President’s Message

Bruce Celebrezze

The American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel recognizes the preeminent leaders in the field of insurance coverage law. It unites policyholder and insurer-side counsel with academicians to achieve a common purpose: advancing the administration of justice while promoting the highest standards of advocacy in coverage and extracontractual disputes. The ACCEC calls on its almost 300 Fellows to exemplify the qualities of excellence, civility and professionalism in this critical area of the law.

January 2018

Happy New Year! With four months left of my year as President, I am proud to announce some of our more significant accomplishments. During 2017, the ACCEC sponsored two separate Symposia to further its mission of educating all sectors involved in insurance disputes on cutting edge issues and trends in insurance law and bad faith. The first Symposium was held February 10, 2017 at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. The second was recently held at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, where there were animated discussions about trends and the law. Mark your calendars for the ACCEC’s Fifth Law School Symposium, which will be held at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018.

We have continued to update the website and to add new Fellows, now boasting almost 300 nationwide. We have added a section of Member News, and feature an Article of the Month authored by one or more of our Fellows, including articles presented at the various Law School Symposia and Annual Meeting. We continue to circulate publishing opportunities to author (or repurpose) articles on significant insurance issues. In addition, we are adding a Calendar Section that will announce our upcoming meetings as well as industry meetings on insurance law issues of significance to our members. 

We announced the ACCEC Law School Practical Skills Writing Competition, inviting law students to address an issue of insurance law. These papers are due in March. In addition to receiving cash prizes, the top three students will be invited to attend the ACCEC Annual Meeting at the Westin Chicago River North hotel in Chicago on May 17-18, 2018 to experience our program on insurance law topics and to network with our Fellows. Preparations for the Annual Meeting are shaping up well; we will feature panels of some of the top insurance lawyers in the United States.

The 2018 Nominating Committee, led by Immediate Past President Mary Craig Calkins, will convene in accordance with our Bylaws to consider Fellows for the positions of Secretary-Treasurer and members of the Board of Regents. If you are interesting in serving, the Nominating Committee will be considering candidates for at least five positions on the Board (four positions with expiring terms, and one position where a Board member has retired and taken Emeritus status). Interested Fellows should submit their names to Executive Director Carol Montoya at no later than February 28, 2018.

It has been a great year of growth, both in our reach, our efforts to advance the creative and efficient adjudication of insurance coverage law and bad faith disputes, and provide peer-reviewed scholarship and membership opportunities. The ACCEC continues to provide a unique opportunity for the preeminent practitioners in this specialized area of the law, and we continue to encourage our Fellows to become active to further our interests and the law.

November 2017

The ACCEC is pleased to announce a Law School Practical Skills Writing Competition on Insurance Law Problem.

One of the missions of the ACCEC is to educate all sectors involved in insurance disputes – including the judiciary, law students, legal and insurance professionals, and businesses – on critical issues such as best practices in policy formation and claims handling and developing trends in insurance law and bad faith. To this end, the ACCEC sponsors a symposium at a law school in the United States each year. The ACCEC recently held its 2017 Symposium at the University of Michigan Law School.

In order to expand on the ACCEC’s goal of engaging law students in the area of insurance law, hoping that today’s law students will be interested in becoming the insurance lawyers of tomorrow, the ACCEC is pleased to announce this practical skills writing competition. In addition to receiving cash prizes, the top three students will be invited to attend the ACCEC Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 17-18, 2018. This will present a wonderful opportunity for these students to meet and network with some of the top insurance lawyers in the United States.

The competition materials can be downloaded here:
. If you have trouble downloading the file, contact Carol Montoya at

We believe that the materials are self-explanatory. We encourage all law students in the United States and Canada to participate, should they wish.

If you have any questions, you may contact me at the email address or phone number below. Thank you for your consideration.

Bruce D. Celebrezze
American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel


October 2017

We are pleased to inform all Fellows that the ACCEC has teamed up with the University of Connecticut Insurance Journal to publish papers written by ACCEC Fellows. The Journal will accept for consideration for publication either papers presented at our Annual Meeting or the Symposium, or original work. The Journal will mention the ACCEC for all papers published.

Brienne Hearn, the editor of the Journal informed us as follows:

Our journal is currently accepting articles for our Spring volume, which will publish in May. If any members of your organization are interested in submitting for publication, please let me know and pass along my email ( to them.

If you submit a paper, please send a cc of your email to the Co-Chairs and Board Liaison of our Communications Committee:

  • Steve Pate (
  • Steve Palley (
  • Mark Lawless (
  • Mary Craig Calkins (

I want to extend my sincere thanks to the Communications Committee for their outstanding efforts to enhance the brand of the ACCEC and create opportunities for our Fellows.

September 2017

Fellows will soon be receiving invitations to attend our annual Regional Receptions held in major cities around the country. Each fall, we try to get the Fellows together to visit and keep the ACCEC creative juices flowing. Once you receive the announcement from your local host, I hope that you will sign up and plan to attend.

The annual Law School Symposium is coming up in just one month. It will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017, at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan and CLE will be offered. Visit for a full agenda and to register.

