The Down and Dirty: What Every Officer Should Know About Insurance and Professional Associations

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Categories: Informational

*Disclaimer: We are not legal authorities and any advice provided should be taken as informational only. Do your own research and consult with a professional.*

 

Despite having insurance to cover law enforcement action, Chris and his family have had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket to cover all of his expenses. He’s had to hire five separate lawyers to handle the wide variety of issues resulting from the incident. In addition to his criminal charges, the deceased’s family brought a civil suit against him for wrongful death, his insurance company sued him for filing a claim on his policy, and he’s had to retain defense and appeals lawyers in both Hawaii and Virginia. Plus, he’s had to pay for numerous flights and housing in both locations for extended periods of time–expensive items that aren’t necessarily covered by insurance.


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Let’s take a few minutes to talk about insurance, lawsuits, and professional associations. Many of you in the law enforcement community may be thinking “that sucks for him, but that’s why I have liability insurance.” Well, it’s not quite that simple. Chris had professional liability insurance and was covered under his renter’s insurance for negligence/wrongful death, and they are actually costing him more money.

When the civil suit was brought against Chris for wrongful death, he filed a claim under his renter’s insurance policy to cover the expense of hiring a civil attorney. The insurance company didn’t want to pay, so they turned around and sued Chris, and he had to hire yet another attorney to fight his own insurance company! His lawyer won that suit, so the insurance company is forced to cover Chris for the wrongful death suit in Hawaii, but this policy is very limited financially. Luckily that case has been stayed and will not proceed until the criminal case is over, but the future costs of the lawsuit are still pending, and the policy will likely not be enough to cover all the expenses.

Professional liability insurance is designed to protect officers from being held personally liable for acting within the scope of their employment. It is recommended for all law enforcement officers due the nature of the job and our overly-litigious society. Over a year after the incident, Chris’ attorneys are still fighting with his professional liability insurance policy to provide coverage. At this point, they have neither declined nor agreed, but even if they do end up covering, the coverage limit of his particular policy will only reimburse up to half of what has already been invoiced by his attorneys. The limit has long been passed, and no future costs will be covered.

This is not to say that you should not have professional liability or any other type of insurance to cover you. If and when Chris’ insurance pays his claim, it’s going to help him out quite a lot–but it still won’t be nearly enough since his case is so complex. Everyone should be insured! Just make sure you’re protected to the fullest extent, know your coverages/exceptions and keep in mind the insurance company may not automatically pay your bills just because you pay theirs.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is the largest federal law enforcement professional association. At the time, Chris wasn’t a member of FLEOA, but he became one after the incident. We can’t say enough about what a difference FLEOA has made for Chris–they have supported him throughout the process, providing legal advice even before he became a member, meeting with his attorneys, writing articles about his case, using it as an example to support the Officer Safety Act of 2012, and they are continuing to lobby on Chris’ behalf. If you’re a federal law enforcement officer, it is in your best interest to join FLEOA.

That’s it for today’s lessons to be learned. We believe these are the kind of things that every officer should be aware of, and unfortunately it took our friend Chris learning the hard way to really hit it home for us. Please donate to help him keep fighting the system so that his case doesn’t set a terrible precedent for the future.

Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and tell everyone you know. Personally, we’re sending an email to every cop we know. We need to spread the word about what’s actually going on just as much as we need to raise money. Every little bit helps, so please pass it on.

Author: admin

16 Responses to "The Down and Dirty: What Every Officer Should Know About Insurance and Professional Associations"

  1. K A Posted on January 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    This is extremely informative. Thank you so much for sharing

  2. admin Posted on January 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    You’re welcome! We have a few subjects we plan to discuss in future posts, but if you have specific topics you’d like us to cover please let us know.

  3. JAA Posted on February 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Can’t preach about FLEOA enough…this LEOs prayers are with Chris and his family.

  4. Tin Man Posted on February 9, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Can you share the name of the insurance company fighting to NOT pay his claim? I’d like to contact them and either 1) tell them I’m canceling my policy and going another company (and tell them why), or 2) tell them why I and my friends refuse to use that company.

    And please tell me his renter’s insurance wasn’t with USAA!

    • admin Posted on February 9, 2013 at 6:23 am

      We can tell you that his renter’s policy definitely wasn’t with USAA (he made his claim with Allstate), but we’ll have to get back to you on the professional liability policy.

  5. jack Posted on July 1, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Actually the carrier for the Prof Liab Policy did not receive notice of this until Oct. 18, 2012, almost 1 year after the incident on 11/5/11. The carrier paid the policy limits for defense costs on 1/28/13. The Prof Liab carrier did conduct an investigation that was hampered due to the criminal charges pending. The carrier did not receive the invoices from criminal defense counsel until 1/21/13.

    So once the proof was received (attorney invoices) the carrier cut a check for the limits 1 week later.

