9/27/2016

Getting to Know: Eugene LaFlamme

McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC’s partner gives us a sneak peek into the CLM Property Committee’s session lineup, part CLM's Southwest Conference on Nov.3-4 in Dallas.

By Eric Gilkey

On his work with CLM: 

“I started off as the founding co-chair for the Fire & Explosion Committee, which merged into the Property Committee last year. A lot of property loss deals with fires and explosions, so we decided that the Property Committee was the best fit for us.”

On the sessions selected for this year’s event:

“We have a pretty good array of topics. One is dealing with emerging technologies for handling large loss property claims; another addresses subrogation and whether it’s worth pursuing given a set of circumstances. The session, ‘Critical Emerging Fire Claim Management Issues,’ is one that I’m certainly interested in personally, since I practice in the fire and explosion realm a lot—as you might have guessed. Another session examines fire and suppression issues, which often involves fire spread issues. Those are always interesting cases because you have to determine which portion of the fire is related to the inadequate suppression system compared to what would have been damaged anyways. As you can imagine, there can be differing opinions in that process.”

On the winnowing process:

“We definitely got a number of good topic proposals, and that meant we had to turn some away. What we tried to do was to get a good array of proposals that would speak to a number of different professionals. With only five sessions, each topic had to be broad enough to appeal and attract attendees, and we worked to tweak some proposals to make them a better fit in our program. One thing they all have in common, though, is a panel that is a good mixture of outside counsel who specialize in these areas as well as inside counsel and/or claims professionals. There are some arbitrators and forensic specialists on the sessions where appropriate, too.”

On the biggest change he has seen in property claims:

"I think within the last 15-20 years, we’ve really seen an increase in subrogation claims. First-party carriers have realized that, in many instances, they can recover a good percentage of the money that they pay out in first-party claims by pursuing potential tortfeasors. That’s why we included the session, ‘To Pursue or Not Pursue: Analyzing Property Subrogation Viability and ROI,’ on our schedule. Some considerations are whether the money sought in subrogation is even collectible, how good the liability claim is, and if the fight has the potential to be bigger than the win, especially since there are no guaranteed results.”

On the historic flooding in Louisiana:

“It is a terrible situation. The biggest issue will be who has flood insurance and who doesn’t. That means a lot of people will be left—for lack of a better term—high and dry. The individuals who do have flood insurance will be able to recover a good percentage of their losses, but it’s going to be a very costly venture both for uninsured and insured individuals.”

On his most memorable case:

“The biggest property-related case I’ve worked on was the fertilizer plant explosion just north of Waco in the city of West Texas. There were hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and, unfortunately, some deaths and injuries. Dealing with that case and seeing how the different governmental entities that were investigating the explosion maneuvered themselves was very interesting.”



Eric Gilkey is executive editor of CLM Magazine, a publication of the Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance. He may be reached at 513-273-8025, eric.gilkey@TheCLM.org.

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