For over a decade, the CLM Construction Conference has been one of the largest gatherings of insurance and litigation professionals serving the claims industry. The event brings together hundreds of risk managers, claim managers, attorneys, and builders from across the country. This year, Gallagher Bassett (GB) experts contributed to several sessions, leaving attendees with greater insight into the use of technology to reduce risk, the impact of excessive verdicts in the construction industry, and strategic approaches for the settlement or trial of construction defect cases.
Read on for the key insights from our panelists Bert Dizon, Senior Client Services Manager, Greg Perruzzi, SVP — Construction Vertical Practice, and Caryn Siebert, VP — National Director, Carrier Engagement.
Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want): Settlement vs. Trial
Bert Dizon, Senior Client Services Manager
I’ve been a speaker at the CLM Construction Conference for several years now. The topics are always relevant to claims professionals, carriers, self-insureds, attorneys, and other service providers, and this year was no different. It was a pleasure seeing and engaging with many of my carrier and captive clients in the construction space.
I presented on the appropriately titled panel “Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want): Settlement vs. Trial,” which created a spirited, open dialogue with attendees. My fellow panelists and I had the opportunity to present on fact patterns and offer our thoughts on strategy while also engaging the audience in a roundtable discussion.
As panelists from different roles, we each brought a unique perspective as we discussed the importance of assessing one’s case, considering the curveballs, having an accurate cost-benefit analysis, and defining and implementing resolution goals. It was a great way to garner a variety of opinions from insureds, claims professionals, and attorneys.
Ultimately, the session underpinned the idea that quality claims management isn’t black and white; rather, it is a carefully orchestrated collaboration to protect the best interests of the insured while also being fair to the claimant.
Tech-Knowledge: Risk Reduction Through the Use of Technology
Greg Perruzzi, SVP — Construction Vertical Practice
Rising jury damages pose a significant concern in various industries, particularly construction. However, the likelihood of such verdicts occurring is contingent upon numerous factors, most notably the quality of risk management in place. The mitigation of risks hinges on thorough risk assessment and proactive preparation, both of which can be enhanced through technology. These essential aspects were explored in depth during the “Tech-Knowledge: Risk Reduction Through the Use of Technology” session, where I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the intersection of technology and risk management.
In my experience, we see a true difference when technology is employed to proactively mitigate risk and reduce claims. As one example, our Construction Vertical Practice partners with a technology firm to offer cognitive impairment scanning services through a proprietary app that measures an individual’s readiness for work compared to their baseline. If a worker completes the test and is impaired in any way, be it through fatigue or intoxication, they will be deemed unfit for work and their manager will be notified. In this way, the technology prevents accidents and protects employees, their coworkers, the job site, and the overall project. Construction companies that use technology with risk management capabilities are better positioned to keep their jobs on track, their people safe, and their risk reduced.
In closing, it’s in every construction company’s best interest to take the critical step of leveraging a robust risk management information system (RMIS) to effectively and efficiently improve outcomes. Within GB’s Construction Vertical Practice, we manage data collection to support risk management insights and improve safety operations through our award-winning RMIS platform, Luminos.
Let’s Go to Trial: This is the Way
Caryn Siebert, VP — National Director, Carrier Engagement
My session at the CLM Construction Conference aimed to answer questions on which construction defect cases end up at trial and how they should be tried. Alongside industry peers, I participated in the panel “Let’s Go to Trial: This is the Way,” which helped attendees understand the different types of construction defect claims and the strategies to take them to trial successfully.
The session was unique in that it brought together panelists from different sides of the trial process. This made for a robust roundtable discussion to unpack the complexities associated with deciding to go to trial or not from the perspective of defense attorneys, claims handlers, and the defendant party.
Some construction defect cases go to trial; however, most end in a settlement that is usually reached through an extensive mediation process. While the mediation process can be just as exhaustive as a trial, it does mean that claims professionals and the defense counsel can evaluate how the case might be tried or settled. During mediation, we look at various aspects such as trial themes, expected motions, evidence, jury instructions, trial budget considerations, and suggested verdict scenarios. With the increasing volume and size of runaway verdicts in the construction industry, particularly in the context of intricate construction defect claims, opting for a trial could potentially lead to unforeseen outcomes. Hence, it is crucial to seek insights and feedback from a mediator and conduct thorough assessments with focus groups before proceeding to trial.
We’re here to deliver the outcomes that keep your business and people thriving in times of change and growth. We do so with comprehensive solutions for your claims and risk management needs, delivered by our dedicated Construction Vertical Practice. Learn more about how we can help you by visiting the solutions page on our website.