Audio CD + Course Book

Insurance Bad Faith "Set-Up" in Connecticut

Audio CD + Course Book

Copyright Date:

December, 2017

Product ID#:


Audio + Course Book

Credit Information

Continuing Legal Education

  • CT CLE - 6.00
From Event: Insurance Bad Faith "Set-Up" in Connecticut, held December 2017.

Program Description

Behind every denial of defense, coverage, or settlement lies the potential for a bad faith claim. With the threat of excess judgments and punitive damages looming, claims professionals and attorneys need to work together to prevent claimants and plaintiffs from crying bad faith. Whether the claim falls under a first-party or third-party policy, this detailed legal guide will prepare you to avoid and counter bad faith allegations. Our experienced faculty will show you how to screen cases for bad faith potential, document your investigation, and develop tools to deny bad faith in court. Learn both offensive and defensive strategies to keep bad faith at bay. Order today!

Course Content

  1. Bad Faith Law and the Origin of the Set-Up
  2. Problematic First-Party Loss Claims
  3. Recognize an Unreasonable Third-Party Demand
  4. How to Respond to a Potential Bad Faith Set-Up
  5. Proper Investigation and Documentation
  6. Defenses in a Bad Faith Suit
  7. Ethics

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 CT - Credit Approval Expiration 12/12/2019 *

* denotes specialty credits

Agenda / Content Covered

  1. Bad Faith Law and the Origin of the Set-Up
    9:00 - 10:00, Daniel F. Sullivan and Gregory P. Varga
    1. Who is Liable for Bad Faith?
    2. Breach of Contract vs. Tort
    3. Duty to Investigate
    4. Duty to Defend and Indemnify: Interpreting Policy Language
    5. Legal Basis for Insurer's Duty to Settle
    6. Insured's Duty to Cooperate
    7. Who Pays for an Excess Judgment?
  2. Problematic First-Party Loss Claims
    10:15 - 11:00, Elizabeth F. Ahlstrand
    1. Failure to Provide Proper Notice of Claim
    2. Incomplete Documentation of Loss
    3. Is the Claim Unreasonable Given the Extent of Documented Loss or Injury?
    4. Watching Out for Inconsistencies
    5. Investigating the Insured: Previous Claims and Financial Status
  3. Recognize an Unreasonable Third-Party Demand
    11:00 - 11:45, Joseph J. Blyskal and Greil I. Roberts
    1. Conditions Beyond Payment Within Policy Limits
    2. Demand Made Without a Release
    3. Lack of Proper Information to Support the Demand
    4. Time Limit Demand: What Happens if You Miss the Deadline?
    5. Will the Court Apply the Mirror Image Rule?
    6. Beware of Ambiguous Demand Letters
    7. Is Any Demand Beyond Policy Limits Automatically Unreasonable?
    8. Consent Judgment and Collusive Settlement Set-Up
      1. Covenant-not-to-Execute Against the Insured
      2. Assigning Right to Enforce the Judgment Against the Insurer
      3. Stipulations that Weaken the Case Against Coverage
  4. How to Respond to a Potential Bad Faith Set-Up
    12:45 - 1:30, Melicent B. Thompson
    1. Duty to Inform Claimant of Benefits and Policy Limits
    2. Evaluating the Risk of an Excess Judgment
    3. Defending the Insured under a Reservation of Rights
    4. Initiating Settlement Negotiations
    5. Making a Counter Offer
    6. Obtaining a Release of the Insured
    7. Issues with Multiple Defendants or Claimants
    8. Responding to an Unreasonable Consent Judgment
  5. Proper Investigation and Documentation
    1:30 - 2:15, Daniel F. Sullivan and Gregory P. Varga
    1. Steps You Can Take Before Receiving the Demand
    2. Defense Counsel's Evaluation of the Settlement Demand Amount
    3. Looking for Other Insurance Coverage
    4. What are the Covered Damages?
    5. How to Properly Document the Investigation and Analysis of the Claim
    6. Discovery of the Claim File: Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product
  6. Defenses in a Bad Faith Suit
    2:30 - 3:30, Joseph J. Blyskal and Greil I. Roberts
    1. What Damages are Available in Bad Faith Claims?
    2. Mediation of the Bad Faith Case
    3. Considerations for Bifurcation of Coverage and Bad Faith Cases
    4. Strategies for Summary Judgment Motions
    5. Using Pre-Trial Stipulations to Your Advantage
    6. Countering the Bad Faith Expert Witness
    7. Advice of Counsel as a Defense of Denial
    8. Showing Fraud by the Insured
    9. Addressing the Alleged Set-Up: Can You Claim Reverse Bad Faith?
    10. Insurer's Burden of Proof at Trial
    11. Convincing the Jury of Good Faith Settlement Efforts
  7. Ethics
    3:30 - 4:30, Melicent B. Thompson
    1. Handling the Original Claim During Bad Faith Litigation
    2. Tripartite Relationship
    3. Ethical Practices for Investigating Claims
    4. Lawyers as Witnesses
    5. Following the Independent Counsel Doctrine
    6. Burning Limits Policies
    7. Defending Multiple Insureds
    8. Malpractice Danger for Attorneys Retained by Insurers

