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Insurer and Policyholder Insolvency: Marshaling the Rights and Obligations of Insurers, Policyholders, Reinsurers

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with 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.

Conducted on Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will review the unique issues that counsel, for insurers, reinsurers, policyholders, or claimholders, face when either the insurer or the insured becomes insolvent. The panel will discuss the insurer's obligations when it is facing insolvency, what happens to insurers that cannot meet their obligations, and how policyholders can obtain coverage and indemnity for which they have paid. The program will also discuss the other side of the issue and what duties insurers owe policyholders and claimants when the policyholder files for bankruptcy or simply stops operating, cannot or is not allowed to assist with a defense, or cannot fund ongoing premiums.


Although the insurance industry is highly regulated, insurers do fail and often in the wake of a high volume or high value of claims. Currently, the insurance industry and legal commentators alike are warning of a tsunami of "silent" cyber and privacy claims as well as claims arising from natural disasters that many insurers are unprepared to meet.

Company-ending events must be addressed by counsel representing the insurers as well as their panel counsel and policyholder counsel seeking to be paid on claims. All parties must understand what happens when an insurer is failing and may not be able or allowed to cover claims for which premiums have been paid. Resolving open claims can take years, and a secondary market has developed for purchasing certain types of claims owed by distressed insurers, and to a lesser degree, unresolved claims. When an insurer fails, officers, directors, brokers, and others who should have advised policyholders about the health of the company can be the targets of litigation.

On the other hand, a different set of issues arises when policyholders become insolvent or file bankruptcy or even simply go out of business but leave liabilities that an insurer must defend and indemnify even if there is no one to assist with a defense.

Listen as our authoritative panel of insurance practitioners guides insurance counsel for both policyholders and insurers through complex issues arising from insurer insolvency, and the insurer's duties when claims are made against insolvent, bankrupt, or defunct insureds.



  1. Insurer insolvency
    1. Regulation and statutes
    2. Options
      1. Guaranty association
      2. Conservation
      3. Rehabilitation
      4. Liquidation
    3. Priority of claims
    4. Recovery of assets
    5. Operational issues
    6. Deepening insolvency issues
  2. Policyholder insolvency
    1. Policy issues: deductibles and self-insured retentions
    2. Statutory issues
    3. Common law issues
    4. Recent cases
    5. Best practices
    6. Practical considerations


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What state and federal laws govern insurer insolvency?
    • Which state's law applies when an insolvent insurer has operated in numerous states?
    • How does the insurer insolvency process differ from bankruptcy?
    • What are the powers and duties of the Receiver?
    • Against whom do claimants make claims when the insurer becomes insolvent?
  • What are the state guaranty associations and when is their coverage triggered
    • What will state guaranty associations pay?
  • What happens to my claim when my insurer is declared insolvent?
    • Who will handle my claim?
    • What is a proof of claim?
  • What is the role of reinsurance in insurance insolvency?
  • What happens when the policyholder is out of business?
    • What happens to the policy?
    • Must the insurer defend claims when the policyholder cannot?
    • Who should be notified of claims?Can claimants bring direct actions against an insurer if the policyholder is out of business?
    • What law governs the administration of claims?


Adolf, Jodi
Jodi M. Adolf

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Ms. Adolf is a partner within the firm’s Insurance and Corporate groups, and has focused her practice on...  |  Read More

Garbowski, Mark
Mark Garbowski

Anderson Kill

Mr. Garbowski is an attorney in the Insurance Recovery group in Anderson Kill's New York office. His practice...  |  Read More

Quick, Dana
Dana R. Quick

Bast Amron

Ms. Quick practices in the area of insolvency and commercial litigation. Her experience includes prosecuting director...  |  Read More

Schiffer, Larry
Larry P. Schiffer

Schiffer Law & Consulting

After practicing in New York City law firms since 1982, Mr. Schiffer recently launched an independent legal,...  |  Read More

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