Panel counsel for The Hartford may want to review the currently posted litigation guidelines, if they have not done so recently. Some new provisions have been posted to The Hartford’s website, a few of which appear below.
A primary changes appears to be in regard to cybersecurity concerns. Panel counsel members that identify any type of internal data theft or cybersecurity breach now are subject to a notification requirement. Law firms are increasingly being targeted by hackers in search of confidential data, as we noted in an earlier blog post titled “Cybersecurity Insurance and Law Firms.”
Protecting Confidential Information
The following new provision is added:
Notify The Hartford, as promptly as practicable, upon discovery of any breach of the security or confidentiality of the Information (“Breach”) and provide The Hartford all necessary information to enable it to evaluate its potential rights, obligations, remedies, and security precautions, as soon as you can collect this information or it otherwise becomes available, and upon The Hartford’s request. Counsel shall take immediate action upon discovery of any Breach to investigate and to communicate the results of the investigation to The Hartford and to identify, prevent, and mitigate the effects of the Breach.
Billing Frequency and Timing
A provision about cost-sharing arrangements was added:
The Hartford expects that counsel will submit legal invoices on a timely and regular basis, at least every 90 days starting from the time of assignment. Monthly billing is not permitted unless the lead carrier in a cost-share arrangement has directed otherwise. Panel Counsel will be assessed on the timeliness of legal billing
Untimely legal billing is subject to rejection.
On a related note, documentation is now required on all expense reimbursement requests.
Implications for Insurance Defense Law Firms
As always, panel members will want to pay careful attention to any changes in litigation guidelines as published by carrier clients. Some billing requirements may take time to implement, based on internal accounting capabilities and processing procedures.
In regard to cybersecurity, now might be a good time for insurance defense law firms to review their own data security policies and back up plans.
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Disclaimer on Source Material
Information from this article is collected from various industry reports. It is believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.