ELIZABETH F. AHLSTRAND is a partner in the law firm of Seiger Gfeller Laurie LLP, where she concentrates her practice on complex civil and commercial litigation in the state and federal courts in Connecticut and New York. She regularly represents insurers on a national basis in complex litigation involving first- and third-party coverage disputes with allegations of bad faith and unfair claim settlement practices. Ms. Ahlstrand has experience in all lines of insurance, including commercial general liability, personal lines, life and disability, professional liability, employers’ liability, umbrella, excess and surplus lines policies. She also has significant civil litigation and insurance defense experience, particularly in the areas of product liability, construction defect and life sciences, and she regularly defends sports and recreational facilities, such as ski areas, ice skating rinks and race car tracks, in suits alleging catastrophic losses. She also has extensive experience in the area of appellate advocacy. Ms. Ahlstrand is a member of the Connecticut, New York State and Vermont bar associations, as well as several other professional associations relevant to her practice. As vice-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association's Insurance Law Section, she regularly organizes continuing legal education programs on topics relating to insurance coverage and defense. Ms. Ahlstrand has been recognized as a Rising Star in the Connecticut edition of Super Lawyers from 2010 through 2016. She received her B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Colby College; and her J.D. degree, with high honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

JOSEPH J. BLYSKAL is senior counsel with the law firm of Gordon & Rees LLP, and a member of the firm’s insurance and bad faith, employment law, commercial litigation, tort and products liability and construction practice sections. He has significant experience representing private business clients and closely-held companies, individuals, and institutional clients before administrative bodies and state and federal courts in all stages of litigation, including appeals. In addition to these areas of emphasis, Mr. Blyskal also regularly handles construction-related disputes involving both contractual, defect and design claims. He regularly advises and represents insurers involved in coverage and bad faith disputes. Mr. Blyskal has experience with various coverage forms and endorsements, including excess liability, employer liability, and directors and officers liability. He also represents and advises excess insurers involved in declaratory judgment and bad faith litigation in state and federal courts in Connecticut and elsewhere, and has bad faith trial experience. Mr. Blyskal is also active in the risk industry and business community, regularly writing articles on current topics of interest. He has written articles on insurance coverage issues, employment issues, and electronic discovery. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association (member, Executive Committee of the Insurance Law Section and Executive Committee of the Litigation Section), Defense Research Institute, Oliver Ellsworth Inn of Court and the State Bar of Georgia. Mr. Blyskal received his B.A. degree from Western Michigan University and his J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law.

GREIL I. ROBERTS is an attorney in the Hartford office of Gordon & Rees LLP, and a member of the insurance practice group. He has handled various aspects of complex insurance coverage litigation in both state and federal courts, with a focus on commercial general liability and professional liability coverage. He has written several appellate briefs and acted as second chair attorney. Having written hundreds of coverage letters, he has extensive experience with reading and interpreting a variety of insurance contracts, exclusions and endorsements. Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Mr. Roberts worked for a major insurance company, where he evaluated coverage and managed litigation for a diverse range of large loss matters including asbestos, environmental contamination, construction defect, Chinese drywall, lead paint and various toxic tort exposures. Mr. Roberts earned his B.S. degree in finance at the University of Connecticut, as well his J.D. degree at the University of Connecticut School of Law. He held the position of associate editor on the Connecticut Law Review, and was awarded the CALI award for academic achievement in principles of insurance. He is admitted to practice law in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.

