President’s Message

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.


Mary McCutcheon, ACCEC President

June 2018

Dear ACCEC Fellows:

Many thanks to Stacy Broman and Jason Mazer, as well as all the panelists and attendants, for such an entertaining and insightful Sixth Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 17 and 18. Once again, I was reminded of the reason why I care so much about this organization -- we are a college of terrific, committed attorneys who love coverage law (some might call us coverage geeks) who appreciate the chance to connect with and learn from our peers on both sides of the “v”. I am looking forward to the Seventh Annual Meeting in 2019, which will be co-chaired by Jim Cooper and Linda Bondi Morrison, with Angela Elbert and Rob Kole as Vice Chairs.

I look forward to working with all of you, and, in particular, Immediate Past President Bruce Celebrezze, President-Elect Michael Aylward, and Secretary-Treasurer Sheri Pastor. The Officers, along with Regents Wayne Taylor and Meghan Magruder, act as the Executive Committee, which works to advance the mission of the ACCEC and continue our strategic planning process. I want to also thank our continuing Regents, Michael Huddleston, Deb Varner, Troy Froderman, Steve Pate, Stacy Broman, and Laura Foggan and newly appointed Regents, Chris Mosley, Helen Michael, Andy Downs, and Marty Pentz, for their support and leadership. I want to extend thanks to our outgoing Regents, Richard Bryan and Mark Lawless, for their invaluable service.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Executive Director Carol Montoya, Devon Kotch, and their team at Potomac Management Resources for all that they do to support our efforts.


What to Look for in 2018-19

Name Change

After much consideration and input from our Board and Membership, we have decided to change our name to the American College of Coverage Counsel. Our mission remains the same: to advance the creative, ethical, and efficient adjudication of insurance coverage and extracontractual disputes. However, we believe that the new name better communicates our brand to the legal and business community. Expect the legal requirements to be completed and a formal announcement soon.

Strategic Planning

The Strategic Planning Committee which consists of the Executive Committee, and Fellows Peter Gillon and Bob Allen, with Mike Aylward as its Chair, will continue its goals of enhancing the visibility of the college within the legal community, engaging Fellows in ACCEC activities, and developing leadership among younger (a relative term, I know) Fellows.


We have combined our Publications, Social Media and Website, and Communications Committees into one “Super” Communications Committee, tasked with keeping Fellows apprised of College accomplishments and letting the legal and insurance communities know what we are doing. The committee is chaired by Angela Elbert, Rob Kole, and Mark Lawless with active involvement by Board Liaisons Mike Huddleston and Steve Pate. Their goals include the following:

  • Maintain a robust website, packed with content.
  • Publish a newsletter to deliver that content to you in a form that can be shared with colleagues and clients. Of course, the amount and value of the content depends on its contributors, which are all of you. If you submit it, we will publish it.
  • Assist the substantive Committees in producing webinars on various topics, open to Fellows and the legal community as a whole. Upcoming topics include ALI and appraisals in Florida and Texas.

Outreach Committee

Marty Pentz and Andy Downs will co-chair a new Outreach Committee, which will oversee all initiatives that are designed to engage members of the legal community beyond the ACCEC. These include:

The 2018 American University Washington College of Law Symposium in Washington, DC, chaired by Bob Kelly, Helen Michael, and Scott Godes. Online registration is now open.

The Annual ACCEC Law School Practice Skills Writing Competition. Congratulations to our 2018 winners Jessica Peterman (University of Missouri School of Law), Benjamin Paulsen (University of Illinois College of Law), and Cliff Breese (Villanova University School of Law), all of whom will be starting careers in insurance coverage practices in the Fall.

Mediator and judicial trainings on how insurance coverage impacts their work.


Jodi McDougall and Spence Taylor will co-chair the annual meet-up effort this Fall. These meet-ups are a great way to connect with local Fellows, generate suggestions for local activities and identify potential new Fellows. If you look around the room and think “why isn’t X here? They should be a member!” send those names to Membership Committee Co-Chairs Koorosh Talieh and Lisa Pake.

Other Committees

The committees met in Chicago and are full of ideas for the year. If you weren’t there, or didn’t have a chance to sign up, please use this link to contact the Co-Chairs of the Committee(s) in which you are interested. Note that we have a new committee, Blockchain and Virtual Currencies, co-chaired by Mary Borja and Steve Palley. Even if you think this topic isn’t relevant to your practice now, it will be soon. So, join and stay informed of new developments in the field.

As you can see, the College has a lot to accomplish this next year.  But we can only do so with the efforts of our Fellows. I count about 30 Regents and Fellows named in this message, and an additional 20 dedicated Co-Chairs lead the committees not mentioned above. That is only a fraction of our Membership. We look to all of you to become involved, to get to know other Fellows in the ACCEC, and to let us know not only what we can do to make the ACCEC more relevant to your practice, but also how you can help to get us there. I look forward to seeing you at the DC Symposium or a local meet-up — or chatting with you on the phone about ideas you have to further the mission of the soon-to-be American College of Coverage Counsel.


Mary McCutcheon