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About the Authors

Matthew Smith, ESQ.

Smith, Rolfes & Skavdahl Company

Matthew J Smith Proposal - bio

Matthew Smith is President of Smith, Rolfes & Skavdahl (skav-doll) Company, LPA. He founded the firm in 1989 after beginning practice as an insurance defense attorney in Florida. From starting as a one-attorney office, the firm has grown to eight offices and now provides insurance law services throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Smith attended the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music graduating with a degree in Radio, TV and Film. While working his way through college and law school he served as Director of Marketing Communications for the Kings Island Theme Park Complex in Ohio and founded Smith-Kaufman Public Relations representing such companies as Wendy’s International, Hyatt Hotels and The Cincinnati Reds.

Mr. Smith graduated from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. He is admitted to practice in both federal and state courts in Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Washington, D.C. as well as the United States Supreme Court.

He serves as legal counsel to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, is a past President of the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators, chairs the Insurance Committee of the International Association of Arson Investigators, and is a member of the Defense Research Institute, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance and numerous other insurance law related organizations. Mr. Smith is a frequent lecturer on insurance law matters throughout the United States.


 

Rick Hammond

HeplerBroom, LLC

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Rick Hammond is a Partner at the law firm of HeplerBroom LLC.  He serves as national counsel on matters relating to property insurance coverage, fire and explosion cases, bad faith, and as counsel to corporate executives, municipalities and elected officials on high-profile business litigation cases.  He also serves as an expert witness on insurer bad faith and insurance law and coverage issues, and he is an Adjunct Professor on Insurance Law at the John Marshall Law School.

Before practicing law, Rick was the Assistant Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance’s Chicago office, and he held managerial positions in property claims and agency for two national insurance carriers.  Rick recently returned to his prior role as the Executive Director of the Insurance Committee for Arson Control (ICAC), after serving many years as ICAC’s General Counsel.

Mr. Hammond is Past-President of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, formerly served on the faculty and Board of Directors of the Insurance School of Chicago, and he is a columnist for the International Association of Special Investigation Units’ (IASIU) magazine, “SIU Today.”

Rick is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and Chair of their Property Insurance Law Committee.  He is also the former Illinois State Representative of DRI,

In 2008, Mr. Hammond was one of two attorneys in the country selected by the Lexis Nexis Insurance Law Center to receive its “Insurance Lawyer of the Year Award.”  He was recognized by Lexis Nexis and his peers as having effectively advanced insurer positions and helped to improve insurance law from the perspective of insurers.  Rick was also recently inducted into the American College of Coverage and Extra-Contractual Counsel, an organization that is composed of preeminent coverage and extra-contractual counsel in the United States and Canada.


 

Gerald T. Albrecht, Esq.

Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LPP

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Mr. Albrecht has been with the firm for 26 years. Jerry’s practice is primarily first party property coverage both for commercial insurance carriers and homeowner’s carriers. Jerry has been practicing law since 1987. He is licensed to practice in all three Federal District Courts in the State of Florida. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubble. Jerry has handled cases throughout the United States and most notably tried, and won, the “Russian Roulette” wrongful death case.

Jerry is a frequent speaker and panelist on property coverage and arson and fraud issues.

Mr. Albrecht has also written and produced a number of training videos, including such subjects as Records Statements, Examinations Under Oath, and Good Faith Claims Handling.


Rick Hammond, Matthew Smith and Jerry Albrecht collaborated on the project; below are Matthew Smith’s comments on distribution of the publication:

Bad Faith is an issue which every insurer needs to consider.  From training of personnel through litigation strategy, acting with the utmost of Good Faith should always guide how every claim is handled.  Not doing so means we failed ourselves and those who place their trust in us. 

I have the privilege of co-authoring the attached publication for ICAC (The Insurance Committee for Arson Control) and while ICAC’s focus is on fire losses, this publication provides good information on all aspects of Bad Faith/Good Faith claims handling.

We hope you find this information beneficial and you are welcome to circulate as you see fit.