Travelers Surety Claim Counsel in Kansas City, Missouri
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Job Description Summary
Under moderate supervision, fulfill Bond & Specialty Insurance (Bond) Claims mission by conducting thorough investigation, analysis, evaluation and disposition of claims to achieve superior customer service and claim results at the most reasonable cost. Interact with, collaborate with, and provide legal advice and transactional support to claim and underwriting colleagues.
Effectively manage all assigned Bond claims, typically of moderate severity or complexity, including payment bond, performance bonds, bid bonds and maintenance/warranty bonds.
This job does not manage others.
Primary Job Duties & Responsibilities
Claim Handling Responsibilities:
Within authority limit, thoroughly analyze, investigate, negotiate and resolve moderate severity Bond claims with moderate supervision by claims management.
Make appropriate decisions within own claim authority and make appropriate recommendations to management when necessary.
Follow operational policies and procedures, including compliance, regulatory and Bond performance and customer service standards.
Maintain accurate documentation/information in claim file and Bond Claim Management System (BCMS) and adhere to Claim documentation standards (i.e. coverage analysis, reserve and settlement rationale, current diary).
Prepare reports (i.e., Large Loss Memos, quarterly claim, EC, trial, class action) to management which accurately reflect loss development, potential/actual financial exposure, coverage issues, claim and recovery strategies.
Identify and optimize pre-loss recovery opportunities through identification of potential sources of recovery, to include potential responsible party,
co-conspirators, beneficiaries and any third parties (Accountants and Banking Institutions,
Scrap Yards, Employment Agencies, E&O, or other insurance, etc.).
Identify all recovery opportunities and coordinate recovery efforts with the Recovery Management Unit and claims management.
Within authority limit, retain, monitor, manage and approve payments to outside counsel on routine litigation matters, actively utilizing litigation management plans and budgets. Guidance is needed for non-routine litigation.
Solicit input and guidance from management when resolving claims which are beyond authority level. Communicate reserve adjustments to underwriting.
Assist/mentor less experienced colleagues in claim resolutions.
Represent Surety Claim in claim strategic initiatives (or lead team); lead Surety Claim strategic initiatives.
LEGAL SUPPORT RESPONSIBILITIES:
Answer legal questions posed by underwriters that impact underwriting decisions, combining legal research with knowledge gained based on experience handling claims.
Advise underwriters regarding the legal effect of bond and policy language and the extent of coverage.
Answer legal questions posed by non-lawyer claim professionals to assist them in determining the legal standards applicable to claim handling and claim decisions.
Maintain an active license in the state of your principal office location and remain current with all CLE credits.
Recovery Management specific:
Participate in drafting/reviewing more complex recovery settlement agreements and releases modifying recovery policy provisions.
Research, analyze and provide advice on more complex recovery matters.
Review contracts, licenses and permits that Company’s surety clients request to be bonded and provide legal advice to underwriters concerning the risks presented in guaranteeing the contracts.
Advise underwriters as to the legal effects of contracts for which accounts have or may seek bonds in order to assist the underwriters in providing risk mitigation advice to accounts.
Determine when exposure to loss as a matter of law on bonds has expired for the purpose of releasing collateral, including reviewing and monitoring court dockets to determine whether release of liability is sufficiently documented.
Review status and formation documents of the legal entities comprising surety accounts to advise underwriters how to successfully bind the parts of the account enterprise to indemnity and other agreements with the Company.
TRANSACTIONAL WORK AND NEGOTIATION:
Reviewing and drafting releases and settlement agreements, including confidentiality and no disclosure provisions, for sufficiency, and drafting same for direct handled matters. Advise non-attorney claim professionals on the same.
Negotiate settlements/resolutions directly or via counsel using legal arguments relevant to liability, damages, and coverage.
Modify terms of indemnity agreements to meet needs of underwriters and accounts while still protecting the Company’s interests. Draft riders and other modifications to indemnity agreements.
Review accounts’ trusts to determine whether the trustees have the power to bind the assets of the trusts to an indemnity agreement with the Company. Draft trust amendments where necessary and possible to allow trusts to indemnify.
With guidance, draft and modify takeover agreements, completion agreements, subcontractor ratification agreements, and any other documents necessary to mitigate risk and discharge the Company’s bond obligations concerning the takeover and completion of construction projects.
With guidance, draft and modify financing and collateral agreements to assist troubled accounts to discharge bonded obligations and/or secure assets that may be needed to recover the Company’s anticipated losses on bonds.
Review documents pertaining to mergers, equity sales and asset sales to determine the legal status and ownership of indemnitors undergoing a change of control. Draft and negotiate appropriate agreements to document indemnity changes related to such transactions.
Monitor account bankruptcy proceedings and document new or assumed indemnity if available. Draft and file proofs of claim and advise as to potential recovery. Assist with the negotiation of debtor in possession surety facilities.
Negotiate the terms under which the Company will complete or procure completion of defaulted construction projects.
Negotiate collateral arrangements with troubled accounts.
Negotiate terms of indemnity to be provided to the Company to support the issuance of bonds.
Negotiate changes to irrevocable letter of credit forms with commercial banks.
Negotiate changes to set aside letters from lenders.
Review and negotiate Intercreditor agreements and subordination agreements with other creditors of the account on behalf of underwriting and as part of a workout arrangement to mitigate claim exposure. As part of this work, advise as to the sureties rights in relation to secured creditors of the account.
LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING:
Draft reference materials to assist claim and underwriting colleagues in understanding the law that impacts the Company’s underwriting and claim decisions, such as 50 state surveys and white papers.
Based on knowledge of evolving contract terms, trends, and conditions in the marketplace gained from claim handling and legal advice to underwriters, advise management of trends that may impact future losses; prepare and deliver presentations on the same to management and claim and underwriting staff.
Author and /or edit legal treatises/articles (including seminar materials) concerning bond claims in connection with outside organizations such as the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section.
Legal Research – case law, opinions, statutes, regulations and the like as needed for claim and coverage matters.
Draft or review and revise memos and alerts assessing law, statutes and regulations.
Review and revise draft motion papers, briefs, and mediation/settlement statements from counsel.
Review documents for production in discovery for coverage actions.
Bachelors degree required.
Juris doctorate degree required.
Properly licensed, registered or authorized, and in good standing, to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you will be working.
Education, Work Experience, & Knowledge
3-5 years of general legal or claim handling work experience preferred.
3-5 years of surety claim handling, construction claim/litigation or other related experience strongly preferred
Maintain license to practice law in the state of your principal office location and remain current with all CLE credits.
Licensing or Certificates
- Maintain all necessary active adjusters licenses and remain current with all CE credit requirements.
Job Specific Technical Skills & Competencies
Able to use negotiation skills and strategies within a litigation and non-litigation context.
Within designated authority limit, able to make decisions and negotiate terms and conditions consistent with Bond standards.
Able to communicate effectively through writing.
Able to communicate legal advice to underwriters and management independently and/or with input from manager.
Proficient in drafting transactional documents.
Can effectively work through conflict and resolve issues with a professional demeanor.
Environmental / Work Schedules / Other
Operates standard office equipment.
Requires extended periods of computer use.
Requires extended periods of sitting.
Travel Requirements: Travel Occasionally
Travelers is an equal opportunity employer. We value the unique abilities and talents each individual brings to our organization and recognize that we benefit in numerous ways from our differences.
If you have questions regarding the physical requirements of this role, please send us an email so we may assist you.
Travelers reserves the right to fill this position at a level above or below the level included in this posting.