An attorney or law firm chosen by an insurance company to represent its policyholders in defending liability claims. Defense firms are selected for the panel based on their expertise in handling claims involving the particular coverage lines written by the insurer and their willingness to use billing rates acceptable to the insurer.
When a policy is written on a duty to defend basis, either the insurer selects or the insured is allowed to select defense counsel from one of the firms contained within the panel. However, in some instances, insurers allow insureds to choose law firms that are not part of a panel. This is especially true if:
(1) the request is made prior to policy inception, and
(2) the insured’s preferred firm has demonstrated capabilities in the applicable line of coverage.