Many small to medium-sized business purchase commercial general liability insurance or some other type of business insurance to protect the business against claims or lawsuits. In exchange for premium payments by the business, an insurance company provides coverage by: (a) hiring and paying for attorneys to represent the business in a lawsuit; and (b) paying any settlement or verdict against the business during a lawsuit. Generally, the relationship between the business, the insurance company and attorneys hired by the insurance company are not problematic. There are times when an attorney hired by the insurance company has a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest. Even though insurance hired attorneys only responsibility is to the business, there is an inherent tension because the attorneys want to receive repeat business from the insurance company. Because of this tension the insurance company paid attorney cannot address whether a claim should be covered by an insurance policy. This tension increases in cases where a Plaintiff claims his damages are more than the amount of money payable under the policy or, in some jurisdictions, where the Plaintiff claims he should get punitive or exemplary damages from the business.
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