E&O Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
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August 2009
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    Letter from the Editor
    We have a number of excellent risk management articles in this month's edition of E&O Prevention, by some of the industry's leading experts on RM trends for agents and brokers.

    In addition, we are pleased to announce that Agents of America is making available on-line the first chapter of the long-awaited AoA eBook, "Thirteen Things Every Insurance Agent and Broker Should Know." This first chapter discusses the vital cutting-edge topic of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), which applies RM techniques to all facets of an agency's business.

    - Britton Weimer, Editor
    Table of Contents

    Are Your Sales Calls "Web 2.0 Compliant"
    By Mark Hunter

    Make Yourself Better
    By Robert Stuberg

    Guiding Rules for Buyers - Conclusion
    By Daniel B. Price

    Marketing Communications Plans:
    Setting a Course for Success

    By Dorene Taylor

    E&O As A Recruiting Tool
    By Sheri Pontolillo

    What Exactly is Cloud Computing...and Why Should I Care?
    By Marvin Zalevsky

    Investigating Harassment Claims
    By Joseph A. Starr, J.D.

    An Insured's Right to Have Independent Defense Counsel at the Insurer's Expense
    By Joseph P. Monteleone, J.D.

    Excellent Leaders are Excellent Cheerleaders
    By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

    Are Your Sales Calls "Web 2.0 Compliant"
    By Mark Hunter

    In the past five years, we have all experienced changes in how customers interact with us as agents. Even more dramatic has been the change in attitude among prospective clients. Gone are the days when you would encounter the blank stare of a prospective client, who would then expect you to educate them about how insurance works.

    Read More...

    Make Yourself Better
    By Robert Stuberg

    It's a curious irony that although everyone wants the best life has to offer, the vast majority of the world's population never discovers the secret for improving their lives. This requires discovering the simple but important secret that we only improve our lives when we improve ourselves. Stated another way, you could simply say that the secret to making your life better is making yourself better!

    Read More...

    Guiding Rules for Buyers - Conclusion
    By Daniel B. Price

    Last month we continued our discussion of guiding rules for agency buyers to remember when embarking down the road to acquisition growth; rules previously covered include: Clearly Define the Acquisition Strategy, Establish Pricing Rational and Metrics, Be Flexible and Creative, Give Due Diligence Its Just Do, Engage Professional Advisors and It is Okay to Walk Away. This month, we finish our discussion of guiding rules for buyers with: Remember that Buying is Selling, Don't Overestimate Synergistic Value, Realize that Things Will Change and Thinking the Deal is Done.

    Read More...

    Marketing Communications Plans:
    Setting a Course for Success
    By Dorene Taylor

    "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
    Benjamin Franklin

    Creating a Marketing Communication Plan for your organization is critical to branding and marketing success. It's a roadmap for understanding your customers, defeating your competition, managing your marketing expenses, and measuring the success of your marketing efforts.

    Read More...

    E&O As A Recruiting Tool
    By Sheri Pontolillo

    When trying to attract new producers to your organization, whether you are an agency, investment advisory firm or broker-dealer, you do your best to march out every benefit the firm has to offer the target recruit. These benefits often include tangibles ranging from products to software to payouts. Intangibles are just as important, such as your firm's goodwill and reputation, location and personalities.

    Read More...

    What Exactly is Cloud Computing...and Why Should I Care?
    By Marvin Zalevsky

    OK...so you've heard the buzz...everybody is talking about Cloud Computing. Microsoft is hyping it. Google is staking a huge piece of their future on it. Every technology start-up attempting to raise interest from the venture capital community is peppering their business plans with it. But what exactly is this mystical-sounding stuff? Computing in thin air? Computing in the fog? Is it vaporware? And, most importantly...why should you as an insurance agent care? We'll answer that main question and provide a simple definition of this mystical pizza in this article. So, grab a cup of java and read on!

    Read More...

    Investigating Harassment Claims
    By Joseph A. Starr, JD

    It has never been more important for employers to conduct an appropriate and thorough investigation when faced with a harassment complaint based upon a protected class (age, race, sex, disability, national origin, etc.). The employer can assert a two-part defense by establishing: (1) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassing behavior; and (2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to otherwise avoid harm.

    Read More...

    An Insured's Right to Have Independent Defense Counsel at the Insurer's Expense
    By Joseph P. Monteleone, JD

    The issue of who chooses and who pays for counsel to defend an insured arises often under specialty lines policies. While resolution of the issue is fairly clear in so-called "indemnity type" policies such as most public company D&O forms, the issue is a bit more complicated in the duty to defend type policies common in the professional malpractice and E&O lines, as well as private company and not-for-profit D&O and other management liability forms.

    Read More...

    Excellent Leaders are Excellent Cheerleaders
    By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

    GREAT LEADERS USE RELATIONSHIP SECRET

    Question: What is a secret shared by fantastic leaders and also great spouses and life partners? Answer: Cheerleading!

    That is, people with excellent leadership skills cheerlead after
    * positive events
    * victories
    * a job well done

    They also buoy up employees who experience a setback, bad news, or mistake.

    Read More...




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