5 Challenges Insurance Carriers Face When Conducting Depositions

This post explores the importance of a deposition and the challenges faced by insurance companies when conducting them.

Not much has changed in the world of depositions in the last 30 years. We know that they are conducted in advance of trial. We know that it is a statement under oath and we know they are taken in writing to be used in place of spoken testimony at trial. Attorneys around the world know the ins and outs of depositions, develop their style on how to handle them, and use them to get to the truth. Since 95+% of civil lawsuits never make it to trial, the deposition is rather important in discovery.

Not much has changed pertaining to the purpose of a deposition and how they fit into the discovery phase of litigation. However, the method of capture and management of transcripts has changed, despite the slow adoption of these changes by end-users. In the last 10 years, legal software developers, service providers and court reporting agencies have introduced powerful new tools that make conducting depositions, as well as managing transcripts, easier and more efficient, which creates opportunities for both the insurance company and counsel to minimize expenses.

5 Challenges for an Insurance Carrier in the World of Depositions

So, why are technology-enhanced depositions important to the insurance company? Well, for one, they’re usually the ones paying the bill on the defense side, or, to go even further, the ones deciding whether or not to even have a deposition. Adjusters and Claims Managers are often involved in the litigation process, working closely with counsel to develop a case strategy.

Download this eBook to learn five ways a service provider can make it easier for insurance carriers to efficiently conduct depositions.

What are the challenges that have brought about these changes to how depositions are done? Let’s take a closer lookat the various challenges (some obvious, some not) that insurance carriers are faced with when managing depositions and transcripts.

1. Cost

The many different pieces that are involved with depositions can quickly add up to a steep price tag. Some of the costs that counsel face with depositions are:

  1. Attorney’s hourly rate to be at the deposition and travel to/from.
  2. Stenographer’s appearance fee (might be waived in certain situations)
  3. Per page rate from the court reporting agency for the production of a certified transcript
  4. Videographer’s fee (if doing a video deposition)
  5. The attorney’s rate to review the transcript and dictate a deposition summary

Imagine a mid-sized insurance carrier that has counsel doing 25 depositions per month. Has that insurance company evaluated what the costs associated with those depositions really are? What’s the variance from firm to firm, using different reporters? What does that number look like annually and how does it affect the bottom line?

2. Speed

Lawsuits can take a long time to settle, and longer if the cases go to trial. Insurance companies must find the balance between the representation of their insured and finding a cost effective and expedient resolution. The deposition process can be drawn out – from scheduling, to the evaluation of the transcript and deposition summary.

3. Logistics and efficiency

How many times has the attorney had to travel out of town, or even out of state for a deposition? Is the attorney taking advantage of the technology available to do a remote deposition? How are transcripts being delivered and managed? Adjusters sometimes like to attend the depositions in cases with a higher risk but regardless of their attendance, many adjusters need quick access to the summaries and transcripts. Receiving this information in a timely fashion allows a quicker turn around when making decisions on how to proceed with settlement talks.

4. Building Intelligence

Three main subsets of this are: managing risk; analytical and actuarial reasoning; and representing your insured to the best of your ability. Insurance companies have this down. But, are they using the new tools to better understand past claims and give insight to the future? How can one learn from the deposition transcripts from a fender bender accident of four years ago to determine a course of action for the fender bender from last month?

5. Perceived lack of time

“I don’t have time to think about this!” I hear this one the most. And this leads to the next cliché: “You don’t know what you don’t know”. Basically, how do you even know you have these challenges, or are spending too much money, if you don’t understand how your insurance company really manages depositions and the ensuing transcripts. Who are the key stakeholders? How does it affect us? How does my outside counsel handle a deposition and procuring a court reporter?

“If only there was someone here at my insurance company that could take the time to study this…”

As a service provider, my job is to be keenly aware of these challenges and not only bring them up with my clients, but provide advice from my experience on how to overcome them. Otherwise, I’m just another sales person… Here is an eBook that explains five ways a service provider can make conducting depositions an easier process and how to get the most out of your 30(b)(6) opportunities.

What are some of the challenges you have experienced when conducting depositions and/or managing transcripts? Tell us about it on the Technology-Enhanced Depositions LinkedIn page to join the conversation.

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