Insurer Drops Coverage for Attorney Who Represented Ukraine Whistleblower

Whistleblower attorney Mark S. Zaid, who represented the government whistleblower whose complaint led to President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, was dropped by his malpractice insurer last month. The insurer, the Hanover Insurance Group, claims that it did not renew Zaid’s coverage because his whistleblower practice is an area of law “ineligible” for coverage. However, some observers suggest that Hanover likely made the decision due to the political nature of Zaid’s high profile case, noting that other whistleblower attorneys often face no issue obtaining insurance coverage.

Zaid was informed of Hanover’s decision in a letter, which he shared with The New York Times. In the letter, Hanover told Zaid that the company had no “appetite” for his “high-profile” work. Zaid told The New York Times that he was “literally stunned” and that he has had the same law practice for 25 years and was previously insured by Hanover in 2019 as well as previous years.

Zaid believes Hanover’s decision is linked to his work representing the anonymous whistleblower who expressed concerns over President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Zaid told the New York Times that “by taking this decision, Hanover is sending a horrible message that is being echoed by the Trump administration, that whistle-blowers are not legitimate and do not deserve protection. One must question why this decision occurred now, in the wake of my representing a whistle-blower whose allegations not only proved to be true but led to the impeachment of the president of the United States.” The Trump administration has been openly hostile towards whistleblowers, leading some to claim that Trump is waging a war on whistleblowers.

Other whistleblower attorneys have echoed Zaid’s sentiments that Hanover’s decision is out of the ordinary. David Colapinto, a partner at the qui tam law firm Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, told Business Insurance that he has “never seen a situation where someone was denied a renewal of a policy for the reasons that Hanover gave to Zaid. It’s just baffling.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Hanover, Emily P. Trevallion, said: “This decision did not relate in any way whatsoever to any particular client of Mr. Zaid or the role that any such client may have played in the president’s impeachment proceedings.”

Colapinto claims that he has “never seen any data or any studies to support that whistleblower cases are riskier in terms of legal malpractice claims.” He added that Hanover should have been more transparent.

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