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Welcome to the Inside Insight podcast presented by CR Solutions. At Consolidated Risk Solutions, we are taking our expert knowledge of the insurance world and using it to innovate the industry using technology, groundbreaking thinking and a personal touch. Join us as we talk to masterminds both inside and outside of CR Solutions about how the world of insurance is changing, and how we can be sure to grow along with it. If you have to manage insurance in your work, then you can benefit from the interviews, conversations and insights we’ll be exploring to elevate your business’s success.


INTRO (00:42 – 04:29)

Trevor Casey: We’re back again. Special episode. We have a guest host. Hi, Amy.

Amy Lamb: Hi. I am not going to sing, but “Hi”.

Beau Lunceford: So fired immediately from this job. So we have Amy here, especially because Amy was a part of this conversation that we had that you’re getting ready to hear today. And Trevor and I really took a backseat on this because honestly, this is not our area of expertise. This is not where we’re ready to get into the details in the trenches of this conversation. But as we all know, Amy is a Residential Insurance, I don’t want to say expert, because I feel like there’s probably some legal.

Amy Lamb: It’s nerd. I’m just a Resident Insurance nerd and I own it and with a badge of honor.

Beau Lunceford: And you are a cut above the rest, honestly. We see that in our office. We see that in this conversation. So, Amy, without giving really anything away, tell us a little about this conversation that you had. Tell us a little bit about who we’re talking to. Give us the highlights.

Amy Lamb: So I have had the privilege of knowing Theresa on and off for probably the last seven years. And just with different projects we’ve worked on or just advice if we’re looking at a specific policy, because they are the experts in our industry when it comes to the reviews and their attorneys. And they are incredible in what they do, and they specifically specialize in everything construction. So just to be able to talk to her and highlight not only her knowledge, but her amazing personality and just zest for life, it’s just a really cool little piece where you get to know a lot about her and just her passion for what she does and why she does it.

Beau Lunceford: And it’s so funny that you use the word passion because that’s one of the things that Trevor and I have been saying a lot about the guests that we have lined up for season two, is that the unifying trait they all have is that they are incredibly passionate about what they do. So I’m excited to hear what that sounds like. Trevor, tell us a little bit about who Theresa is and who we’re really interviewing today.

Trevor Casey: Theresa Guertin is a Partner in the SDV Law offices. She was a former Managing Partner of the Northeast Office as well as a member of the management committee. She has spent her entire career advocating on behalf of policyholders on issues involving all lines of coverage, focusing on giving her clients the most current and practical perspective of the risk management issues they encounter. In addition, she has extensive expertise in developing and rewriting insurance procurement language to meet the changing demands of the insurance and construction industries. Further, she frequently works with contractors and broker clients to identify potential deficiencies and policies before they are issued and assist in the negotiation of more favorable terms at policy renewal. Additionally, Theresa has an active litigation practice representing clients and claims for coverage in a diverse array of matters, including property damage, bodily injury related to mold and asbestos, directors and officers, and professional liability claims, environmental, employee disputes, and construction defects. Theresa has been named as a super lawyer, rising star for seven consecutive years, and is currently the chair of the Insurance Law Section of the Connecticut Bar association. She is a member of the firm’s executive committee and also serves on its philanthropic committee.

Amy Lamb: The other fun thing about Theresa, and we touched on the interview, but I feel like we just need to call it out one more time, is that she is the first female managing partner at SDV.

Beau Lunceford: Oh, wow. That’s amazing.

Amy Lamb: So she’s a powerhouse in general, but I love the fact that she’s a powerhouse woman.

Beau Lunceford: Oh, yeah. We’re really big on elevating women’s voices in leadership. So that’s really exciting to hear.

Amy Lamb: She’s phenomenal.

Beau Lunceford: So without any ado, let’s go ahead and jump into this conversation with Theresa at SDV Law.


Interview (04:32 – 21:19)

Trevor Casey: All right, everybody, welcome back to another episode of the Inside Insight podcast. I am pleased to announce today that we actually have a guest host, a voice that you have heard before on the podcast, Amy Lamb. Amy, how are you today?

Amy Lamb: I’m doing good, Trevor. How are you?

Trevor Casey: I cannot complain. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this today. Our esteemed guest is one that is so above my knowledge level. I said, you know what? Let’s bring somebody else in that really can talk the nitty gritty. And Beau and I were like, who else but Amy? And, with that, Amy, I’m going to pass it over to you and let you introduce our awesome guest for today.