Next spring’s Annual Meeting will be held on May 16-18, 2018, in Chicago. Plans are well under way. If you are interested in presenting at the Annual Meeting, please submit your ideas via this form:

Our newest initiative, the ACCEC Outreach Program, is taking shape. Our plan is to have a writing competition among law students on a set fact pattern involving coverage and bad faith issues. The students will write a brief in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment. The top three winners will be invited to attend the Annual Meeting in order to have the opportunity to network with ACCEC fellows. We are very excited about this program because it shows the commitment of ACCEC fellows to spread interest in insurance law among law students (or shall I say, future ACCEC Fellows).

Our Communications and Website/Social Media Committees are working to highlight the successes of our Fellows. Please submit your news and accomplishments (e.g., new positions, case law, awards won, etc.) to for inclusion in the Member News section of the website.

All of our thoughts are with our Fellows who are affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. If there is anything the ACCEC can do to help you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

May 2017

The ACCEC just celebrated our fifth anniversary at our Annual Meeting in Chicago. I am sure that those of you who attended will agree that it was a great event – the education, the fellowship, and the celebration were wonderful. We all look forward to our sixth Annual Meeting, which will be held in May 2018. A save-the-date notice will follow soon. Stacy Broman and Jason Mazer will serve as Co-Chairs of the meeting, working with Co-Vice Chairs Sara Thorpe and Jim Cooper.

I am very proud and humbled to being taking over as President of the ACCEC at this time. My predecessors – Tom Segalla, Lorie Masters, Ned Currie, and Mary Craig Calkins – worked tirelessly in the formative years of the ACCEC. I promise that I will do my very best to follow in their footsteps. I look forward to working with the other officers – Immediate Past President Mary Craig Calkins, President-Elect Mary McCutcheon, and newly-elected and well-deserving Secretary-Treasurer Michael Aylward – on many projects during the coming year. Board of Regent members Rick Bryan and Sheri Pastor will join us on the Executive Committee.

I want to extend a special welcome to newly-elected Board of Regent members Meghan Magruder, Steve Pate, and Laura Foggan, and returning Regent Troy Froderman; the entire Board looks forward to your insights and help. The officers and the board, along with our great Executive Director Carol Montoya and her team, all want to serve each of the Fellows in any way we can to make the ACCEC as relevant and beneficial as possible to your practices.

Some things to watch for in 2017-2018:

Strategic Planning. With the benefit of the survey results submitted by a large number of Fellows, the Board of Regents and the Strategic Planning Committee spent several months getting ready for, and then spent almost an entire day at the Annual Meeting attending, sessions with a consultant who is assisting the ACCEC in strategic planning. We plan to spend the next twelve months, and beyond, implementing the strategic planning goals. Our main areas of emphasis will be:

  • Branding. What is the ACCEC and what do our Fellows and others in the legal and “client” communities know and think about us?
  • Visibility. How should we raise visibility of the ACCEC for the benefit of our Fellows? 
  • Engagement. How will we get the Fellows more involved in the ACCEC?
  • Future of the ACCEC. How large or small should the ACCEC be, and how will the ACCEC deal with our demographics since many of our Fellows are approaching what might be thought of as retirement age? How will the ACCEC keep up the high bar for election to membership and not dilute the standards of excellence we have set for ourselves?

If you have ideas to help us implement our strategic planning goals, please get in touch with any member of the Board of Regents.

Communications and Website/Social Media. I expect our Communications and Website/Social Media Committees to be very busy during the next year getting the message out regarding what the ACCEC is all about and who we are. If you are interested in joining that cause, please sign up to be a member of the Communications Committee and/or the Website/Social Media Committee.

Law School Symposium. Our annual Law School Symposium will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is less than thirty minutes from the Detroit International Airport. We are hoping for a beautiful fall weekend. Michael Barnes and Christopher Mosley will co-chair the Michigan symposium. Even if you are not a speaker, we would really like to see more Fellows attend our symposia.

Committees. Immediate Past President Mary Craig Calkins devoted a great deal of energy during her term in getting our committees to be more active in having calls, sharing ideas, providing speakers and papers for the Annual Meeting and the symposia, creating work product, and developing content for the website. We will continue that effort during this year. The committees are a great way for a Fellow to be involved in the ACCEC and active committees are likely to help us in achieving our strategic goals.

Meet Ups. We will continue the one-year-old “tradition” of having meet ups in various cities around the country later in the year. This proved to be an excellent way for ACCEC fellows to stay in touch.

Outreach. I would like to take up on an idea that was floated in the very first year of the ACCEC – reaching out to law students who might have an interest in insurance law. We are anticipating that at least one student will be a speaker at the Michigan Symposium. If that works out, hopefully the ACCEC can make that a tradition. I would like to explore other ways in which the ACCEC might engage with law students. At one point, a writing competition was suggested with a cash stipend and perhaps an invitation to our Annual Meeting. If you are interested in working on an outreach project, please let me know.

Thank you again for being involved in the ACCEC. I hope to get to engage with many of the Fellows during the coming year.

Bruce Celebrezze