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common interest doctrine

For years, cedents have been able to protect privileged information shared with a reinsurer from disclosure to its policyholder in a coverage dispute on the basis of the common interest doctrine.

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Generally, a party waives privilege if privileged information is disclosed to a third party. This doctrine is an exception to this general rule, permitting the sharing of privileged information with third parties who have a common legal interest in the outcome of a dispute. Recent case law suggests, however, that the common interest doctrine does not provide a blanket protection of privileged information shared between the cedent and its reinsurer, especially if there is no common legal interest.