Amy Lamb: All right. Thanks, Trevor. I was really excited to have this opportunity to host today because I’ve had the pleasure of working with this phenomenal woman on and off for the last seven years. So without any more pauses or waits, I am happy to introduce Theresa Guertin with SDV Law. So, Theresa, for those of our listeners that haven’t known you as long as I have, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came into this industry.

Theresa Guertin: Sure. Thanks, Amy. I’m really happy to be here, and I’m happy that you’re the one interviewing me because it’s been a pleasure working with you and CR Solutions for many years. So I went to law school right out of college, so I was pretty young when I got out of law school and sort of fell into this job. There’s a process that all law students are familiar with called on campus interviews, where you come back to school in the fall of your second year of law school, and you interview with a bunch of different employers, desperately hoping to get a job. At the time, it was right about the recession. So I was definitely just like, “Please, God, someone hire me. I need a job to pay off these massive student loans.” And I really hit it off with the attorney that interviewed me from SDV. And lo and behold, I discovered working there over the summer. I just loved this type of work. It’s very intellectual work. Insurance coverage is all my law firm does. And we’re sort of unique because instead of being sort of a small department within a larger law firm, we’re really just one law firm that only does insurance. So it’s been really cool to do this type of work at this place where everybody speaks the same language and it can be a really rewarding career, I will say that.

Amy Lamb: I often make a joke in our office that insurance in itself is a second language. So we value the expertise that you bring to this industry every day. I know every once in a while, you get an email from me that says, phone a friend. I need help with this endorsement.

Theresa Guertin: Those are my favorite emails, Amy.

Amy Lamb: Well, I’m glad I challenge you. So what are some of the primary responsibilities right now and some of the challenges that you see for coverage attorneys in this industry?

Theresa Guertin: Sure. So what I think is really hard sometimes for coverage attorneys like me is that we often get a problem many, many years after a policy has been placed, something that’s being litigated. It’s generally being litigated three or four years after some sort of accident or damage has occurred, because a lot of times people wait until the statute of limitations is almost up, so sometimes it could be as long as six or even ten years after something has happened, and then you even have to go back further because obviously the policy that’s in play was placed before that. So it can be kind of like archaeology a little bit, because you’re looking at policies that are much older than what’s coming out now, and you’re having to think about what the intent of the parties at the time, what was in play at the time, and all of those different issues. So that’s really hard. What I think is cool about what SDV does is that we often see things on the front end too. We work with you guys, we work with a lot of brokers throughout the country to look at policies as they’re getting placed. So we see language now and try to adjust it now in the hopes that in ten years we won’t be litigating it because it’s clearer essentially.

Amy Lamb: I feel like there’s a huge shift in our industry right now to playing offense with insurance versus defense. Because as you said, with claims, sometimes you’re going back three, 5610 years to try to figure out what coverage’s apply.

Theresa Guertin: 100% totally.

Amy Lamb: So how do you all stay up to date with the ever evolving landscape of insurance in general? I always say it changes on a day to day basis, but how do you all stay up to date and give all of these amazing deliverables and references on your website that basically pretty much everybody that I know that works in this field utilizes.

Theresa Guertin: Well, thanks. I’m glad to hear that. We work really hard on our content and trying to keep it up to date. There’s a lot of different resources that we pull from. There’s legal databases, there’s legal news sites that we look at So we’re seeing alerts on cases that are being either decided or settled, almost in real time within a couple of days. I’d say though, the biggest thing for me that keeps me on the cutting edge is my work with the subcontractor insurance review programs, or SIRP for short, which is our cute little acronym.

Amy Lamb: I was going to say, we love a good acronym.

Theresa Guertin: Insurance industry loves the acronyms. So in that program, the team of attorneys that I work with, we all look at subcontractor insurance policies, and that’s the newest stuff that’s out there. Those are the newest AI endorsements or the newest modifications to access policies or things like that, so that’s one way I really stay on top of what’s going on in the market is just see lots and lots of policies as they’re coming out.

Amy Lamb: Have you seen anything recently that has impacted, like your practice or how y’all are reviewing these? Like, is there a new problematic form or language out there or anything like that that comes to mind?

