DEC 2018 24 My Legal Life www. lawyer-monthly .com Erez Schneorson The Current Scope of Insurance Law in Israel Founder & Head at E. Schneorson, Diab & Co. What common challenges are you presented with in insurance law? One of the great challenges I deal with, is trying to shorten the time period for a customer, to receive his insurance benefits. Procedures in Israeli courts can last years. By building creative strategies, we have already reached an average of only seven and a half months, from the day the file is opened in our office until its conclusion and the transfer of insurance benefits to the customer. From a broader perspective, insurance laws face significant challenges in Israel and worldwide. We are seeing major changes in the way people work and make a living. We see lots of meetings being held in cafes instead of offices, and people who have turned the table in the coffee shop, to their office. We witness many new occupations, such as consultants, public relations agents, lobbyists, website designers, advertising experts on Google and Facebook, guides for running groups and other sports, nutrition consultants, image consultants, and many professions and occupations that the insurance world still does not know how to provide them with solutions. Many individuals act as independent businesses, with low income, so even when someone meets an insurance policy that suits his needs, he cannot afford to buy it. New and unfamiliar risks appear, such as cyber risks, internet ransom demands and so on, that the insurance world has not yet learned to provide the right solutions to. Do you think there are any regulatory changes Israel could adopt from other jurisdictions which would benefit your clients? For many years, I have been trying to influence legislation and regulations intheareaof insurance law. I believe that legislators must reduce the power of the insurance companies in favour of the policyholders. Thus, an insured can be falsely accused of insurance fraud, but an insurance company that refused to pay without any reasonable reason, will not suffer any significant sanction. The Israeli legal system allows insurance companies to take a long time to defend against an insured’s claim, and this causes many policyholders to forego their claim, which of course enriches the insurance companies’ pockets. I would like to see changes in these areas. Erez Schneorson shares with us his journey into law and the current talking points of insurance law in Israel. Erez has worked learnt the importance of research and reading every last word, and has shared with us some interesting insights into how insurance needs to address the everchanging nature of our world. How important is insurance in Israel; is it mandatory? The insurance sector has a significant weight in the business and commercial world in Israel. Most large businesses are insured, as are the big projects. With the exception of a number of specific areas for which the law requires insurance, in most areas policies are not legally enforced. Large firms tend to purchase insurance policies using insurance consultants. However, an insurance consultant in Israel is an occupation that has no mandatory requirements and no definitions of education and knowledge required for the purpose of being certified as an insurance consultant. Most of them are experienced, with great knowledge who do excellent work, but there is no doubt that the legislator’s intervention is required, in terms of threshold requirements for dealingwith this area, definition of duties and areas of occupation and more. Thus, loss appraisers, who are very active in property insurance claims, are engaged without statutory definition and without legal requirements for education or knowledge. What happens if your client is facing someone who is uninsured; how complicated does this make matters? Indeed, when the other party does not have a relevant insurance policy, this may make it very difficult to manage his claim. One of the most important steps in every case that I take for my treatment is an in-depth examination of whether insurance coverage can be found for an event that caused damage to my client. The examination begins by identifying all of the customer’s insurance policies, which sometimes is not aware that he holds an insurance policy that includes insurance cover for the event. I check the insurance coverage of everyone involved in the event. Sometimes a developer is insured within the CAR policy of the contractor of the project, and vice versa. There are product liability policies of electrical equipment suppliers in cases where such equipment caused a fire, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, lighting fixtures, etc. My experience shows that when I was able to find a relevant insurance policy, my client’s chances of getting compensation for his damages are much higher, and the case will also end in a shorter period of time.