DANIEL F. SULLIVAN is a partner in the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP. Mr. Sullivan is a trial lawyer who represents clients in complex commercial disputes, with an emphasis on insurance coverage and extra-contractual claims litigation. He has represented clients in state and federal courts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. He has been involved in appeals to the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, and Fourth Circuits and the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Connecticut, as well as numerous arbitration and mediation proceedings. Mr. Sullivan’s work representing insurance companies in complex property insurance coverage litigation includes serving as counsel for insurers in significant cases arising from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Katrina, and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has also litigated cases involving losses to residences and businesses arising from catastrophic fires and explosions, mold contamination, defective workmanship, and construction defects. Mr. Sullivan has also represented other businesses in a broad spectrum of commercial litigation. For ten years, he was a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he developed and taught a graduate-level course in property insurance law. He frequently speaks on insurance and litigation-related issues to bar and industry organizations and provides in-house training sessions to insurance company personnel on coverage issues and trial tactics. Mr. Sullivan has been listed in Connecticut and New England Super Lawyers in the area of insurance coverage since 2007. He received his B.A. degree, with distinction, from The George Washington University and his J.D. degree, with high honors, from The George Washington University Law School, where he was Order of the Coif.

MELICENT B. THOMPSON is an equity partner with Litchfield Cavo LLP, and is the managing partner for the firm’s Connecticut office. She has over twenty-one years’ experience as a litigator in coverage and defense matters. Her coverage law practice encompasses all areas of coverage litigation, including declaratory judgment actions, bad faith litigation, reinsurance matters and coverage analyses in both the first- and third-party contexts. Ms. Thompson has similarly broad litigation experience in both state and federal courts in the areas of construction defect claims, business disputes, employment, medical malpractice, professional, executive, non-medical malpractice, defense of educational and financial institutions and toxic tort defense. She also has substantial appellate court experience, having briefed and argued appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District courts and the Connecticut and Georgia supreme and appellate courts. Ms. Thompson earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is admitted to practice law before Connecticut and Georgia state and federal courts and is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia, as well as the American Bar Association. Ms. Thompson has presented regularly on defense and coverage issues at the annual conference of The National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI) and Perrin conferences.

GREGORY P. VARGA is a partner in the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP. For more than two decades, Mr. Varga has focused his practice on representing insurance companies nationally in complex insurance coverage litigation, in lawsuits seeking punitive damages and other extracontractual remedies, and in other corporate litigation. In the insurance coverage arena, he has successfully defended clients in numerous high-exposure cases involving a wide variety of insurance lines, including commercial property; business interruption and extra expense; builders risk, contractor's equipment, motor truck cargo, and other inland marine risks; boiler and machinery coverages; excess and surplus lines risks; and homeowner's policies issued to high net worth individuals. Clients have relied on Mr. Varga and his team to serve as national coverage and litigation counsel for catastrophe claims, Chinese drywall litigation, and other substantial exposures. Mr. Varga's experience in the defense of bad faith litigation is equally significant. He has defended clients against bad faith claims in all of the New England states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at insurance industry and insurance bar programs, including the Property Loss Research Bureau, the Defense Research Institute, and the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel. He has also lectured on trial techniques to other members of the bar. Mr. Varga received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Boston College and his J.D. degree from Boston College Law School.

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Accreditation Details:

Continuing Legal Education

CT CLE: 6.00 Credit Approval Exp
Includes - Ethics: 1.00
Neither the Connecticut Judicial Branch nor the Commission on Minimum Continuing Legal Education approve or accredit CLE providers or activities. It is the opinion of NBI, Inc. that this activity qualifies for up to 6.0 self-study hours toward your annual CLE requirement in Connecticut, including 1.0 self-study hour(s) of ethics/professionalism.

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