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Readying for Trouble: Yearlong Initiative by TIPS Focuses on Disaster Preparedness and Response

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The ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section has launched a yearlong schedule of programs on disaster preparedness and response.

Not surprisingly, given the section’s substantive orientation, much of the programming focuses on the key role that insurance plays in preparing for disasters—whether man-made or natural—and recovery efforts.

“This is what we do,” says Randy J. Aliment, TIPS chair and a member of Williams Kastner in Seattle. “We are the section in the best position to cover everything involved in a disaster.”

It’s important to think about insurance concerns, Aliment says, because they trigger efforts to stave off disasters. “Insurance has been involved since the first cargo ships came across the Atlantic to the New World,” he says. “When there is a horrific loss, you can bet insurance is involved.”


The section is using a variety of delivery platforms to make its programs, which generally qualify for CLE credits, accessible to lawyers.

A series of podcasts is running through June 2012. In September, the section presented 10 teleconferences on various aspects of dealing with disasters. Webcasts of those programs can be accessed through the section’s website.

The TIPS initiative also includes live programs. In October, the section’s fall meeting in Seattle will feature panels on how technology has changed homeland security efforts. In February, a program at the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans will focus on disasters caused by negligent acts. Disasters caused by acts of nature will be addressed at the TIPS spring meeting in May, and programs at the ABA Annual Meeting in August will discuss disasters caused by terrorist acts. Those programs also will be available for viewing as video webinars.

TIPS is receiving production support from Thomson Reuters, which has worked closely with the section on projects in recent years.

At the spring meeting, the section also will remember the human cost of disasters when it presents its annual Kirsten Christophe Memorial Award for Excellence in Trial and Insurance Law. Christophe, an attorney at Aon, was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. She was a member of the TIPS Council at the time. “She was very dear to many people in the section,” Aliment says.

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