Getting to Know: Ted Colquett
The CLM’s Extra-Contractual Committee’s co-chair discusses his work on developing CLM New York, a joint effort between his committee and the Insurance Coverage Committee. It takes place on Dec. 3, 2015.
By Eric Gilkey
On the goals and mission of CLM New York.
“A few years ago, CLM’s Insurance Coverage and Extra-Contractual Committees came together and pooled their resources and talents to structure an event that facilitated candid and experienced discussions on the most pressing issues we face locally and nationally. That is what truly sets this conference apart—the unparalleled opportunity for attendees to learn from and network with the most dynamic and innovative industry leaders and outside counsel from across the country all in one place and for one extraordinary day only.
“This year, we added a claims and litigation management track to take the conference to the next level and grow the audience to ensure that we continue to develop industry strengths, openly address our weaknesses, and expand our networks to build relationships geared to succeed.
“One committee alone simply could not put together and bring about CLM New York. It takes the abilities, expertise, and, most importantly, the time of a number of amazing people to plan and execute it, and all of the committees and their leaders have done an outstanding job.”
On the sessions he’s most excited about:
“A priority for us this year was to hit topics that are on everyone’s radar. So in addition to panels on compelling coverage issues in cyber litigation and police misconduct, we also have sessions ranging from how to personalize the carrier in extra-contractual litigation to the impact of Obamacare on the insurance industry.
“Additionally, there is an interconnected element to the program that attendees will not find anywhere else. For instance, you could choose to hear about the hottest topics in extra-contractual litigation from one panel, cross over to another on improving relationships with defense counsel, and end your day with a great discussion on reserving rights without losing your shirt.
“As for me, I always look forward to the hot-topic conversation not only because I learn something that is vital to my clients and their companies, but also because it will be led for the second year by George Jackson, and any panel with George is guaranteed to be informative and entertaining!”
On the power of perception:
“Readers may have noticed that we recently changed the name of our committee from Bad Faith to Extra-Contractual. Frankly, it stopped making sense to emphasize and advance our good faith claims and litigation practices under an umbrella that had bad faith printed on it.
“Don Draper—yes, that Don Draper—once suggested, ‘If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation,’ and we were tired of what was being said and promoted about bad faith. So the name change was a step toward changing the conversation and getting rid of a negative description attached to what our committee members work on day in and day out.”
On the importance of subtlety:
“This is a challenging time for all of us, especially in extra-contractual litigation. While there may be an occasional outlier, insurers and claims resolution professionals don’t set out to wrongfully or deliberately deny policy coverage. But as this fact becomes more publicized, widespread, and successfully litigated, we will continue to see an uptick in allegations of institutional bad faith along with willful setups.
“Jennifer Wojciechowski and I recently taught a session at CLM’s Claims College in Philadelphia, and we emphasized that the difficult task is not seeing the black-and-white character of a claim. Rather, it is looking into the gray areas for the subtleties in customer service that all too often define and separate the experience of a satisfied policyholder or claimant from one who ends up sitting across the deposition table from you.”