April 2020

Helping Clients Navigate COVID-19 Legal Uncertainties

Helping Clients Navigate COVID-19 Legal Uncertainties

It can be tough to stay on top of everything that is happening in our communities, and there is no denying COVID-19 will continue to have an unprecedented impact on families and small businesses for the foreseeable future. The uncertainty this creates results in legal questions, which DAS is helping clients better understand and navigate.

Since mid-March, we have seen an over 10% increase in Legal Helpline call volumes. Each call has also been longer in length, especially in relation to questions regarding contract and employment law. Working from home, and with wait times a bit longer than normal, our Helpline Lawyers have been diligent in assisting clients to better understand their rights, and feel more confident during these difficult times. We strongly encourage our broker and insurer partners to advise their DAS-insured clients to call the Legal Helpline whenever they have a current or potential legal issue arising from the pandemic.

In addition to increased Legal Helpline call volumes, we have also seen a 6% increase in claims submissions since the pandemic’s start. This too has been largely driven by potential contract or employment disputes, resulting from the impact of social distancing orders on the delivery of goods or services and the need for on-site staff. As always, the determination of the required level of reasonable prospects is one of the keys to coverage for legal expenses. This is impacted by both existing and emergency legislation requirements and common law precedents.

Our civil court systems, already strained pre-lockdown, will also face a significant backlog of cases when it fully reopens. We expect that a resolution of DAS-accepted claims requiring civil litigation and judicial management will take longer to resolve. However, our Claims Analysts are empowered to and skilled with trying to negotiate a client-agreed claim resolution between parties. This proactive process has historically on average reduced the time to resolution of a claim covered under a DAS insurance policy by 30%, which helps reduce the stress on both our clients and our legal system.

The entire DAS team would like to acknowledge and thank all of our business partners for their strength during the COVID crisis, and for going the distance to meet the needs of their clients in these unprecedented circumstances. Transitioning an organization and culture to entirely work from home within a matter of days is not easy, but it is a challenge the entire insurance community has embraced. Our staff has adjusted like yours, and are here for you to help with client and business partner inquiries. As legal risk exposure is both heightened and changing during these times, we continue to embrace our mission to ensure that these risks are well managed and our clients have access to justice.

Posted: 4/21/2020 2:04:06 PM by Alexandrea Sharpe

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