Vanderbilt Law Review

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In this paper, I present an analysis of insurance defense practice using the heuristic of a commodity.7 Essentially, I argue that many, perhaps even most, insurance companies have come to view the more routine work of insurance defense as something to be purchased in a marketplace where there are a large number of interchangeable providers.8 Loyalty between buyer and seller, to the extent that it had been an important element of the relationship, has faded. Today, insurance companies frequently shop for the best deal, which may include producing insurance defense services in-house rather than purchasing those services from an outside firm.9 As is true of any commodity seller, insurance defense firms seek to differentiate their product from their competitors; how successful they are in doing so is hard to ascertain. Insurance defense firms also seek to maintain the kinds of person-to-person loyalties that were probably the mainstay of insurance defense practice thirty to forty years ago, but insurance companies increasingly have adopted policies and changed management structures and in so doing have made this personal loyalty much more difficult to maintain.

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Insurance Law Commons