- SUCCESSFUL SUBROGATION: ACTION – INSIGHT – RESULTS
McGowan & Lavin is a founding member of the National Alliance of Subrogation Counsel (NASC), and we handle subrogation recovery matters throughout New England. In this capacity, we understand that a successful recovery is one which is obtained in a cost-effective manner for the insurer. We strive to assist our clients in improving and maximizing recoveries through an aggressive yet cost-efficient approach that ensures claims evolve to bypass the hurdles and defenses that routinely emerge.
The firm welcomed Chris Greeley to the firm in April of 2017. Chris has handled complex subrogation matters for insurance companies for more than a decade, and has overseen matters ranging from straightforward residential claims (fire, water, product liability and construction and design defect claims) to a full range of complex high-value commercial and industrial claims (environmental contamination, explosions, fires, collapse, and mechanical breakdowns). Chris understands that the foundation of an effective subrogation and recovery program involves the development of a core process that provides for timely, accurate, and cost-effective investigations. His significant experience furthers our overall objective as subrogation and recovery counsel: To efficiently identify, develop, and successfully pursue meritorious claims through a comprehensive analysis of potential third-party responsibility, while weeding out non-viable claims.
Subrogation is a unique and specialized field, requiring a timely response and technical expertise. It is built upon core efficiency. We ourselves on our ability to work with insurers and trusted vendors to efficiently coordinate prompt and cost-effective investigations. Maximal recoveries require true passion and an understanding of the process and efforts needed to properly coordinate an investigation, before navigating the demand phase, litigation, and either settlement or trial.
Losses occur unpredictably. It is a valuable resource for subrogation recovery specialists to have local counsel available who can respond to any loss within 24 hours, and assist with the ground-level efforts of initiating the process of providing appropriate notice to potentially responsible parties, assisting with scene securement, and coordinating a thorough investigation into the origin and cause of major losses. Our local connections and proximity to regional claims set us apart from many of the national subrogation firms.
In terms of experience, we have coordinated and managed evidence inspections with more than a dozen potential targets and nearly 100 attendees, including arranging for heavy excavation equipment and cranes to systematically delayer catastrophic fire and explosion scenes. Because we have local connections with various vendors to handle excavation, hoisting, rigging, transport, inspection and storage of equipment, the timely preservation of harvested evidence, when possible, is assured. As necessary, we actively participate in origin and cause investigations to overcome potential spoliation issues and to overcome obstacles presented by uncooperative parties, and to assist in procuring information from witnesses. We have experience coordinating with local authorities, and we prioritize the importance of identifying, preserve, and analyzing relevant physical evidence.
Our level of direct and local engagement allows us to perform activities that insurers may otherwise outsource to hourly fee consultants as a part of our contingent fee services, which significantly reduces our client’s investigation expenses. We also work closely with forensic experts in various disciplines to establish a complete scientific understanding of the causes of the loss, and the prospect of recovery.
We work hard to stay apprised of emerging subrogation patterns and trends, including repetitive product failures. Having represented clients in numerous similar claims, we can accelerate claims and control costs, to maximize recoveries. We take an aggressive early intervention approach to new claims, utilizing our vast network of experts and consultants, and covering a broad variety of losses. From the moment that a claim is referred to the firm for investigation through its resolution, we work with our clients and consultants to develop cost-effective strategies for identifying and pursuing subrogation targets.
It is worth stating that our approach takes into careful consideration the cost of proceeding in relation to the potential recovery, in order to move towards the best overall result. Due to this policy to thoroughly update and advise our clients of our assessment of the potential for recovery, we promptly apprise our clients of the anticipated costs of investigation and litigation, and “best case/worst case scenario” in any situation encountered or anticipated. Sometimes, this means that we need to recommend to our clients that a subrogation file be retired if the prospect of a recovery is unlikely. We understand that incurring costs for certain tasks may not result in the best net recovery possible.
Lastly, we understand that it can be difficult to determine how to effectively prioritize subrogation opportunities so that the ones that require immediate attention actually receive it. Efficient identification of third-party liability often begins at first notice of loss. Understanding the dynamics of each claim in the early stages allows for proactive identification of potential recovery opportunities and we are available to our clients to help sift through promising matters from the date of loss forward. Paid claims that have subrogation rights transferred to them should be viewed as valuable assets. While not every claim will have subrogation potential, the subrogation process is important for insurers to prioritize because any sum recovered through the subrogation process goes directly to the company’s bottom line. As successful subrogation reduces overall loss costs, viable claims that are not pursued equate to lost resources. Simply put, when insurance companies overlook an opportunity for subrogation, they lose money. We are available to assist our clients in reducing or preventing missed recovery opportunities.