Insurance coverage litigation often involves epic amounts of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) such as claims files, underwriting materials, emails, and even short message data. Because of this volume (and complexity), eDiscovery can be a valuable tool.
Here are some tips for legal teams on how to effectively manage eDiscovery when preparing for insurance related litigation:
- Understand the eDiscovery process. Insurance litigation presents unique eDiscovery challenges because unlike standard contract disputes, insurance cases often involve complex coverage questions, intricate policy language, and a vast array of potential data sources. Emails, adjuster notes, claim forms, underwriting reports, and external communications with brokers and reinsurers can all hold crucial evidence.
- Develop an eDiscovery plan early. This roadmap should define your goals, budget, and timeline for the process. Additionally, take the time to identify key custodians (individuals with relevant electronic data), determine the scope of data collection (including relevant date ranges and data types), and establish defensible preservation protocols to prevent spoliation allegations.
- Consider emerging technologies. Leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and continuous active learning (CAL) to pinpoint relevant documents, employ data analytics to identify patterns and trends, and assist in coding and prioritization. Note: these technologies should be used to enhance, not substitute, experienced eDiscovery professionals.
- Partner with experienced eDiscovery vendor to unburden your internal resources. A good service provider can develop and implement your strategy, provide invaluable guidance in developing your plan, select and deploy the right tools, and even manage the entire process – from data collection to document production.
eDiscovery can be valuable in supporting legal teams during insurance coverage litigation, and the sooner you initiate eDiscovery, the smoother the process. And by following these best tips, you can use eDiscovery as a powerful asset in your insurance coverage litigation arsenal.