As anyone who watches television knows, insurance companies portray themselves as offering the promise of protection: An umbrella for a rainy day or a fortress safeguarding against attack. When insurance companies treat their policyholders right, there is no greater resource. And make no mistake about it, no business should be without a carefully implemented insurance program.

Unfortunately, the promise of protection -- illustrated by the photos on the left and right sides of the banner -- is often undermined by hiding behind the fine print when a claim arises (illustrated by the middle photo in the banner). Dealing with insurance companies often ranges from mildly frustrating (such as the seemingly unavoidable slow pay problem) to downright infuriating (such as outright denials of coverage when there is no reasonable legal basis).

Dealing with an insurance company can be a daunting proposition. Insurance companies can marshal legions of claims adjusters and lawyers, many of whom are particularly adept at hiding behind the confusing and often ambiguous language in which insurance companies choose to write their policies. Some adjusters and insurance company lawyers seem genetically incapable of answering the policyholder's most fundamental question: "Am I covered?" Others will answer this fundamental question, but the answer is invariably "no!"

This blog is meant to be a resource for business policyholders: Businesses that purchase insurance coverage based on the promise of coverage and pay the premiums the carriers are always so willing to accept. If there is one message that I hope this blog will help establish, it is this: Do not blindly accept your insurance company's statement that a claim is not covered or may not be covered.

Do not be cowed by the fact that the denial comes in a certified letter (as they always do) and is signed by a "senior claims examiner," "Vice President of Claims," or an outside lawyer. The truth is often that these folks are often wrong. They know that some percentage of insureds (and probably a large percentage) will simply shrug their shoulders accept the insurance company's determination. If the claim has any significance, it is almost always worth having an experienced coverage lawyer take a look.

We will get into more detailed issues in later posts. However, since this is the beginning, it's probably a good idea to start with a little fun. Although there is often little humor in the insurance coverage business, Monty Python's venerable skit about the "Never Pay Policy" is always worth a look. Be sure to watch the whole thing.

For a podcast from a while back when I was at another firm discussing the "Never Pay Policy," click here.

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