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Simply stated, insurance policy deductibles or retentions are a dollar threshold that must be satisfied before an insurer will pay any defense or indemnity costs on a claim. Many insureds  seek to contain their insurance premium costs by purchasing policies with substantial six to nine-figure retentions or deductibles. Unsurprisingly, insurers tend to charge lower premiums if the insured is willing to retain more dollar risk for itself through retentions or deductibles. Suffice it to say that both retentions and deductibles are loss-shifting mechanisms, which shift away from the insurer a portion of the loss otherwise covered by an insurance policy.

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In late-2007, I returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq with 2-27th Infantry Battalion. We were stationed at Forward Operating Base McHenry, a relatively remote base, responsible for a large area east of the Tigris River and south of Kirkuk.

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