Issue. Particular policy language frequently is at the center of insurance-based litigation. Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies lead the list of interpretation cases. CGL policies are followed closely by all forms of liability policies (whether free-standing such as professional liability policies or as coverage embedded in broader policies such as auto).
Coverage issues also arise as to:
- Auto policies (including liability and uninsured and underinsured coverage)
- Homeowners policies
- Disability policies
- Health policies
- Life policies
- Annuity (including variable annuities) policies
- Reinsurance contracts
In addition, issues arise in connection with the application form relating to these policies as completed by the agent or the insured.
Mr. Hager has provided extensive testimony in cases with policy language interpretation issues, including their related applications.
Specific Expert Skills as to Language Interpretation
- Tracking specific policy language to: (a) case law; (b) statutory provisions; (c) drafting intent; (d) insurance industry literature; and (e) academic/textbook commentary.
- As Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Hager annually oversaw the approval of some 50,000 insurance policy forms, including every word of every form. This approval process included word-by-word and sentence-by-sentence and paragraph-by-paragraph examination of the following types of policies (including their accompanying application forms): GCL, all forms of professional liability policies including errors and omission and director and officer policies, automobile policies, homeowners policies, disability policies, health and long term care polices, life insurance policies, annuities and certain reinsurance policies. Further, his department had responsibility to regulate insurer construction of policy language as to insureds.
- As CEO of NCCI, Mr. Hager had responsibility to annually file numerous standard industry-wide workers compensation policy forms and provisions nationwide, including responsibility for every word of every such form.
- As General Counsel and Director of Government Relations to the American Academy of Actuaries, Mr. Hager worked daily with the actuarial profession. Ultimately most coverage language is approved by company actuaries in that pricing must be made commensurate with the related coverage.
- Insurance Coverage Expert Witness
Lawmaker: Four Term Elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives. I recently served as an Elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives. I was Elected to the Florida House from Palm Beach County in 2010, Re-elected in 2012 and in 2014 and in 2016 and served until January of 2109, when, under Florida law, I was term limited out.
During the entire eight years at the Florida House, I served as a Member of the Insurance Committee and served as well as Vice Chair of the Insurance Committee and served as well on the upstream parent of the Insurance Committee, namely the Commerce Committee. All insurance bills must ultimately pass through the Commerce Committee.
Florida is an insurance intensive state for all kinds of reasons, meaning most all key insurance issues were considered or addressed during my service and were handled either by me directly (along with the balance of the Committee, of course) or by other Members of the Committee or by the Insurance Committee operating as a whole. My work in this regard included sponsoring and co-sponsoring insurance and reinsurance legislation; presenting such legislation to the Insurance Committee and to the upstream parent committee, namely the Commerce Committee and presenting the bill before the entire House of Representatives. I also participated in hearings either as Vice Chair (and Chairing the hearings) or as a participating Member, inquiring of those proposing the legislation.
In all of this, I have become very familiar with and possess an clear understanding of legislation and of construing insurance legislation and have become as well, very familiar with the role of the legislature (regardless of the state) as to insurance matters and the role of Insurance Regulators as to legislation and as to the balance of the regulators’ obligations, based both on this Florida experience and based as well on having served previously as Iowa’s Commissioner of Insurance.
Contact Bill Hager at 561-306-5072 or via email to discuss your case.