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15 Tips to Improve Subrogation Recovery

There are several factors that can impact the outcome of successful subrogation and recovery. Each of which can hurt profit and the bottom line. However, it’s important to always consider the balance of potential recovery and the cost of doing so.

Here are 15 tips to help you improve your subrogation recovery:

  1. Subrogation is not an afterthought
    Subrogation is an integral part of the insurance process, so it should be treated as such. Procedures should be in place throughout the claims process to account for the necessary evidence and reporting to support a subrogation claim should it be necessary.

  2. Lack of cooperation by the policyholder
    The claims process is not something many insureds look forward to. They may be suspicious or unwilling to help based on their recent experience, but their support is crucial for gathering the necessary evidence to make subrogation possible.

  3. Lack of communication between the claims and subrogation teams
    An open line of communication between the two can help to identify recovery potential before it’s too late to present a claim. It can also help to ensure access to evidence and information for the recovery specialist. Having adjusters include a section for subrogation potential or the reason none exists can be extremely useful for continuity.

  4. Lack of supporting documentation
    Supporting evidence is crucial to establishing liability against a third party. Obtaining this information early in the claims process ensures it will be available should the need for subrogation come up.

  5. Spoliation of evidence
    Spoliation occurs when someone with an obligation to preserve evidence neglects or intentionally fails to do so. While this is not always preventable, fast documentation and open communication with relevant parties can help to reduce spoliation.

  6. Statutes of limitations
    Although it will vary based on state, recovery specialists should be aware of the time frames to file a subrogation claim. Allowing claims to simply age out is the easiest way to limit subrogation recovery.

  7. Limitations of desk adjusting
    Having an adjuster at the scene of the loss can be helpful in addressing potential subrogation, obtaining witness statements, or ensuring the insured can make the evidence available for recovery personnel. During peak periods, desk adjusting may be prioritized to ensure customer service and timely claims processing.

  8. Overlooking low-dollar claims
    It can be easy to rush low-dollar claims to focus on larger losses. However, even small amounts can become large ones, and claims without documentation can add up to missed opportunities of significant loss recoveries.

  9. First party payments
    For first-party claim payments, you will need to prove that the amount paid was appropriate, reasonable, and well documented. Only actual cash value can be recovered, even the full replacement cost was paid out.

  10. Cutting costs can end up costing you
    Even when subrogation potential is obvious, a conscious decision can be made to avoid incurring subrogation attorneys’ fees. That is until it’s too late and not enough time is provided to conduct a thorough investigation to substantiate the claim.

  11. Recovery preclusion: executing a release with an adverse carrier
    In the event that a policyholder executes a release for damages other than those their carrier is paying under the insuring agreement, this can bar subrogation recovery from the adverse party in most cases. However, if the adverse carrier was placed on notice before they settled and sent the release to the insured, they may still be responsible for the subrogation claim.

  12. Subrogation is a tort, not a debt
    This means that claims are not subject to FDCPA in court. Defendants, in the past, have tried to use assertions of FDCPA violations as leverage against collectors. Although there are some state laws that are contrary to this, it’s important to protect yourself.

  13. Expansive rights of insurer
    Insurers possess all the rights of the insured against responsible third parties, even if those rights are contractual rather than founded on tort law.

  14. Subrogation waiver
    Contractual waiver of subrogation provisions are typically upheld in court, however, it’s best to have this reviewed by subrogation counsel to confirm its legitimacy. The additional fees are often worth the investment.

  15. Time and focus
    Every dollar of subrogation recovered goes to the bottom line. Every dollar that ages out and gets written off is profit lost. When subrogation opportunity exceeds the capacity of your team, consider outside support.


Should you need help with your subrogation claims, US Claim Solutions is here to help! We’re available to service your claims 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nationwide.


Email us at or give us a call at (888) 701-1153.


Written by Greg Church

President, US Claim Solutions

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