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Reptilian Tactics in First-Party Insurance Litigation: Lessons for Insurers

Responding to Reptile Techniques During Discovery, Deposition, Voir Dire, Opening Statement, Cross-Examination, Closing Argument

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, February 6, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will offer trial strategies and best practices insurers can apply to neutralize an insured's use of "reptile" theory and tactics in first-party insurance litigation. The panel will also address what to do if the court overrules insurer challenges to reptile tactics and how to preserve the issues for appeal.


The reptile theory has become a mainstay among practitioners in the areas of personal injury and products liability. Increasingly, though, counsel for insureds are co-opting these tactics to maximize recovery in first-party insurance cases, especially with allegations of bad faith.

Critical to the strategy's success is an insured's counsel gaining essential admissions during the testimony of adjusters, investigators, and other witnesses handling a claim. Insurance practitioners must understand this strategy and thoroughly prepare each witness for "reptile" questions during depositions and trials. Defense attorneys must also equip insurance company witnesses with the necessary tools to respond to reptile tactics during the investigation/pre-discovery phase.

Listen as our panel of experienced insurance litigators discusses how reptile tactics are deployed in first-party insurance cases and provides critical insight into how to neutralize their impact.



  1. Overview of "reptile" theory
    1. Generally
    2. First-party insurance cases
  2. Anticipating and preparing for the reptile theory
  3. Preventing the foundations for reptile arguments during depositions
  4. Disarming reptile themes and testimony at trial
  5. Practical considerations


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • How does the application of reptile theory differ in first-party insurance cases?
  • What preemptive steps can insurers and their counsel take to combat reptile tactics?
  • What impact has the reptile theory had on insured's recoveries in first-party insurance cases?


Broda-Bahm, Ken
Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Ph.D.

Senior Litigation Consultant
Persuasion Strategies

Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm has provided research and strategic advice on several hundred cases across the country for the past...  |  Read More

Horst, Robert
Robert T. (Bob) Horst

Managing Partner
Horst Krekstein & Runyon

Mr. Horst is the Chair of the firm’s Insurance Industry Group.  He focuses on insurance coverage disputes,...  |  Read More

Lundquist, Lauren
Lauren M. Lundquist

Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan

Ms. Lundquist is an associate practicing in the areas of Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, Home Care & Hospice and...  |  Read More

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