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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.

 
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