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February 14, 2020

How to Cut Insurers’ Legal Costs

Summary:

If insurers want to lower their legal costs, or at least make themselves less vulnerable to costly litigation, they need to emphasize safety.

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If insurers want to lower their legal costs, or at least make themselves less vulnerable to costly litigation, they need to increase their emphasis on safety. 

They need to revise their policies to align with public policy. They need to make it their policy to ensure safety before they insure clients—before they issue insurance to businesses—whose places of business are dangerous or potentially deadly. 

Absent a change, policies for all clients will become more expensive. The expense may be too much for some companies to bear, the expense may be too burdensome for most small businesses to endure, unless the seemingly inevitable becomes the easily avoidable.

That is to say, insurance can be more affordable, and insurers can afford to make more money, if safety is a national priority.

Achieving this goal is a matter not only of listening to what a lawyer says, but doing what he recommends.

According to Howard P. Lesnik, an injury law expert and member of the New Jersey Association of Justice, insurers should listen to what juries have said; insurers should listen to what juries continue to say, that accident victims deserve the damages they seek.

All juries may not say the same thing, but many say what all insurers should hear—the truth.

The truth is: When a place of business is injurious to the public, when the injuries are similar and the place where they happen is the same, when a business does nothing to prevent accidents that have a high likelihood of resulting in physical injuries, then it is no accident that that business is indifferent to the interests of the public.

Insurers must not be accomplices to such indifference. Not when a policy of do-nothingism is a prescription to lose everything. Not when the price of inaction is a possible class action lawsuit. Not when the ultimate price is bankruptcy, morally and monetarily.

See also: Visions of Safety and Pictures of Success  

A policy of conscience, on the other hand, is anything but indifferent.

It is a statement of principle, saying to the nation that insurers do acknowledge, that insurers do accept their role as leaders.

Such a statement would do a lot to define the insurance industry as a symbol of leadership.

To be true to that statement, insurers must listen to what an injury law expert has to say. 

In so doing, a dialogue may ensue. and new standards of excellence may emerge.

This dialogue is too important to ignore or dismiss, given the dangers that exist and the risks that threaten the lives of individuals and the livelihoods of individual workers throughout the insurance industry. 

Silence, in other words, is deadly.

Through an exchange of ideas and an attempt to achieve certain ideals, insurers can promote better business practices, superior workplace conditions and fewer accidents. They can also champion greater oversight and safety.

Let insurers strive to do these things, despite whatever challenges, criticisms or costs may arise.

Let insurers do what is right, despite whatever may happen, period.

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About the Author

Lewis Fein writes about law and public policy, among other things. His commentary has been featured on CNBC, KABC Radio, Fox Business News and elsewhere.

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