
Because Reed Smith attorneys are familiar with the insurance needs of professionals and consultants, we are frequently asked to work with our clients to evaluate their existing insurance programs and make recommendations from a legal perspective. We work with our clients to identify potential gaps in coverage and to make sure that all necessary coverages are provided. We also work with our clients to improve indemnity and hold harmless agreements and limitation of damages provisions. We work with our clients and their brokers to secure the broadest coverage available.
Addressing Professional Liability Claims
In addition to Reed Smith’s broad experience in defending professional liability claims of all types, Reed Smith insurance recovery attorneys work with clients to make sure that claims are timely and properly reported to the correct insurers, and respond to insurers’ requests for information and reservation of rights letters. Reed Smith attorneys have been successful in negotiating with insurers to reverse flat-out coverage denials, defend professional liability claims, approve and fund settlements, and pay judgments.
While our foremost goal is to prevent clients from having to fight a two-front battle, one the defense of the liability claim, and the other the coverage dispute with the client’s insurers, when circumstances require, Reed Smith attorneys litigate coverage under professional liability policies in state and federal courts around the country, and in binding arbitration. We have extensive experience with all forms of ADR and are frequently successful in using ADR to resolve coverage litigation at an early stage.