My father was in real estate so when I was a kid I knew his bankers and insurance agents. They either came to the house or we went to meet them on a Saturday morning once or twice a year. Being a one-parent household, I would go along for the ride. The childhood lesson? “The police officer, fireman, teacher, banker and insurance agent is your friend.” Then came bank consolidation over the next four decades and old-fashioned relationship banking was replaced by a bifurcated system of higher net-worth customers and everyone else. That’s fine during upwardly mobile markets, but in a recession, not so much. “Everyone is a capitalist on the way up, but a socialist on the way down,” as the old saying goes. When the Great Recession came in 2008-09, banks were the poster children for what’s wrong with our economy.
In the war rooms at AIG during the financial crisis, where the international crisis, law and consulting firms worked 18 hour days for seven months, there was a question we only asked amongst ourselves – “Would the financial crisis last long enough and cut deep enough for the banks to learn their lesson?”
From the looks of the first few weeks of the pandemic, it looks like they may have, as so many of them have, announced programs to ease the pain of the average person, from deferred payments for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages to loan modifications and low-rate and zero-rate loans. To be contrary for a moment, reports are coming in that small businesses still cannot reach their banker. It’s a resource larger banks have to fix, even if the spirit is there.
The insurance industry is following the banks’ positive lessons, with all of the top ten auto insurance companies offering some kind of relief. In our lead story, we look at what the property & casualty industry is doing and looking to do in terms of customer relief. They should not be forced to cover uninsured events as some politicians suggest – less they require a bailout themselves – but there are things they can do.We lay out a comprehensive game plan in the Insurance Journal.
In Litigation Daily, we look at the increased privacy concerns of employees both prior to and during the pandemic when virtually all of us are working from home. Just because the company owns the device – a second office computer or mobile phone – doesn’t mean the company can retrieve, watch or copy everything. Litigation has been working its way through the courts prior to the coronavirus, most notably Paul Iacovacci v. Brevet Capital Management LLC, which will have an outsized impact on the new rules of workplace privacy going forward.
And what pandemic would be complete without cyber thieves trying to take advantage of our vulnerability? LEVICK Cyber Practice Chair Ian Lipner shares his insights from a recent article on the growing threat. As if working around the clock, home schooling and ‘swabbing the decks’ twice a day wasn’t enough.
Finally, this week we launch our new daily five-minute podcast in partnership with the Corporate Counsel Business Journal, In House Warrior, providing insights into what general counsels need to know about a topical issue. Our first guest this week is Chrysta Castañeda, a litigator and oil and gas lawyer who is running for the Texas Railroad Commission. She just released her new book based on her successful multimillion dollar verdict, The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens.
Enjoy the listen and the reads. As always, if you want to be a guest on one of our shows or suggest a topic for one of our columns, please just let us know.