  6. Mark Posted on July 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I got an idea. How about not injecting yourself into a situation that doesn’t need your help? How about acting like a federal agent who was brought to Hawaii for APEC and not a cop? How about not letting down your fellow agents and department by engaging in police activity better left to the locals? How about not carrying your weapon while going out to bars and drinking till 2am? You SA Deedy are a fed, not a cop. What made you think you could play cop without actually knowing what you were doing? Was anyone in danger? What was wrong with your phone that you couldn’t call 911and let the real police handle the situation? You acted like George Zimmerman long before George Zimmerman overstepped his mandate. Nice job, so you failed to fulfill your duty as an SA by failing to be a LEO and forgetting the one thing all street cops know, the badge gets you nothing. Respect is earned. Go to jail Chris. I hope you spend the next 30 years behind bars and think about what honor and duty actually mean. Being a bully with a badge is actually worse than being a bully without one.

  7. Xing Wong Posted on July 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Why isn’t CNN covering this — tells any off duty law enforcement not to intervene in any developing situations that they observe

  8. Frank Posted on August 9, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Mark, I’m curious for whom you work. It’s shameful for you to wish prison on Chris for doing what he believed was the right and decent thing. Thank God the world isn’t filled with cowards like you, who’d stand idly by and let others be intimidated and bullied by drunken druggies (I’m sure your loved ones feel very safe knowing you’d quickly call the police if they needed you!). If you’re also a Special Agent, you’re the one who needs a lesson in honor and duty. You should also consider a different profession.

    Chris, keep your head up. We’re behind you.

    • Mark Posted on August 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Nice Frank – name calling and labeling. That about sums up your age too I am sure. You’ll make a nice jack-booted thug for the governemnt to control I am sure. If you even thought about what I wrote for a second I would be surprised. You don’t get it and you never will, instead of learing from Deedy’s example, all you can do is glorify it. He did not do the right thing, he didn’t even do the next to the right thing. He did the wrong thing, displayed immature and poor judgment and now a man is dead. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t make me wrong. I have a different opion, that’s all. Calling someone a coward because they choose to not intervene like an idiot, against department policy is not only the height of ignorance, it’s also very naive. I am guessing you have less than 5 years on as an SA. I never said I wouldn’t have intervened, but I would have don the smart thing; call the actual cops and have been a good accurate and impartial witness instead of confronting someone after drinking alcohol. I learned my lessons about honor and duty, probably when you were in diapers. You apparantly are not far behind Deedy in learing those lessons.

      • Frank Posted on August 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        Mark,

        Thank you for your insightful comment. I’m happy to reply this one time, and then you’ll need to troll somewhere else.

        First, you’re wrong about you’re analysis of my time as an Agent. I’ve been with the Government longer than five years. One doesn’t lose their enthusiasm for the job or the desire to help others at the five-year mark, as you alluded to. In fact, one doesn’t need to be on the job long to realize you don’t lose those things until you’re too fat and old to do the job, and you haven’t qualified with your weapon in years. Only you know where you fit into that, but I have my suspicions.

        Second, based on your comment, I’ll assume you don’t know Chris. I’m sure he’d appreciate your personal counsel and mentorship, given your professed experience in the moral and professional high ground. If only we could all be as brave and sensible as you would’ve been in Chris’ place, we’d all be safer and better off. Perhaps you could teach a class at DSTC?

        Third, I’ll say again that I doubt you know anything about duty or honor. But if you were living both of those when I was still in diapers, you’d be well into your sixties and no longer working as a LEO. And given your warped sense of moral obligation and apparent lack of character (yes, just my opinion), do us all a favor and remain in retirement.

        Finally, and most importantly, this is a website dedicated to SUPPORTING Chris Deedy. If you don’t, no worries. But be an ass somewhere else. This site is run by those who care about Chris and hope he’s found innocent. Since that’s not you, post your opinions somewhere where they dont hurt or offend others needlessly.

        • Mark Posted on August 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

          LoL! Like you’d ever give me the last word on this site. That’s rich. I know you’re type, you have to respond. Your type of FED, “You will respect ma ah-Thor-it-thai!” Too funny. Yes, I am trolling your “support” site. If only to try to inject some reason into your silly delusional idea that Deedy was right. As I’ve said, you don’t get it, you’ll never get it. You can’t even acknowledge that Deedy was even remotely wrong. Here’s a news flash. He.will.never.survive.the.internal.investigation. He violated your policy and for that, he’ll get fired. Furthermore, the Elderts family will crush him in the civil suit. He acted out of the scope of his duties and against the policies of his own department. Why is that so hard to understand for people like you?

          Lets see if you read this(doubt it): I will stipulate that as soon as Elderts attacked Deedy, a properly identified LEO, Chris was 100% in the right. But what you don’t see is Deedy’s actions, right up until then were 100% wrong.

          So unlike you, I’ll stop. You’ve proven my point time and again. That many, of not most federal LEOs have a much over inflated sense of their own purpose. You included. I am sorry I said he should go to jail. Thanks for calling me on that. In reality, I don’t want him to go to jail. Elderts was a piece of shit. No loss to society there. But what I want is justice. Deedy fuked up. Elderts death, while not especially tragic here, could have been avoided. Here’s the lesson: next time it could be someone who wasn’t a racist POS. So an example has to be made. An example of not to do. I am not saying he should not intervened, I am saying discretion is the better part of valor. He did it wrong, despite what you think. Something you and your supposed LE experince has yet to teach you.

