A lawyer representing a whistleblower whose complaint led to President Trump's indictment said he had been contacted by brokers to help him secure professional liability insurance because his current insurer, Hanover Insurance Group, refused to renew its coverage for malpractice. The insurer said it decided not to renew coverage for Washington-based lone practitioner Mark S. Zaid based on an assessment of the risk, but Zaid said he had not received an adequate explanation of the decision.
An interest in avoiding a politically sensitive subject probably played a role in the decision, some observers said, noting that there is usually plenty of capacity available for lawyers representing whistleblowers. by The New York Times last week, said it called because of its insurance policy. Zaid said that in addition to the most recent insurance year, he has been insured with Hanover during other insurance years, but not in a row.
But Mr Zaid, who has represented whistleblowers for about 25 years without claim, said he was surprised when "out of the blue" announced to Hanover that his cover for lawyer's crimes, which expires in October, will not be renewed by the insurer. .
Mr. Zaid, one of the whistleblower's lawyers, has been quoted in the news media over his client's allegations that Trump used his power to demand interference from Ukraine in the upcoming presidential election, which led to the president's accusation last year.
Hannover said in a statement that some specialized methods, including whistleblower work, were outside the scope of the insurance guarantee.
"Politics play absolutely no role in these decisions," said the insurer. "
Mr Zaid's fixed positions for whistleblower work, which was considered at renewal, we informed Mr Zaid that we did not intend to renew his policy, with more notice than required by law," the statement said.
Hannover stated that it had subsequently stated its position on Zaid to that communication and that liability protection for companies with significant whistleblowers is readily available in the surplus line market. [1
Mr. Zaid said he was getting on with his messaging job. "Why would it happen suddenly?" he asked in an interview. The insurer "really gave me no good explanation," he said.
Several brokers have contacted him since the New York Times article was published about securing alternative coverage, Zaid said.
Coverage for companies representing whistleblowers is easier to obtain in a few years than others, says David K. Colapinto, of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP in Washington, which specializes in whistleblower cases.
"I have never seen a situation where someone was denied a renewal of a policy for the reasons that Hanover gave Zaid," he said. "It's just confusing."
Mr. Colapinto said he has been known to Zaid since he began his internship "and he has been consistent with his field.
Mr. Colapinto added that he was concerned that the situation would discourage other lawyers with little practice from taking up cases. he said. Hanover should have been more transparent, he said.
There is nothing unique about whistleblowing work based on professional risks of malpractice, says Michael Ronickher, a partner with Constantine Canon LLP in Washington, a firm with more than 65 attorneys.
"There are plenty of lawyers who do very high-profile cases, especially in class actions, and they are covered and do not seem to have any particular problems," he said.  Lawyers who specialize themselves on whistleblower work were surprised to learn about Zaid's situation, said Ronickher.
"I know people have not had problems getting coverage, and d It was hard not to believe that there was another motive behind (Hanover's) decision, "said Ronickher.
Some observers attribute the denial to a desire to avoid political controversy.
Eileen Garczynski, senior vice president and stock partner at McLean, Virginia-based specialty broker Ames & Gough, which has several whistleblower law firms, said, "I dare say" Hannover's rejection of the cover was due to "lack of appetite for any political related "rather than because of Zaid's whistleblower work.
David Derigiotis, national career leader of the HW Kaufman Group in Farmington Hills, Michigan, said the situation" is a reflection of the appetite in the standard line market compared to that of (surplus and surplus lines). ) market. "An account like Mr Zaid is" the perfect for the E&S industry ", where there is freedom of interest and form, he said.
He said," I can not say that I am surprised to see that kind of knee-jerk reaction, although I think it has everything to do with the specific client's high-profile character (rather) than it does with the practice area.