Jim Leonard of Barnes & Thornburg's Atlanta office presented to the national ABA TIPS 22nd Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Midyear Program. He spoke on the topic of "Converting Legacy Insurance Policies to Cash" along with Stanley Richards of Georgia-Pacific, who helped to address the complex issues associated with making insurance claims for long-tail liabilities. Identifying and locating insurance policies dating back decades can be challenging; but insurance archaeology specialists are experienced with reconstructing a company's legacy insurance program from related and often-overlooked secondary sources. Converting those old policies to cash requires true "detective" work. Companies with significant long-tail exposures such as asbestos, pollution, and environmental claims should evaluate their insurance coverage available through ancient policies issued to corporate predecessors in an effort to obtain the benefits for which they originally bargained. The program's description stated:
CONVERTING LEGACY INSURANCE POLICIES TO CASH This panel will be focused on the challenges for policyholders with long-tail claims who have encountered difficulties in identifying, locating, and proving their predecessor or historic legacy insurance policies. The panelists will discuss the nuts and bolts of where to look for historic policy information, and challenges to proof of policy terms and conditions. Insurer counsel will discuss their challenges when legacy claims are made, record-keeping and reserve issues, and the types of defenses available to insurers who face claims involving incomplete policy information. Many historic policy forms had few or no relevant exclusions, which poses problems for the carriers.