This course focuses on the law of insurance, the insurance of business, and the business of insurance. Questions concerning property and casualty insurance, including insurance for mass torts, product liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, and natural disasters are examined. The obligations of insurance companies to conduct their business according to state and, to some extent, federal regulation and the law of insurance bad faith are explored. Particular types of coverages that will be studied include homeowners insurance, comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance, excess and umbrella insurance, D&O insurance, and property insurance (including business-interruption/lost-profits insurance). Students will develop sophisticated skills in analyzing the applicability of insurance to complex loss situations, the duties of insureds and insurance companies, and the ethical questions faced by lawyers sometimes caught in between.
Note: The course does not address life, disability, or health insurance, or ERISA.
In this course, you will learn:
- Business context and objectives for insurance transactions.
- How to parse and interpret insurance-policy language.
- How property-casualty insurance responds to “real world” situations, involving losses to property including from natural disasters, mass tort claims, shareholder claims, and other situations.
- How courts and law makers create incentives for insurance companies to act in positive ways. This includes questions of insurance company “bad faith” or good faith, the obligation of an insurer to accept a reasonable settlement offer from a plaintiff, obligations of insurers to provide lawyers to defend the insured and the ethical limits on the role of the lawyer, including when the lawyer is selected by the insured rather than the insurance company.
- Through reviewing excerpts from briefs, students will gain a better appreciation of how to articulate insurance-law points and make appropriate argument.
- The reading material introduces the wide variety of relevant sources that may assist lawyers, such as cases, articles/treatises, attorneys-general opinions, bar-association ethics opinions, and actual insurance policies.