Team Litify recently hosted our inaugural LitiQuest Insurance conference in sunny Santa Monica at the illustrious Proper Hotel! It was an exciting day of connection, collaboration, and community as we brought together leaders across the insurance ecosystem to start shaping the future of claims litigation together.
Our agenda focused on the issues that exist today between carriers and defense firms — and how technology and data can help both sides of the aisle do their jobs more effectively and guide better decision making throughout the claims litigation process. And attendees had the opportunity to hear from a powerhouse lineup of speakers, including: Ronna Ruppelt from CLM Alliance, Daniel Hargraves from AmTrust, Sarannah McMurtry from Acceptance Insurance, Gene Kissane from Cole, Soctt, & Kissane, Phillip Ostberg from Salesforce, and many more.
We rounded out the day with a rooftop reception overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains. Wish you were there? Don’t worry, we’re already planning our next event, and in the meantime, we’ve recapped the key takeaways from the day for you below. Read on and enjoy!
1. Nuclear verdicts are rising
The world is changing, and with it, nuclear verdicts are growing. To clarify, that’s an exceptionally high jury award that surpasses any reasonable or rational amount, often in the ranges of millions or even billions of dollars. In fact, over the last ten years, there has been a 300+% increase in awards over $1 million. And if that’s not enough, the largest damage award in US history is $300 billion. How can insurance leaders gain control amid growing media coverage, social inflation, litigation funding, and more?
Watch our nuclear verdicts panel featuring Sarannah McMurtry of AmTrust Insurance, Grant Little of ClaimsTech, Andrew L. Smith of Tyson & Mendes, and Howard Klar of Gallo, Vitucci, Klar LLP.
As verdicts change, your trial preparation should too. Begin your trial by knowing the end in terms of jury instructions. For instance, will the jury be instructed of a non-delegable duty as it pertains to your insured? You might consider using mock trials, focus groups, or jury consultants to prepare your defense strategies and juror selection. Technology is also critical — both in the courtroom and your law office. New technology helps present or provide statistical information or re-enact an incident in the courtroom, but the best defense is being well-prepared with all the case information. A case or practice management software will also help ensure that whoever presents the case knows it better than anyone in the courtroom.
2. Insurance needs to be driven by data
Insurance is driven by data, but in many cases, this data is misaligned when it comes to measuring performance. Defense firms often want to maximize billings — keeping files open longer — whereas insurance carriers want to minimize legal expenses — closing files and getting to a quick resolution. See what we mean?
Going forward, it will be critical for defense firms and carriers to arrive at a shared understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs) that work for both parties. This could mean average cost (ALAE) per case, life cycle per case, hourly rates, and average indemnity paid per case on a comparative basis. Shared metrics to better understand performance can guide better decision making throughout the claims litigation process.
3. Claims with meaningful collaboration produce better results
Several speakers shared their personal perspectives from working on both sides of the aisle throughout their careers. Their takeaway? The grass isn’t greener on the other side, but it became clear that when counsel and claims professionals had ongoing and meaningful collaboration throughout the life of the lawsuit, they produced better quality, loss, and expense results. By working together, the carrier can define the best result for the matter and counsel can utilize their local expertise to drive toward that result.
Thankfully, there are new, flexible technologies entering the market today that offer solutions for insurers and law firms to measure and manage quality, value, results, performance, and risk. These platforms provide real-time analytics, automation that streamlines tasks for both outside counsel and carrier, and a mechanism for this meaningful collaboration, source of truth, and shared goals.
4. The new standard will be to focus on outcomes, not hours
Historically, the legal industry has been slow to embrace change, especially in terms of technology adoption. A 2020 ABA survey found that only 58% of firms use cloud-based data storage. But those in the room during LitiQuest Insurance were looking to embrace the new technologies of today and the new standards for success it brings. For example, with a cloud-based platform reducing manual and repetitive tasks, insurance leaders can finally move beyond the billable hour — or maybe, the “not-so-billable hour” — and instead focus on driving outcomes and results.
How Litify is streamlining claims litigation
Litify was built to enable better collaboration between carriers and insurance defense firms — whether that’s streamlined matter management, automated billing rules, or better data analytics to help you prove results. Check out our brand-new Litify Overview video that we debuted during LitiQuest Insurance.