Duane Cochenour is a litigator specializing in the representation of medical professionals and is leader of the firm's Insurance Coverage Practice Group. He has a unique perspective, with almost 20 years of experience as an insurance claim professional prior to becoming a lawyer. He knows exactly what it is like to be an adjuster, supervisor, regional claim manager and major case negotiator, because he has worked in each of those positions. He draws on this vast experience to defend clients in various types of serious bodily injury and property damage litigation. He also specializes in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, regularly providing guidance on complex coverage matters to major insurance carriers. Mr. Cochenour is also a certified mediator and a member of both the Georgia and Florida bars.
Mr. Cochenour started as a claims representative with Liberty Mutual, but spent the bulk of his insurance career with St. Paul Insurance Company. He managed territories throughout the Southeast and, as a major case negotiator, handled catastrophic claims throughout the country. He has experience in many types of high-exposure claims, including medical and dental malpractice, construction defect, negligent security, automobile, defamation, long term care, excess liability and bad-faith/extra contractual claims. He was also designated as an internal resource on coverage matters at St. Paul, teaching liability coverage courses internally to adjusters and supervisors. This experience gives Mr. Cochenour a unique insight into how to meet the needs of his insurance clients.
Mr. Cochenour specializes in representing hospitals, physicians and other health care providers against claims of medical malpractice. However, he keeps a varied litigation practice, representing clients in complex construction defect cases, negligent security cases, motor vehicle accidents, and several other types of bodily injury and property damage litigation.
Drawing on almost three decades of experience interpreting insurance coverage, Mr. Cochenour leads the firm's Insurance Coverage Practice Group. He regularly provides coverage opinions and other guidance to major insurers on complex coverage and bad faith cases. However, he is not just a coverage lawyer; he is a litigator. He also litigates declaratory judgment and bad faith actions in both state and federal court.
Mr. Cochenour excelled academically, graduating in the top 10 of his law school class at Georgia State University. He demonstrated his litigation skills early, leading a team that placed second nationally at the prestigious National Trial Advocacy Competition held annually at Michigan State University. He also received the Nai Karimimanesh Award as the top student in Advance of Evidence.
Interpreting insurance coverage is nothing new for Mr. Cochenour; he has done it for almost 30 years. He has had to make the decision of whether or not to pay policy limits under the pressure of a time limit demand in cases involving excess exposure. He has dealt with underwriters, agents, producers, risk managers and others in the insurance sales channel, which gives him a global framework of practical experience on how the insurance industry operates. This experience gives him knowledge and insight into insurance coverage and bad faith issues that a legal education alone simply cannot provide. He not only provides coverage opinions and guidance to carriers and clients, but also litigates those disputes when necessary.