Emanuelson, Roger. Effectively Defending the Insurance Claim: Coordination
of the Investigation and Assistance to Public Authorities. Lecomte, Emanuelson,
Tick & Doyle. Boston, MA.
Abstract: This paper explains the roles that private insurance
companies and public authorities must play in the investigation of suspicious
fires. It also outlines the assets available to mount a successful defense
against fraudulent claims.
The attorney should act as the coordinator of the defense. He or she
is responsible for directing the investigation and utilizing all members
of the team for their strengths. The attorney should be involved from the
beginning to perform the job correctly. Technical experts may be required,
and if they are not available from the law enforcement agency the attorney
should coordinate with the insurance company to hire the expertise needed.
The defense team, headed by the attorney, must understand the terms of
the insurance policy in question. The insurance company should know what
information they are allowed to obtain from the insured.
The last section of the paper discusses the proof required to win a civil
case. The elements that must be proven are: incendiary origin of the fire,
motive of the insured, and the opportunity of the insured. Unlike a criminal
trial, these elements must be proven by a "fair preponderance of the
evidence," not, "beyond a reasonable doubt." The article
cites cases that have set precedents in this area. The defense team should
be familiar with these precedents to apply them to their cases.