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October 2009
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    September 2009


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    Letter from the Editor
    Agents of America is pleased to make available on-line the third chapter of its eBook, "Thirteen Things Every Insurance Agent and Broker Should Know." This third chapter provides "A Buyer's Guide to Obtaining Comprehensive D&O Insurance Coverage." Chapters one, two and three are available on the AoA web site for your convenience.

    In addition, AoA is pleased to announce its partnership with IEA, a premier provider of training and development for the property casualty, risk management and disability management industries. IEA offers all major Insurance Institute courses, including ARM, INS and the CPCU designation. We will be working with them in developing our next eBook, "A Practical Guide to Insurance Agents & Brokers Risk Management." Our plan is not only to develop the content and course material but to also work with IEA and to have the content qualified for Continuing Education.

    - Britton Weimer, Editor
    Table of Contents

    Run Your Business As If It Is Going on the Sales Block
    By Daniel B. Price

    Brokers Must Comply with FTC "Red Flags"
    Data Protection Rule starting November 1, 2009

    By Louis H. Castoria

    When You Don't Want E&O Coverage
    By Sheri Pontolillo

    How to Grow RRGs in the Future
    By Tal P. Piccione

    Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements
    By Joseph Starr,JD

    Are Your Prepared for the Lawsuit?
    By Paul Halter, CPCU, CIC, CRM

    Managing Your Career
    By Ed Rosa

    Do Your Words Promote or Demote?
    By Debora McLaughlin

    When is an Independent Contractor Really an Employee?
    By Robin Foret, JD

    Account Rounding: Leveraging Your Current Book's Buried Assets
    By Marvin Zalevsky

    Ten Tips to Prepare for a Deposition
    By Kathleen M. Bonczyk, JD

    Why Securities Fraud Class Actions Are Rarely Tried
    Joseph Monteleone, JD

    Discovering Your Secret Wealth
    By Robert Stuberg

    Run Your Business As If It Is Going on the Sales Block
    By Daniel B. Price

    Whether one is looking to sell, buy, or grow organically, the preparation and organization of an agency's financial, book of business and corporate information as if a sale is imminent should start today. This month we begin a series of articles that discuss what you can begin doing today to put your operation on course to maximize value and ease the transition when in fact it becomes time to explore exit opportunities.

    Read More...

    Brokers Must Comply with FTC "Red Flags"
    Data Protection Rule starting November 1, 2009
    By Louis H. Castoria

    The Federal Trade Commission's "Red Flags" Rule is designed to protect personally identifiable information from data thieves. Insurance brokerage firms and other service providers that receive payment after their services have been delivered are required to comply. The compliance deadline is November 1, 2009-data breaches on or after that day may be subject to penalties of up to $3,500 per violation, and could also result in prosecution for violation of state consumer protection or deceptive trade practices laws. Such laws may permit private individuals to sue and recover treble damages, attorney's fees and/or litigation costs.

    Read More...

    When You Don't Want E&O Coverage
    By Sheri Pontolillo

    Until tort reform becomes a reality, it is a sad fact that our liability insurance system has become, in some cases, an environment that feels akin to legalized extortion. There is no shortage of plaintiff attorneys who will take cases on a contingency basis and try to shake a settlement out of the insurance tree for clients who know full well their agent or advisor did nothing wrong. Desperate people do desperate things and when a client suffers a loss that is not covered by insurance, they will often turn to their agent or advisor because "somebody's gonna pay."

    Read More...

    How to Grow RRGs in the Future
    By Tal P. Piccione

    A new pool of capital is being formed for growing Risk Retention Groups (RRG). RRGs are in need of capital to grow and provide attractive opportunities for investors, including reinsurance companies, hedge funds, private equity funds, and fronting companies. I believe the reinsurance industry could take a more dynamic part in helping RRGs achieve their potential.

    Read More...

    Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements
    By Joseph Starr, JD

    Non-competition agreements generally place limitations upon an employee's ability to compete against the employer by either working for a competitor or operating a competing business. Most of these agreements limit competition for a certain period of time after the voluntary or involuntary termination of the employee's working relationship with the employer.

    Read More...

    Are Your Prepared for the Lawsuit?
    By Paul Halter

    You treat your employees very well, provide a great picnic, holiday party, and let employees go when the school nurse calls. And, now, before you is a charge of discrimination for some reason you don't understand and you don't believe you did anything wrong. You may not have done anything so what do you do?

    Read More...

    Managing Your Career
    By Ed Rosa

    Step One: What Do You Want?

    During the course of a year I speak with literally thousands of professionals in the Medical & Professional Liability Insurance industry. Many people tell me they are unhappy with their careers. Over the years I've learned the number one reason for a lack career fulfillment is, not knowing exactly what you want from your career.

    Read More...

    Do Your Words Promote or Demote?
    By Debora McLaughlin

    Are you empowering others each time you speak? Have you noticed that whenever you talk to someone, the energy seems to fade away and the other person seems uninterested? Then after the interaction there is a feeling of sadness and your enthusiasm is simply gone. If these things happen, then it is time to analyze yourself and work on your empowering skills.

    Read More...

    When is an Independent Contractor Really an Employee?
    By Robin Foret, J.D.

    The story is all too familiar. A company engages the services of an individual as an independent contractor. In reliance on this type of relationship, the company does not deduct payroll taxes from compensation amounts paid, does not pay the individual overtime, does not provide company benefits, and takes other positions consistent with the existence of an independent contractor arrangement. Several months or even years later, taxing authorities and/or other governmental agencies notify the company that the individual has been misclassified, and that the company must pay substantial amounts in taxes, overtime or other charges associated with the error.

    Read More...

    Account Rounding: Leveraging Your Current Book's Buried Assets
    By Marvin Zalevsky

    Most agents overlook the gold mine buried in their current customer base. Actually, most businesses, of all kinds, do the same. For some reason, the focus to pursue new customers wins out over growing revenue by satisfying more needs of the current customer base. In this article, we'll take a look at how a small, focused effort toward account rounding can yield a massive improvement in agency profitability, while providing better service to customers. Interested? Read on...

    Read More...

    Ten Tips to Prepare for a Deposition
    Kathleen M. Bonczyk, JD

    Chances are that at some point in an agent's career, he or she will be deposed - if not once, several times.

    A deposition can be stressful and intimidating. It will likely be held in a court reporter's office, with the reporter asking you to raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Everything you say thereafter will be taken down on the transcription machine by the reporter. An attorney will question you probing questions regarding the matter at issue in the lawsuit. Legal objections maybe interjected by the other side's attorney. In certain cases, your deposition will be videotaped, so there will also be a videographer in the room.

    Read More...

    Why Securities Fraud Class Actions Are Rarely Tried
    By Joseph Monteleone, JD

    Securities fraud class actions are the paradigm high exposure claims in the world of D&O insurance. In the so-called modern era of securities fraud class actions, incepting with passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, there have been nine (9) of these class actions that resulted in settlements over $1 billion. Median settlement value is well into the eight figures, and even the average or mean settlement value is close to $10 million. Even a "nuisance settlement" may range anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a little over a million dollars.

    Read More...

    Discovering Your Secret Wealth
    By Robert Stuberg

    Do you really want to be wealthy?

    Now most people will quickly respond "Yes!" to this question without giving it much consideration, but it does merit some careful thought. As you know, there is a cost to everything we do. And achieving any significant goal always requires that we invest something of ourselves in the form of hard work and commitment. So you say you want to be wealthy, but what are you willing to sacrifice to reach your destination? And how will you know when you are there?

    Read More...






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