Hepler Broom, LLC

Illinois Insurance Law: Discovery of an Insurance Company’s Handling of Prior, Unrelated Claims

April 5, 2017

In insurance coverage litigation, does an insurance company have to identify and produce documents regarding the company’s handling of prior unrelated claims?

Insurance companies often object to such requests on the grounds that they are irrelevant, overly broad, unduly burdensome, and even protected by a privilege. In the Illinois Appellate Court Fifth District’s recent decision in Zagorski v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2016 IL App (5th) 140056, however, the appellate court rather emphatically held that the insured could seek such discovery, at least under the facts and circumstances of that particular fire loss claim. In so doing, the Fifth District expanded the scope of the discovery in insurance law cases by holding that, in some instances, an insurer’s conduct in unrelated claims can provide evidentiary support for a vexatious refusal to pay claim under 215 ILCS 5/155. It also put carriers on notice that any future challenges to such written discovery will need to be well supported by the record.

In their recently published article in the IDC Quarterly, HeplerBroom insurance law attorneys Michael L. Young and Katie E. Jacobi discuss the Fifth District’s holding in Zagorski, its limitations, and possible approaches by insurance carriers in response to it. The full article is available here.

COVID-19 Updates

HeplerBroom LLC COVID-19 Response

HeplerBroom has been diligently working on its response and continuity plan to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our clients as our top priority.

To help ensure everyone’s continued health and well-being, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all attorneys and staff will be working remotely until March 31. This is an unprecedented and dynamic situation, and HeplerBroom is committed to observing governmental suggestions and requirements concerning public health while continuing to provide legal service second to none.

To ensure this, the firm has identified essential personnel in each office who will make certain that critical firm functions that cannot be done remotely continue to be handled. We have put in place protocol for those essential personnel to make sure they are keeping healthy per the CDC cleaning and sanitizing recommendations. All teams have back-up personnel and procedures that we will follow to make sure all deadlines are met and clients receive the same great service and work product that we have always been proud to provide.

HeplerBroom’s IT department has been working hard to make sure all remote employees are set up with equipment and access from home to limit disruption to our clients. Maintaining security and confidentiality has remained, and will continue to remain, at the forefront of all processes and procedures, at all levels throughout the firm.

The firm has created emergency communication measures to communicate any changes to this plan to employees and are communicating on a regular basis with any and all new resources and helpful information during this uncertain time.

During these fluid and unpredictable times, HeplerBroom will continue its commitment to great service and results for our clients, all while keeping safe and healthy.

Wishing you and your families good health.