Kristi Holzer

When you are sued, your insurance company is there to help

I’m Senior Counsel at Grinnell Mutual. I received a Bachelor of Arts from  Iowa State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Drake University School of Law.

Outside of work, I’m active with ravelry.com, an online community for knitters and crocheters.

When you are sued, your insurance company is there to help

The sheriff shows up at your door and hands you an envelope or packet. She asks you to sign something, tells you to have a nice day, and is gone again before you can figure out exactly what just happened. When you open the envelope, you see them — suit papers. You’ve been sued by someone. As you try to read through page after page of legalese the fear, anger, and anxiety set in.

Talk to your insurance agent

The first thing to remember is that being sued doesn’t automatically mean the allegations are true. So take a deep breath.

The second thing you need to do is to call your agent. Yes, really. You should always notify your insurance agent when you’re served with legal papers. And the sooner the better! It’s always a good idea to have your own attorney take a look at the suit papers as well, even if you are providing them to your insurer to review. That way it ensures no deadlines are missed.

Is there coverage for this lawsuit?

Once your insurer obtains a copy of the suit papers, a legal specialist there will review the suit papers along with your insurance policy to determine whether there is coverage. Understanding the deadlines involved, insurers strive to complete these investigations quickly. Remember, though, it is your responsibility to ensure that all deadlines are met until your insurer responds to you.

Once your insurer responds to you, assuming there is coverage in place, your insurer will likely provide an attorney to handle the matter with you. It is very important you give this attorney your full cooperation. Not only will that help the matter run smoothly, it is most likely a requirement within your policy. This attorney will work with you to ensure the very best outcome for your case. In many instances this can mean no out of pocket fees for you.

Insurance companies are here to help you

While being sued is a rare and unnerving event for most people, insurance companies are here to help make that event less scary for their insureds. At Grinnell Mutual, we help our insureds with their covered litigation every step of the way until those suit papers are nothing but a distant memory.

The information included in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice, but should be confirmed with alternative sources.