Areas of Expertise
Southern Insurance Consulting (SIC) provides expert witness testimony in the field of insurance and offers assistance in all areas of insurance litigation to attorneys and their clients. Based on thirty years of first-hand experience at all levels of the insurance industry, SIC has gained particular expertise in:
SIC founder and President Van E. Hedges regularly draws on his decades of experience in the industry to provide expert testimony on the proper interpretation of policy language. Van testifies on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants regarding the duties and obligations of the agent to advise and procure numerous types of coverage.
Industry Standards and Practices
Standards and practices in the industry can be a critical factor in determining whether an insurance company’s refusal to pay a claim, or undue delay in processing a claim, amounts to bad faith. As a qualified expert, Mr. Hedges is able to identify the applicable standard or practice, apply it to the situation at hand, and provide an expert opinion regarding whether or not the particular action was in line with industry standards and practices.
Independent agents enter into a multitude of contracts with insurance companies in order to do business, and as with any business, disputes can arise regarding the interpretation and implementation of contract provisions. Questions regarding ownership of expirations, hold harmless, and indemnity issues can all have significant impact on an agency’s relationship with an insurance company. Mr. Hedges has extensive first-hand experience with all types of contracts as an agency manager and president, and has testified for plaintiff and defense counsel in numerous cases where agent/company contract terms and duties are a significant factor.
Agency values are dependent on a great many factors, from trends and changes in the industry and the overall economy, to activities of the particular agency in entering new markets or writing a different grade of business. Whether you are looking to sell or acquire an agency, an accurate valuation is a key component of a successful deal. From politics and global market shifts to implementing new sales activities in the hometown, Mr. Hedges understands all the factors involved and looks at growth, profitability, and risk factors within a local and a global framework to arrive at a defensible value based on objective, reasonable grounds.
Bad faith claims most often center around the question as to whether a company unlawfully or unreasonably withheld payment of benefits. Bad faith claims also arise in the arena of third party claims, regarding either refusal to defend or refusal to settle. Failure to investigate a claim properly, or undue delay in processing a claim, can also be grounds for a bad faith claim.
The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing underlying bad faith claims contains both subjective and objective standards. For this reason, a thorough evaluation of a given instance requires years of first-hand experience in similar situations. In providing litigation support, Mr. Hedges draws on more than 30 years working in every aspect of the insurance industry that has given him a comprehensive understanding of the issues at play in bad faith claims.
For expert testimony or other litigation support with your insurance-related case, contact Southern Insurance Consulting today.