Interested in training for your team? Click here to learn more

Control of the Defense When Insurer Has Issued an ROR: Insurer v. Policyholder Rights

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide policyholders, insurers, and their counsel with an understanding of the critical issues that affect the insurer's right to control the defense when defending under a reservation of rights (ROR), how the issues are addressed by different state laws and courts, and strategies and best practices for both policyholder and insurer.


If the duty to defend is triggered, the insurance company has both the “right and duty” to defend, but what does that mean when the insurer issues a ROR? Defense of a lawsuit requires selection of counsel and then making all the strategic and practical decisions about what defenses to assert, how much to spend at every stage of the case, and when and how to settle or try the case. Under some circumstances, however, the insurance company can waive or lose its right to control the defense.

When the insurance company defends under an ROR, the insurer's right to control the defense may be lost in whole or in part. Even if the policyholder is allowed to choose its own counsel, the policy may impose limits on fees. Before issuing an ROR, the insurance company must consider whether the right to control the defense and the related costs is more important than defending non-covered claims.

Listen as our panel of policyholder and insurer counsel discusses the critical issues that counsel must consider when the insurer agrees to provide a defense under an ROR, how different state laws and courts treat the issue, and best practices for both parties to protect their rights and resolve disputes.



  1. Insurer's right to control defense
  2. Policyholder rights when faced with a defense under ROR
  3. Insurer duties when defending under a ROR
  4. Strategies for insurers
  5. Strategies for policyholders


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is the difference between the duty to defend and the duty to advance?
  • Does an insurer lose its right to control the defense of its insured if it fails to provide the insured with a defense immediately after its duty to defend is triggered?
  • What happens if the insurance company denies a defense and then changes its mind after separate counsel is selected?
  • When does the policyholder have a right to independent counsel and what does that mean?


Bertschi, Scott
Scott F. Bertschi

Clyde & Co US

Mr. Bertschi focuses his practice on insurance coverage, professional liability defense and data breach response. He...  |  Read More

Bruns, Colin
Colin M. Bruns

Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson

Mr. Bruns practice areas include Construction, Commercial Litigation, Mechanic’s Lien and Bond Claims,...  |  Read More

Edwards, Charles
Charles P. Edwards

Barnes & Thornburg

Mr. Edwards is a seasoned trial lawyer and insurance claim advocate who is co-chair of the firm’s Insurance...  |  Read More

Attend on June 4

Cannot Attend June 4?

You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video