Theresa Guertin: It keeps us busy daily. I’m still always surprised at how much insurance companies love to tinker with AI endorsements. It’s like there’s a few really good forms out there that ISO has put out, and yet the carriers love to change a word here or word there and then slap their own form number on it. And it’s just a constant battle figuring out, “Oh, why did they change this one word or these or this one phrase?”

Amy Lamb: Why did the comma become a period or the period become a comma all of a sudden?

Theresa Guertin: Because you never know. Like, I guess as lawyers were trained to be really risk averse or like we’re looking for, what could the possible bad outcome be? So if you’re going to make a change, there’s gotta be a reason for a change. And then I’m trying to sort out, what would that reason be? I think nine times out of ten, there might not really be a good reason. It’s just somebody somewhere felt like putting their own stamp on it.

Amy Lamb: So when you come to those forms, and I know your reviews go so much more in depth. While I am an insurance nerd, I look at you all as the gurus. When you’re collaborating with these brokers, do you find yourself more and more often going to the underwriter and trying to figure out why they wrote the policy that way? And what are some other great tools when you’re trying to resolve these coverage issues?

Theresa Guertin: I’d say on the front end, when we’re looking at policies on a consultation basis, like for the SIRP program, we do sometimes speak to the underwriters, sometimes they don’t really want to talk to us, which I can understand because maybe they’re getting inundated with calls and they don’t want to explain everything or they’re concerned about representations. They don’t want to put something in writing that might contradict what the policy says. And I get that, but we try to have a conversation with them. Brokers are a great resource. A lot of them have seen things over and over again. So we go to them. Beyond that, what other tools, it’s state filings. There carriers, at least admitted carriers, will have to file something with the insurance department. I often find that very helpful because it might explain why they’ve changed a form from what it used to be to what it is now, so that can be really useful or sometimes circulars. Like, I know my favorite. This is kind of like an anecdote. Probably six or seven years ago, travelers put out their own AI endorsement.

Amy Lamb: I’m familiar with many of those.

Theresa Guertin: And it’s labeled blanket additional insured endorsement which sounds great. And it says it includes products completed operations. But if you read it, it’s got a much more narrow trigger in it than the ISO endorsement. And when it first came out, I had a ton of people, brokers in particular, saying this is equivalent to the ISO CG 2010 or ISO CG 2037. But travelers themselves had put out a circular that they had attached to their policies that first year that said, “This is not equivalent to the CG 2010. This is a change, this is a different form.” Like, don’t quote me exactly on that, but that is the gist of it. So I found myself using that quite a bit at first to say this is the reason why I’m saying it’s not the same thing and that we would like you to go back and get an equivalent form that blew people’s minds a lot.

Amy Lamb: I completely understand that. And thankfully, travelers is a phenomenal carrier to work with. When you do get to the point that you need a revision, they are always open to sitting down and having that conversation to figure out what works best with the contract at hand and how they can make it as equivalent or equal as possible to get that coverage where it needs to be.

Theresa Guertin: Yes, I found actually travelers are really great to work with. You might need to ask for things here or there, but they will offer many different types of forms. A lot of carriers are like that. Honestly, I feel like the people in the underwriting departments and the producers they want to provide good policies. Sometimes where we run into issues, I really think it’s on the claim side, and more and more, I’m really seeing that it’s because of lack of experience of the claims adjusters. Like, we’ve heard about this at conferences where sort of the old guard is retiring out and there’s new people coming up and there’s just a lack of training. So we’ve seen some really wild denials lately, and that’s the only thing I can think. I’m like, maybe this is just a new adjuster. I don’t know what’s going on.

Amy Lamb: And I think that goes back to the collaboration point of when you do have to have those courageous conversations or tough conversations of making sure that you’re getting in touch with the right person within that organization, whether it’s the broker or the underwriter or maybe a claims adjuster in that scenario, like just making sure that you’re talking to the right people and you have all of the right minds.

Theresa Guertin: Absolutely. And I think that’s another thing that SDV tries to do strenuously, is when people come to us with a problem on a claim, we’re not quick to file litigation. We want to find a way to resolve it before you file suit, because once you file suit, you’re in it. Now you’re looking at years of litigation, and I’m taking a $1,000.

Amy Lamb: You can’t take it back.

Theresa Guertin: Yeah, you can’t take it back. So we often try to get decision makers from the carrier involved, and we use our broker friends to help us do that because they have their relationships. So sometimes that’s really good for cutting through difficult denials or claim situations is like, let’s all just get in a room and talk business people about this claim.

