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  • InsideTrack
  • September 06, 2023

    Legal Research 101: Insurance Law Resources

    Insurance law is a vast and complex field. Find out the essential resources from law librarian Jenny Zook.

    Jenny Zook

    attorney holding virtual family with umbrella in hands

    Sept. 6, 2023 – The author of the Insurance Law Deskbook1 defines insurance as the “mother’s milk” of the legal profession. Rather than hint – humorously – that a lawyer’s purpose is to “milk” the insurance industry, I say rather that during a natural disaster, lawyers and insurance both serve the community, and the services they provide are essential to recovery.

    When the damage is overwhelming to a community, as is the case in the aftermath of a flooding or a wildfire event, funding may require private and public insurance. Wisconsin had a busy year for extreme weather events, including wildfires,2 storm damage, heavy flooding, extreme heat, and the worst drought conditions in a decade.3

    This article provides insurance law resources for legal professionals as well as government and association resources that provide insurance information on public insurance grants and programs.

    In Wisconsin: General Comprehensive Insurance Treatises

    Most insurance law is state law, which is why Anderson on Wisconsin Insurance Law – a popular two-volume practice guide published by the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® – is a good starting point. Volume II covers fire and property insurance in Wisconsin. You can find this title both in full-text online in PINNACLE’s Books Unbound, as well as in print.

    Genevieve Zook Genevieve Zook is the reference & instructional services librarian at the U.W. Law Library. She is currently chair of the Public Relations Committee and past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin, a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

    Although you will find many specialized secondary insurance treatises, handbooks, and guides in all three major legal databases, there are two major general treatises that are multivolume sets that cover all aspects of insurance law:

    Couch on Insurance 3d is available in print at the Wisconsin State Law Library and online on Westlaw Precision.

    Holmes’ Appleman on Insurance, 2d and New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide are available at the University of Wisconsin Law Library and online on Lexis+.

    CLE Programs

    Continuing legal education programs help to keep practitioners up-to-date on insurance law. Check out the upcoming “Insurance Coverage in Wisconsin 2023” from PINNACLE, which is available both in person and online as a webcast seminar on dates in October, November, and December 2023 and January 2024.

    For more options, it is easy to search WisBar’s Marketplace for current offerings of CLE programs on insurance law.

    Law Journals and Periodicals

    For articles on insurance law, which are useful for research on narrow or trending areas, the databases HeinOnline and Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP)are standard resources. Most articles in the databases are available in full text. If an article is not available in full text, contact a law library to scan a copy of the article for a small fee.

    As a reminder, both HeinOnline and ILP are available free to Wisconsin attorneys if you obtain a library card from the Wisconsin State Law Library.

    Wisconsin Laws and Regulations

    State Agency Websites

    City/County Resources

    Federal Resources

    Insurance Association Resources

    Library Guide on Insurance Law in Wisconsin

    The Wisconsin State Law Library provides a quick guide in their A-to-Z topics tab on Wisconsin Insurance Law.

    Weather Resources

    For those who need data from weather resources, check out this 2015 article in the State Bar’s InsideTrack from law librarian Laura Olsen: Avoid the Dark and Stormy Night: Online Weather Information Resources.


    1 This treatise is available in full-text on Fastcase, available with your State Bar membership.

    2 Drake Bentley, Wildfire in central Wisconsin spreads to 730 acres, multiple homes lost, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (July 10, 2023).

    3 Logan Rude, Most of Dane Co. faces extreme drought as conditions worsen throughout Southern Wisconsin, (July 6, 2023).

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