Scott Bertschi focuses his practice on advising insurance companies as to coverage and litigating insurance coverage disputes. Specifically, he represents insurance companies in the institution of declaratory judgment actions and actions to rescind insurance policies, the defense of breach of contract actions and actions in which the insured alleges bad faith or extra-contractual damages, and actions between insurance companies to resolve allocation and relative priority issues. He also regularly advises insurance companies on all aspects of the claims-resolution process, including the provision of coverage opinions, advice on the allocation of indemnity payments, strategies to minimize the risk of bad faith suits and suits to collect consent judgments, and advice as monitoring counsel. Scott’s extensive experience with insurance claims has led him to provide advice to insurance companies regarding product development, including assisting his clients in drafting policy forms and endorsements.
Scott's insurance practice covers a wide range of insurance products. He has extensive experience with professional liability policies, including policies issued to attorneys, doctors, hospitals, technology companies, architects, engineers, accountants, insurance agents, title agents, broker-dealers, and staffing agencies. He also regularly handles matters involving director and officer liability policies and cyber policies, including third-party claims based on alleged privacy violations, service interruption, and media-based injuries, as well as first-party matters such as business interruption loss, ransomware costs, and breach notification costs. Additionally, Scott has significant experience with commercial general liability and commercial auto policies appurtenant to professional liability policies, such as package policies issued to staffing companies, mortgage field service companies, and hospitals. Similarly, Scott’s handling of coverage issues for design professionals has led him to regularly provide advice on coverage under general liability policies for alleged construction errors.
Scott is an active participant in the legal community. He has authored numerous articles and publications and presented on insurance-related topics. He recently presented on webinars in conjunction with Stratford Publications on Responding to Time Limited Demands for Policy Limits: Reasonableness, Safe Harbors, and Obtaining Summary Judgment; Insurance Settlement Dilemma: The Policyholder’s Right to Settle When Insured and Insurer Disagree; and Insurer’s Duty to Settle for Policy Limits When Defending Non-Covered Claims Under a Reservation of Rights. Scott also regularly provides in-house presentations for his clients on topics involving claims-handling, coverage, and bad faith. He acted as editor for "The Law of Lawyers’ Liability," which surveys the legal malpractice laws of the United States on a state-by-state basis.
- Georgia Court of Appeals
- Supreme Court of Georgia
- US Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth and Eleventh Circuits
- US District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia
- J.D., with distinction, Emory University School of Law, 1994. Order of the Coif. Robert W. Woodruff Scholar. Executive Managing Editor for the Emory Law Journal.
- Honors Program, Economics, University of St. Andrews, 1991. Robert T. Jones Scholar.
- B.A., summa cum laude, Economics and Political Science, Emory University, 1990. Dean's Scholar. Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.
- American Bar Association (ABA)
- Standing Committee on Lawyer’s Professional Liability
- Litigation Section
- Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
- Professional Liability Litigation Committee, past co-chair
- State Bar of Georgia
- Tort and Insurance Practice Section, past chair
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
- Acted as monitoring counsel and handled related coverage litigation for insurer that issued media liability policy to high-profile news outlet with respect to claim by two professional athletes that news outlet wrongly accused them of using performance enhancing drugs.
Assisted cyber insurer with resolution of third-party liability claims and first-party business interruption claims arising out of ransomware attack.
- Advised regional medical malpractice insurance company regarding coverage for and response to policy-limits settlement demand against multiple insured doctors for liability for the alleged wrongful death of a six-year old in an urgent care clinic.
- Successfully represented insurance company in the US District Court for South Carolina against a suit by a claimant attempting to collect a consent judgment in excess of the $1 million policy limits. After filing a motion to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the insured was insulated from any personal liability for the consent judgment, the claimant voluntarily dismissed the suit.
- Obtained summary judgment for national insurance adjusting company against claim by roofing contractor that adjuster defamed roofing contractor and tortuously interfered with its business relations. Additionally obtained an order awarding their clients' attorneys’ fees based on plaintiffs’ conduct in discovery. Maxsus, Inc., et. al. v. E.A. Renfroe Co., Inc., et. al., State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia, Civil Action No. 10C-05606-3.
- Obtained summary judgment for an insurance company in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The Court held that the insurance company had no obligation to defend or indemnify the insured-attorney against a multi-million dollar claim involving a large commercial real-estate transaction. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company v. Raymond Desautels, III et. al., Case No. 4:09-cv-40031 (D. Mass.).
- Successfully represented Hiscox Insurance Company on behalf of a Lloyd’s, London Syndicate in the Georgia Court of Appeals. Retained after the trial court granted summary judgment to the insured-real estate appraiser obligating the insurance company to defend it in a negligence action involving more than 30 appraisals. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. Michael A. Voller, et. al., Appeal No. A10A1775 (Ga. Ct. App.).
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a national legal malpractice insurance company against suit by insured-lawyer seeking coverage for claim arising out of a “Nigerian” check fraud scheme. Fidelity Bank v. Theodore Stapleton v. American Guarantee and Liability Ins. Co., In the State Court of Cobb County, Georgia, Civil Action No. 07A-11482-2.
- Obtained summary judgment for a legal malpractice insurer in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Court held that the insurance company had no obligation to pay a judgment against the insured-attorney for the return of estate commissions.
- Obtained a defense verdict in a week-long jury trial of a legal malpractice claim in which the former client contended that the defendant-lawyer committed a host of negligent acts in his litigation of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
- Assisted an international insurance company in revising its commercial property and commercial general liability forms for purposes of a package policy offered to the entertainment industry.
- Litigated the seminal case in Georgia regarding an insurer's right to settle a claim subject to a unilateral reservation of rights: Facility Investments, LP v. Homeland Ins. Co. of New York, 321 Ga. App. 103, 741 S.E.2d 228 (2013).
- Obtained Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of a legal malpractice insurer on the issue of its duty to defend. The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that the attorney's post-retroactive date acts were related to acts occurring prior to the retroactive date and, thus, excluded from coverage. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Abram Law Group, Case No. 1:11-cv-03483 (N.D. Ga.). The district court's decision was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Abram Law Group, LLC, 555 Fed. Appx. 919 (11th Cir. 2014).
- “Responding to Time Limited Demands for Policy Limits: Reasonableness, Safe Harbors, and Obtaining Summary Judgment,” Stratford Publications Webinar, October 2022
- “Insurance Settlement Dilemma: The Policyholder’s Right to Settle When Insured and Insurer Disagree,” Stratford Publications Webinar, May 2022
- “Insurer’s Duty to Settle for Policy Limits When Defending Non-Covered Claims Under a Reservation of Rights,” Stratford Publications Webinar, November 2021
- “Claims for Intentional Acts – An Insurer’s Obligations,” private client presentation, November 2021
- “Architects and Engineers Form Overview,” private client presentation, May 2020
- “Blanket Notifications in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” private client presentation, April 2020
- “Demystifying ‘Bad Faith Set-Up’ in Insurance,” Stratford Publications Webinar, February 2020
- “California Far Claims Settlement Practices,” private client presentation, June 2019
- "Ethical Considerations: The Cumis Doctrine," Insurance in the Construction Industry Seminar, The Seminar Group, March 2017
- "Pitfalls in Claims Handling," private presentation, March 2017