Public defender

Insurance Business Magazine

May 21, 2020

IBA: Before you started Poms & Associates, you focused on the issue of sexual abuse at Gallagher. Can you tell us more about that

David Poms: [When] Gallagher hired me, [they] focused on two major areas – one was Catholic dioceses and the other was public entities, so I was assigned some Catholic diocese accounts. A lot of the claims started with the priests, but it was pretty early on in the ’80s and [grew] into dramatic numbers in the ’90s. I very much got involved with the molestation claims back then, which was not only disconcerting, but you had a certain respect for priests, and finding out that they were involved in this was tough for me to manage mentally.

When these claims started to arise, [dioceses] denied that these things ever happened. They would hide some of the employees; they couldn’t testify or defend themselves, and that was an interesting way for them to manage these cases.

We had to help them change that culture in respect to handling and managing claims, so some of the accounts that we were involved in developed teams where you would have outside legal counsel, a layperson, a therapist and the diocese, and you would have a team approach to help manage the claims. You got a lot of perspectives from different disciplines to help manage the claims rather than to deny them or hide the fact that they existed. That was a big change with many of the dioceses early on, and those that implemented this team approach managed the claims much better than others.

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