As the pandemic continues to wind down, and with jurors finally starting to return to large metropolitan courthouses across the country, it is becoming increasingly clear that insurance carriers are not ready to handle the impending wave of litigation that is on its way.

Executive Summary

Insurance executives all too familiar with shortages of talented insurance professionals may not have realized that trial lawyers are also in short supply. Here, trial lawyer Robert Tyson explains why insurers with panels of lawyers, who have reliably responded to past crises, could find themselves defenseless to deal with the impending wave of litigation, and offers tips on how make sure they have the best trial attorneys going forward. Among the tips: communicate. "If you have excellent defense lawyers who are winning big cases for you, why not insist they share their winning techniques with your other defense lawyers?" he asks.

Do you know which trials will go first? Will there be any rhyme or reason as to which claims you have right now will be tried first? Do you have enough trial lawyers to handle each of your claims right now, or a year from now?

Unchartered, unknown and unprecedented are all perilous words for risk-averse insurance companies. The combination of an aging and dwindling population of trial lawyers, an avalanche of delayed jury trials, and the reality that nuclear verdicts—jury verdicts of $10 million or more, or those in which non-economic damages awards are disproportionate to the economic damages—appear to be getting worse during the pandemic all point to a perfect storm of litigation. (See, for example, the American Transportation Research Institute’s June 2020 report, “Understanding the Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry.”)

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