CLM Voices: Getting to Know Michael Hotaling
The Hartford's SVP, liability & financial products claims,offers insights on the industry and advice on how to achieve success.
By Eric Gilkey
Twenty-eight years of executive claims experience has provided Hotaling with the skills and know-how to succeed. He offers insights on the industry and advice on how to achieve your own success.
Hotaling found the industry—it didn’t find him—but he says it was hard to miss since he was living in the Hartford area. While working his first law firm job, he heard that a local insurer was expanding its legal department, so he threw his hat in the ring. After 17 years there, he made the move to The Hartford, where he has been for 11 years.
Expect the Unexpected
“Can juries be unpredictable? Better believe it.” -Hotaling, reflecting on a lesson he learned early on during a mock trial exercise in which three panels—all of which saw the same evidence—delivered the broadest range of outcomes possible.
What to Watch
In addition to keeping an eye on trends in cyber, general liability, and auto litigation, Hotaling also looks for escalating verdicts brought on by factors like medical inflation and evolving plaintiff’s trial techniques. Additionally, social challenges like the #MeToo movement and the opioid epidemic are very much on his radar.
“Technology that captures usable data for our mad scientists to work with is absolutely essential.” -Hotaling, on one thing his claims department can’t live without.
When it comes to managing litigation partners, Hotaling says his biggest pet peeve is case evaluations that get worse as the reality of trial approaches. He says that some lawyers don’t appreciate how disruptive it is to be surprised by late-breaking bad news for no real reason. Attorneys shouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t come back for more, he says.
Life Outside the Office
“I’m a cycling nut, focusing lately on mountain biking. It’s not only great fun and physically demanding, but also it’s something that my wife and I enjoy doing together.”