Investigation Needed to Effect a Right of Subrogation
Cases with Subrogation Potential
There is subrogation potential to the insurer on nearly every loss the adjuster investigates, no matter how slim the chances of collecting from the other party. The adjuster must listen carefully to what the insured says when he or she tells the adjuster what happened. The adjuster should always ask questions with subrogation in mind. The adjuster should think about what the insured would do if the insured had no insurance. The adjuster should also remember that if the wrongdoer is insured, the chances of collection increase logarithmically even if liability is slim because of the doctrine of comparative negligence.
Some insurers, being highly practical business people, will settle almost any case for the perceived cost of defending it. The adjuster should always be thinking about who, or what, is responsible for the loss. If possible, the adjuster should identify the wrongdoer’s insurer since insurers are easier to negotiate with than individuals and corporations.
Although it is usually the obligation of an insurance adjuster to pay a claim, the adjuster must recognize that he or she is a profit center for the insurer who, by developing a subrogation case, can reduce or eliminate the net loss paid by collecting from others. Failure to consider the person responsible for a loss is a failure of a major duty of a claims person.
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.
Over the last 52 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.
Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts
Listen to Barry Zalma’s Podcast: Zalma on Insurance