Amy Lamb: And, obviously, if you can resolve it through mediation, it’s a lot easier than going to court and spending years and years and years and lots and lots of money trying to figure it out.

Theresa Guertin: I think people don’t realize how complicated coverage litigation is and how there’s no quick coverage litigation. It’s always going to take multiple years and a lot of effort.

Amy Lamb: And I think that’s one of the big common misconceptions in our industry, especially for people who are just now getting into it. And as you said, as the old guard was retiring and the new is coming in, they don’t realize what a lengthy process this can be.

Theresa Guertin: For sure. I mean, I have cases now that I have had for ten years. I’ve been with the firm for 16 years. I have cases that I got when I walked in the door. So they’re not quick.

Amy Lamb: They’re not quick at all. Well, is there anything else about SDV that you want to talk about or bring light to? I know one of my favorite things that I had the pleasure of attending this year at IRMI is the women’s happy hour that you hast every year. So that’s just something that is a really fun event. If y’all are at IRMI, I would highly suggest looking into it because it is a great party.

Theresa Guertin: Thank you. That started as just kind of a little thing. I was started going to IRMI probably eight years ago, and I kept meeting all these wonderful women in the industry, and there wasn’t really anything specific for women. And it really started as a group of us, “Hey, let’s just go get dinner”, and maybe see a show or something. And probably six or seven of us hung out, including Jen from your office and a few others. And we just had a good time. And then the next year, I was like, let’s make this better. Like, let’s make it bigger. And I kind of rented a space and invited a whole bunch of people, and then it just took off from there. And I’m really happy with it and proud of it because I just feel like now we’re seeing more space for women at IRMI in general. And there’s a lot of us in this industry, but there are sometimes you wouldn’t know that to look at the panels or to look at just what’s out there as far as events and stuff. No disrespect to IRMI at all. I love the people that run the conference. They’re wonderful. I just mean, as far as women’s events, you don’t see that as much.

Amy Lamb: Well, I appreciate you taking charge on that and making it what it is now. Again, it was one of my favorite parts of IRMI last year, and I look forward to hopefully going to it in many years to come.

Theresa Guertin: Thank you.

Amy Lamb: All right, thank you so much for joining us today. It has been an absolute pleasure again working with you on and off for the last seven years, and I’m being able to interview you today. So with that, I’m going to turn it back over to Trevor.

Trevor Casey: Wow. Thank you ladies. Beau, that was incredible. And I love just hearing about all of the nuances of SDV. Everybody seems to just eat up all of the content that comes out from you guys directly, as well as any webinars that you’re included in, podcasts that you’re included in. I know the one that we did with Will was highly well received and got a lot of really nice reviews. So we really appreciate it. If anybody has any questions for Theresa or SDV or wants to just learn a little bit more, we’ll put some contact information and some additional notes in the show notes of this podcast so that you can reach out to them. We hope that you engage with SDV. They’re an incredible resource in the industry. Theresa in particular is so knowledgeable, and we are just so happy that she was able to join us. So thank you again, ladies, and we will see you on the next episode.

Theresa Guertin: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Amy Lamb: Thanks, Trevor. And thank you, Theresa.


OUTRO (21:23 – 22:36)

Trevor Casey: Again, I am so thankful I’m not a lawyer. I’ve been saying that after every time we interview a lawyer and it remains true.

Beau Lunceford: Well, nothing has changed. These people are still smarter than us, and they are just so incredibly intelligent just by themselves they kind of things they have to deal with on a regular basis, I would not put on either of our shoulders. So, Amy, the conversation has happened. People have now heard it. What are your thoughts?

Amy Lamb: Well, I agree with Trevor. There’s a reason I stopped at paralegal. But it’s just I look forward to many more conversations with Theresa. I feel like we opened a really fun can of worms on things that we can call more attention to in our industry and just be able to relate to people in general. And I’m so happy that she got a spot to share her voice.

Beau Lunceford: Wonderful. Well, guys, this has been a really great conversation. I’m so glad that you’ve stuck around for it. Amy, thank you again for stepping in to help us to introduce this episode as well as really lead it and just guide people through this conversation.

Amy Lamb: Anything for my two favorite podcasters.

Trevor Casey: All right, thank you again, Theresa, and we hope to catch you guys on the next time. Until next time, stay covered.



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Listen to the full episode here!