Almost every day, I get email correspondence from an inspector who is about to get jammed up royally by the unholy alliance of his insurance company and its panel defense counsel. I really wonder why any inspector, who chooses to be insured or who has to be insured by law, would go anywhere other than Lockton, the only home inspector professional liability insurance provider that endorses my claim response techniques and the only one whose default strategy is not “surrender”.
Consider this very typical situation:
I am fearful that it may be too late in the process for me to avail your services. I just today found out about your services.
I am in the middle of a claim against me and my Errors and Omissions Insurance here in [location redacted].
Turns out my insurance company is attempting to defend the claim against me but under a very specific “reservation of rights” clause that appears to ultimately leave me with representation but no coverage. The Insurance Company is also looking for my deductible up front.
The case seems obvious to me as with little merit given that the incident was almost 6 years ago and the claim is only being brought now and has to do with an oil tank spill where the tank was in continuous use for 4 years between the inspection I did and the tank failure. Nevertheless I feel at some great risk given the fact that this claim was not summarily dismissed and the issues of tank engineering and patio block strength ratings, etc. are being debated.
One, is it too late for me to chat with you about the process of representation and two, how do I ultimately introduce the Home Inspection process to the case without putting myself at the hands of some prosecutor who will likely find a myriad of things, the public will think, I do wrong in every inspection.
Hopefully you can be of assistance.
He was right to be fearful.
The problem, of course, is that this case is now completely out of the inspector’s control and in the hands of attorneys to whom the case represents an open-ended revenue stream and the inspector, a distracting annoyance. If defense counsel even knows – which he does not – that the case can be resolved without firing a shot, so ludicrous is it on its face, that is the absolute last thing he will try to do or would like to see happen.
So instead of being out of this case – like the inspector in the previous post – and actively getting his life back together, this inspector is very likely looking at months, possibly years of anxiety, the certain loss of his deductible and the wholly unjustified acquisition of a completely unnecessary scarlet-letter claims history that is sure to result in an increased premium at policy renewal.
He is also certain to be sold out by this company and its attorneys with a so-called “nuisance settlement” that will, at once, not only impugn his professionalism but extinguish his ability to recover compensatory damages against his former client for bringing this meritless case, as well.
Not surprisingly, neither the inspector’s insurance company nor its defense counsel had any interest in having me look over their shoulders.
Thanks so much for following up with me on this.
The current story is that the Insurance Company and the Attorney hired by the Insurance Company have told me that they feel they have a good position with respect to this claim. They have asked me to make no disclosures or have any discussions relative to the details of the case, etc, etc. I asked them specifically about your expertise and they acknowledged that to be the case but have a current defense position.
Personally, I feel I am committed to their involvement and I feel they are fully tackling my defense. The fact that they are strongly optimistic and they are well into the process makes me feel that I want to respect their request to let them handle this matter.
Having said that I sure wish there was more in the discussion about what a Home Inspection is and the Home Inspection process and its detail in this defense.
For now, at least, I feel I need to respect their request.
I intend to make it a point to get to one of your presentations and get some knowledge on your representation package. I have no doubt that you can be of help to me. This one claim has sucked some of the wind out of my sails. I’m a one-man show that is trying more and more to be by the book but am finding the line being blurred between giving the customer good value vs just trying to meet the regulation documentation.
All my best wishes,
I wrote back to the inspector, thus:
“Uh-oh. Get ready to bend over. Once a case goes to defense counsel, there is absolutely no reason for them to terminate the case and every reason to keep it going. It’s the worst of all possible worlds. Read or re-read these posts. And read my next post to be published Thursday which should be a real eye-opener for you.
They have no right to tell you not to discuss the case with me. And you can probably guess why they don’t want you to.
But you’re right. You’re pretty much stuck with these citrulls now. So live and learn. If they ask for your deductible when the case is over, tell them to contact me.
And be sure to switch your coverage to Lockton Affinity at renewal. Even if that happens when this case is still being churned by your “defense” counsel, which it will be.
Then, as long as I’m alive, you’ll never be in this position again.Already a ClaimsAcademy Member? Log In Register for Joe’s FREE ClaimsAcademy Video Tips Protect Yourself with ClaimIntercept Joe’s Law and Disorder Seminar is Available Online! Receive a Perfected Pre-Inspection Agreement