Insurance and the Tripartite Relationship: Conflicts of Interests and Right to Independent Counsel

Identifying, Avoiding and Resolving Conflicts When the Parties' Interests Diverge

*** This program has been cancelled ***

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 (in 2 days)
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

This CLE webinar will provide insurance counsel with a briefing on the rules governing the tripartite relationship between the insured, insurer and insurance defense counsel. The panel will discuss key situations in which conflicts of interest between the parties arise, when the insured would be entitled to independent counsel, and best practices for avoiding and resolving conflicts of interest.


One of the primary concerns facing insurance defense counsel is the tripartite relationship between the attorney, the insurance company and the policyholder. The dual-client dilemma facing defense counsel arises when the interests of the policyholder and insurer are not aligned.

Complicating matters for all parties involved is that rules regarding the tripartite relationship are inconsistent among jurisdictions and in some jurisdictions, still developing.

Independent counsel may be warranted if a conflict of interest exists with a reservation-of-rights defense or other conflicts arising from multiple-claims lawsuits and damages in excess of policy coverage. Defining a conflict is often hotly contested.

Listen as our authoritative panel of litigators examines the conflicts of interest facing defense counsel, insurer and the insured. The panel will focus on the coverage implications of the tripartite relationship, how the courts address the issues, the insured’s right to independent counsel, and strategies for navigating the potential inherent conflicts of interest.


  1. Rules covering the tripartite relationship
  2. Situations in which conflicts frequently arise
    1. Verdict in excess of policy limits
    2. Potential for punitive damages
    3. High deductible or SIRs
    4. Insured resists settlement
    5. Insurer restricts defense efforts/expenses
    6. Insurer defends under reservation of rights or seeks reimbursement of defense costs
  3. Conflicts giving rise to insured’s right to independent counsel
  4. Practice pointers for avoiding or resolving conflicts


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What steps can counsel take to identify the conflicts of interest that arise as a result of the tripartite relationship?
  • How is coverage impacted by the tripartite relationship?
  • What strategies can counsel employ to avoid conflicts of interest resulting from the tripartite relationship?
  • What situations trigger the insured’s right to independent counsel?


Matthew P. Keris, Shareholder
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Moosic, Pa.

Mr. Keris defends doctors, physician groups, hospitals and regional health centers in medical malpractice cases. He is a frequent lecturer on risk management and medical malpractice litigation.

Paul R. Walker-Bright, Partner
Reed Smith, Chicago

Mr. Walker-Bright concentrates his practice on complex litigation and insurance recovery, primarily for large corporate policyholders. He has successfully obtained recoveries on behalf of clients under a variety of insurance policies and has represented clients of all sizes from diverse industry sectors, including public utilities, oil, transportation, news media and industrial manufacturing.

Live Webinar

Live Webinar $297.00

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This webinar is eligible for at least 1.5 general CLE credits.

CLE credits are not available for PR.

*In KS, OH, PA, for more than 1 attendee on the connection you must contact Strafford CLE via email or call 1-800-926-7926 ext. 35 prior to the program for special instructions.


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AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN*, KS, KY, LA, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH**, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH*, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

*Only available for attorneys admitted for more than two years. For OH CLE credits, only programs recorded within the current calendar year are eligible - contact the CLE department for verification.

**NH attendees must self-determine if a program is eligible for credit and self-report their attendance.

CLE On-Demand Video $297.00
Available 48 hours after the live event

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AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

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Program Materials

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CLE Credits By State

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Customer Reviews

One of the best CLEs outside my firm that I have attended in a long time. The materials and the dual perspectives were great and the comments on one another's presentations were very instructive.

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Sands Anderson Marks & Miller

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Covington & Burling

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Fineman Krekstein & Harris

I thought the content was substantive.

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Miller Thomson

The webinar provided a very thorough analysis of an area of the law I am currently navigating.

Joseph Ferino

Drinker Biddle & Reath

Insurance Law Advisory Board

John Broghammer


Greve Clifford Wengel & Paras

Tred Eyerly

Of Counsel

Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert

John D. Green


Farella Braun + Martel

Alan P. Jacobus


Law Offices of Alan Palmer Jacobus

William E. Kelley, Jr.


Drewry Simmons Vornehm

William O. Krekstein


Timoney Knox

Jay M. Levin


Reed Smith

Peter J. Mintzer


Selman Breitman

Barry S. Neuman


Whiteford Taylor Preston

Andrew G. Wanger


Clyde & Co.

Britton D. Weimer


Jones Satre & Weimer

Sandra I. Weishart


Hinshaw & Culbertson

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