Critical Components of "Duty to Defend"

April 25, 2012 — 1,157 views  

Whenever a person enlists an insurance provider to cover anything from health insurance to a pension fund, it is expected that the agency will provide a customer with any necessary support. This assumption is known as duty to defend, and there are a number of critical components to this policy that should be well understood by all involved.

It is generally accepted that insured individuals need to establish the grounds for their coverage before handing over a civil case to an insurance company. For example, if a person slips and falls on an ice-covered slope near a house and proves coverage underneath a personal safety plan, the insurance agency's litigation team will step in to negotiate with the respective homeowner during legal proceedings.

There are two different plans related to duty to defend. A full duty to defend clause requires the insurer to entirely take over the defense or prosecution process, which includes fronting all necessary legal funds and selecting lawyers and other staff necessary for the case. However, there is also a non-duty to defend plan, and this means that the insurer must simply reimburse the covered person for legal fees after the case is brought to a close.