Insurance Expert Witness
Read Time: 3 Minutes
Insurance expert witnesses play a crucial role in legal proceedings by providing specialized knowledge and insights related to insurance matters. These experts often provide expert testimony and valuable opinions in cases involving insurance claims, coverage, or settlement practices. This guide will cover the key aspects of working with insurance expert witnesses, areas they can opine on, tips for finding the right expert witness, and how to maximize the value of their testimony.
What Is an Insurance Expert Witness?
Insurance expert witnesses are professionals with in-depth knowledge and experience in the insurance industry, including insurance customs, practices, and regulations. They are typically called upon to assist legal proceedings where insurance-related issues are central to the case. Their role can include analyzing complex insurance policies, interpreting industry standards, and providing expert opinions to help the court make informed decisions.
Types of Cases Supported by Insurance Expert Witnesses
Insurance expert witnesses can contribute their expertise to a wide range of cases, including:
- Insurance Coverage Disputes: Assessing the terms and conditions of insurance policies and opining on whether a claim is covered under a specific policy.
- Bad Faith Claims: Evaluating insurer conduct to determine if it breaches the duty of good faith. Providing opinions on whether an insurer unreasonably denied a claim.
- Liability and Subrogation: Determining liability in insurance claims and assessing subrogation opportunities for insurance companies.
- Risk Management: Advising on effective risk management strategies for businesses and evaluating the adequacy of an entity’s insurance coverage.
Areas Insurance Expert Witnesses Can Opine On
Here are some key areas of specialized knowledge that an insurance expert witness might provide:
- Policy Interpretation: Analyzing and interpreting the language, terms, and conditions of insurance policies. Determining the scope of coverage and exclusions within a policy.
- Industry Standards and Practices: Understanding and explaining insurance industry norms, standards, and best practices. Opining on whether an insurance company’s actions align with accepted industry standards.
- Claims Handling: Assessing the reasonableness of claim denials or approvals. Evaluating the claims investigation process, including the adequacy of documentation and adherence to industry standards.
- Underwriting Practices: Providing insights into underwriting processes and criteria used by insurance companies. Assessing whether underwriting decisions align with industry standards and legal requirements.
- Regulatory Compliance: Understanding and explaining regulatory requirements imposed on insurance companies. Assessing whether an insurer’s actions comply with applicable laws and regulations.
- Actuarial Analysis: Conducting actuarial analysis to assess risk and determine appropriate insurance premiums. Opining on the reasonableness of actuarial practices employed by insurance companies.
- Expert Opinions on Causation: Providing expert opinions on the causal relationship between events and insurance claims. Assessing the validity of claims based on the circumstances surrounding an incident.
- Financial Analysis: Analyzing the financial health and solvency of insurance companies. Opining on the financial implications of specific insurance decisions or practices.
- Customs and Practices in the Insurance Industry: Providing insights into customary practices within the insurance industry. Opining on whether an insurer’s actions deviate from established customs.
Finding the Right Insurance Expert Witness
Finding the right expert witness can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you identify and select the right expert for your case:
- Qualifications and Experience: Look for experts with relevant academic credentials and industry certifications. Qualifications an insurance expert witness might have include a bachelor’s degree in fields like insurance, risk management, business administration, or finance and industry designations such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
- Communication Skills: Choose an expert who can articulate complex concepts clearly and concisely. Effective communication skills are essential to conveying their opinions convincingly to the judge and jury.
- Review Testimony History: Have your potential expert witnesses provided testimony in court before? Review any prior testimony to avoid conflicting opinions.
- Consider Availability: Ensure that the expert witness you choose is available to work on your case within your required timeline.
Getting the Most Out of Expert Testimony
To get the most out of your expert witness testimony, consider the following tips:
- Prepare Thoroughly: Provide the expert with a thorough overview of the case, including relevant policy documents, claims files, medical records, and other relevant documents.
- Collaborate: Maintain open communication with the expert, providing them with all relevant case materials, and encourage discussions with the legal team to align strategies.
- Simplify Testimony: Work with the expert witness to ensure their testimony is concise, coherent, and easily understandable by both legal professionals and laypersons.
- Cross-Examine: Conduct mock trials or depositions to help the expert become familiar with the legal process and refine their testimony.
Working with insurance expert witnesses can significantly impact the outcome of a case. By understanding their role, knowing the types of cases they can support, and following best practices for selection and collaboration, litigators can leverage their expertise effectively and strengthen their cases.
GLG has a network of experts across all industries and disciplines who can offer their testimony to support your case. We connect lawyers with the right experts for their cases quickly and efficiently so you can focus on litigating and winning.
If you are a lawyer in need of an expert witness, submit your request below, and our team will get to work finding the right match.
Check out our other articles about witnesses with similar expertise:
Enter your contact information below and a member of our team will reach out to you shortly.