Why might an insurance policy holder need a Cumis Counsel when a Reservation of Rights letter is issued by their insurance company? What is a Cumis Counsel under California law? California insurance law establishes the right for any policy holder with liability insurance coverage to obtain their own independent counsel if they are named as a “defendant” in a lawsuit. This applies to several forms of insurance, including but not limited to:
- Business Insurance
- Professional Liability Insurance
- Homeowners Insurance
- Automobile Coverage
- Real Estate
The contractual challenge is almost all insurance policies place the insurance company in control of the defense in any lawsuit arising from a claim against their insurance policy. The legal challenge is much more serious: The attorneys representing your insurance company owe their primary legal allegiance and duty to the defense of the policy itself, not you the policy holder. This often results in a conflict of interest, and California wisely implemented laws to protect the insured in many of these cases.
A reservation of rights letter means your insurance company probably intends to push liability onto your shoulders, or they are disputing part or all of the policy’s coverage with respect to the claim you’ve filed. If you are a defendant in a liability lawsuit where insurance provides protection against your liability or are being sued based upon an insurance policy coverage your own insurance company must often pay the bill for you to have your own independent attorney. This independent attorney is called “Cumis Counsel” and the sole purpose of a cumis counsel is to ensure your interests are protected at every stage of the case and that any potential settlement ensures you are personally released from any future liability.
The Watkins Firm has decades of experience serving San Diego insured policy holders as their cumis counsel. We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact us or call 858-535-1511 for a free consultation. We will review your unique circumstances an if you should be provided with cumis counsel when a reservation of rights letter is issued or a lawsuit is filed.