Aspen Claims Service

Settling Subrogation Claims And The Dreaded Release

 Tuesday, December 1, 2020

 Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.

The bane of any subrogation professional’s existence is the dreaded release. It is no coincidence that when Zeus uttered the words, “Release the Kraken!” in the 1981 fantasy adventure film The Clash of the Titans, he chose the word “Release.”

The meme itself connotes setting loose utter destruction on one’s enemy—a description which can be woefully accurate to describe the potential aftermath of signing releases which are overbroad and contain terms, conditions, and obligations which a subrogated carrier has no business agreeing to or assuming.

It is said that releases and settlement agreements “use a thousand words when ten would do” and there is a good reason for that.

Those drafting the release are often paid by the hour and/or want to pack in the very maximum of future protections, claims released, and indemnity provided by the document.

Conversely, those signing the release want to limit the promises made and tailor them to the specific claims and damages made the subject of the release. The concern over limiting the scope and future liability assumed in such broadly worded documents is most-vitally important when the party signing the release is an insurance company settling a simple subrogation claim.
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