May 1, 2002
While it is easy to view the plaintiffs’ bar as “the enemy” and to treat “trial lawyers” as a dirty word, every once in a while, corporate executives may find themselves in a very awkward situation: as plaintiffs, personally, in lawsuits against their own insurance companies. This situation is arising with increasing frequency in connection with disability claims. For many years, disability insurance companies sold rising executives a blue-chip type of disability policy known as “own occupation” coverage. This coverage applies whenever executives are unable to perform their own, particular occupations. That they may be able to work at some other type of job does not matter. These policies provide that corporate executives are entitled to full disability benefits when they are unable to perform their own occupations—even if they decide to work full-time doing something else.