          But you’ll never understand that with your misguided sense of proportion, and your name/label calling. I am not trying to hurt or offend anyone, but you have no idea who I am or what I do. You obviously work for DSS and Deedy is your friend. So you are supporting your friend, I’ll respect that. He needs your help. But this is an open site, anyone can post. I suggest if you just want a circle jerk you make this a closed site.

          Can’t wait to see your response. I am sure it will be as professional as your previous ones.

          • MJ
            MJ Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm

            Mark – I’m assuming you must have been present in the restaurant that night to write with such conviction. The evidence I’ve seen suggests that Elderts was the aggressor, not Deedy; it suggests that Deedy attempted to deescalate the situation when he saw things were getting ugly; it suggests that Deedy acted to defend himself with deadly force once it became apparent that there was a real risk of grave bodily harm to himself. Then again, I wasn’t there either. That noted, I would prefer to give a fellow LEO the benefit of the doubt, rather than berate and belittle him while liking full command of the facts.

            As for Deedy being a “FED,” and therefore, something less than a “cop,” All LEOs are on the same team and hopefully cut from similar cloth. There’s a division of labor to be sure, FBI agents aren’t going to be handing out speeding tickets and patrol officers aren’t going to be investigating a tax evasion, but if you accept a badge and a gun then you should be committed to acting in the defense of others. Hell, even if you don’t have a badge and a gun you should share that commitment! I’m not sure why a FED (i.e. a federal criminal investigator and law enforcement officer) is not a cop, but a local police detective (local criminal investigator and law enforcement officer) is. Is there really that much difference between what a U.S. Marshal does and what an MPD officer on a warrant squad does? Not in my view.

          • Another POV
            Another POV Posted on May 1, 2014 at 11:46 am

            @MJ:disqus , your failure to understand the core issue here is staggering. If you don’t and can’t tell the difference between what a police officer does and what a Fed does, you are truely doomed to recreate Deedy’s epically bad decisions. You could not be more wrong in all of your assumtions. No amount of liabilty insurance, FLEOA coverage or otherwise will help you then, as it in’t helping much with Deedy now. – Mark

          • Me again
            Me again Posted on June 21, 2014 at 9:56 pm

            @Another POV a disparaging tone and haughty attitude are a poor substitute for an argument. Just as an FYI, I’ve had my share of LE experience already and have managed to maintain a pretty good reputation. But alas, the great seer has spoken and I am apparently “doomed.”

            In all seriousness, you’re quite the condescending dick. I’m sure you’ve logged plenty of time carrying a badge. In fact, I think we’ve met before. Aren’t you the guy who never works his LEAP, seldom wears his gun, and always has an important “interview” he can’t break away from when the rest of the squad heads out to serve a warrant? Please don’t misinterpret me. I’m not suggesting you are a coward. You’re probably as brave as the next guy. I’m merely asserting that you are the sort of do-nothing, over-the-hill agent the rest of us hold in such low regard. The sort of agent who sits around the office dividing his time between reading the newspaper and dispensing pearls of wisdom about life and law enforcement in the form of sagacious snark at the water-cooler. I only hope you aren’t in a management position.

            In my own experience, which I’m sure you’ll dismiss as nothing more than puffed up “FLETC sass,” LEOs are all on the same team. I’ve spent a good portion of my career working with other agencies and the one thing that comes through is that FEDS and locals are working to achieve the same results. There are bad apples to be sure—guys who are badge-heavy and reckless. But for the most part, agents/officers just want to do the right thing—i.e. protect citizens from bad guys.

            As I noted in one of my previous comment, I’m uncertain whether Deedy did the right thing during his encounter with Elderts. To be sure, nothing good happens at a McDonalds in the middle of the night. That noted, the balance of the facts appear to be on Deedy’s side. He identified himself as an LEO after witnessing Elderts harassing a customer; Elderts attacked him; Deedy fought to retain his weapon and then used it in a way consistent with that sassy FLETC training he got down at Glynco. Should he have approached Elderts? Hell if I know. I wasn’t there and neither were you. Maybe Deedy misinterpreted the situation, but even if he did, that in no way excuses Elderts’ assault on an LEO. The fact that you want to make this case about Deedy not being a real “cop,” instead of Elderts assaulting and attempting to disarm an LEO is positively bizarre to me, and more than a little idiotic.

            In any event, I hope you’ll bless me with another snotty, insulting retort of the sort you’ve become famous for on this website.

  9. PlausiblePaul Posted on March 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Chris Deedy is only guilty of self defense. The video shows it for God’s sake. The Jury was 6 not gulity and 3 guilty. I don’t believe there is a jury that will unanimously find him guilty. Elderts kept coming and did not stop coming after Deedy when he should have stopped. I wish him well.

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