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Joseph A. Oliva Provides Insight into Forgery and Alteration Claims in The Brief


Joseph A. Oliva Provides Insight into Forgery and Alteration Claims in The Brief

June 22, 2023
Joseph A. Oliva

Joseph A. Oliva, a partner in the firm’s Global Insurance Services group, authored an article in ABA’s The Brief that explores the process and considerations of forgery and alteration claims.

Given that signatures can be forged on documents for wire transfers, fraudsters can impersonate executives leading to erroneous transfers of money. Thus, there is much to consider when claims are made for coverage.

In the article, Joe provides two hypothetical claims scenarios: one a financial institution bond claim, and the other, a commercial criminal bond claim. He explains how an analysis of either of these claims must focus on whether the loss a company endeavors is directly attributed to forgery or alteration.

“The insuring agreement language under fidelity or financial institution bonds and commercial crime policies is substantially similar, although slightly different,” Joe said. In the case of the financial institution bond claim, the protection provided by the financial institution bond insuring agreement must be referenced. Similarly, the commercial criminal bond claim must be analyzed for coverage under the insured’s commercial crime policy.

The article also outlines guidance on key questions to consider when looking at forgery or alteration claims:

  • Does the claim involve a covered instrument?
  • Can the claim involve an “unauthorized signature”?
  • Does combining or bundling the documents trigger coverage?
  • Did the loss result directly from the forgery or alteration?

Joe explains how insurers have adapted policies to grow with the needs of companies and organizations, by offering specialized and growing policies that align with latest trends in forgery such as coverage for deceptions via email.


Joseph A. Oliva concentrates his practice on civil and commercial litigation, insurance coverage analysis, and insurance coverage litigation. Joe’s practice also includes representing financial institutions in various commercial litigation matters and representing construction companies in catastrophic personal injury accidents. He has significant experience in all areas of financial institution coverage investigations and litigation involving fraud, social engineering, employee dishonesty, directors’ and officers’ liability, safe-deposit box loss, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, check kiting, ERISA fraud, and mortgage fraud matters. In addition, he handles subrogation work, particularly in the health care subrogation area. Joe has handled both state and federal litigation involving ERISA-based plans, Medicare advantage and general health care plans’ subrogation, and reimbursement rights throughout the northeast. His practice also focuses on bad faith litigation, property damage litigation, and errors and omissions coverage investigation.


Forgery or Alteration in the 21st Century,” The Brief, June 14, 2023 [Subscription Required]