Reptilian Tactics: Litigating First-Party Insurance Cases

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

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, September 9, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will guide insurance counsel on applying the "reptile theory" in first-party insurance cases. Our panel will explore tactics used by counsel for insureds to leverage this litigation strategy and steps insurers can take to neutralize them effectively. The panel will also discuss considerations in preserving for appellate review any challenges to using the reptile theory.


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 in connection 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 involved in handling a claim. Insurance practitioners must understand this strategy and thoroughly prepare each witness for "reptile" questions during depositions and trial. 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 being deployed in first-party insurance cases and provides critical insight on 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?


Gurries, Alicia
Alicia Gurries

Cozen O'Connor

Ms. Gurries is experienced in handling business and construction defect litigation, subrogation and contribution...  |  Read More

Meyer, Cassandra
Cassandra V. Meyer

Senior Member
The Cavanagh Law Firm

Ms. Meyer concentrates her practice on litigation and insurance coverage. She has a diverse litigation practice,...  |  Read More

Wright, Robert
Robert H. Wright

Horvitz & Levy

Mr. Wright handles appeals and writs covering a broad range of substantive law, including tort liability and damages,...  |  Read More

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