E&O Weekly Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
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August 2, 2012


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Letter from the Editor
This week edition of AOA E&O Prevention:

AgentsofAmerica.ORG announces a new Strategic Partnership with the MobileWebsites.com 


In his monthly column, Mobile Website and Marketing Expert Gus Skarlis reveals the top strategies that will help you dominate the mobile web. Did you know that by 2013 more people will be accessing the web from mobile phones than from PC's? In fact, there are almost 5 times more mobile phones than laptop or desktop computers and right now over 60% of the world's population has a smart phone. But what does all of this mean to you? Well, to start off it means that you should start to develop a mobile strategy for your business so you can take advantage of the new mobile search engines and start getting all of the free mobile traffic. Studies show that the most popular types of information being looked for is an address, more information on a business in the area and a phone number. Mobile users are much more likely to take action and therefore you need to give them what they are looking for. To get started the first thing you should do is develop a mobile optimized version of your website. This is a separate website that is mobile compatible and it will make it much easier for your mobile visitors to find your business and request additional information from you. In our next issue I will discuss how to build a "Take Action" mobile website that will double your response rates.


Table of Contents     


How well do you understand your own E&O policy?

By Curtis Pearsall


Question of Social Media Account Ownership Need Not be a Problem for Employers

By Rob Fischer, Esq., Joseph J. Lazzarotti, Esq. & Alexander Nemiroff, Esq


 "First Thing We Do is Kill All the Lawyers": The Importance of Retaining Counsel to Secure Work Product Protection of Witness Statements and Witness Identities in California

By Joseph J. DeHope, Jr. Esq., and Pamela Woodside, Esq.  


Failure to Issue a Written Litigation Hold Not Necessarily Fatal

By Thomas Tobin Esq.



We also would like to extend an invitation for you to join AOA's LinkedIn group at AGENTS OF AMERICA. Also our affiliated Insurance Open Network, a LinkedIn open networking group for all insurance professionals.
AgentsofAmerica.ORG has partnered with WebCE, a leading nationwide provider of Continuing Education for insurance professionals, to provide you with state-approved self-study CE courses to satisfy your CE requirements online! Check out your CE State Requirements.
Also available is our most recent edition of "AOA Tips, Views, News & More," including our new feature "Insurance Resources."  Remember to tell your friends and business associates that membership in AgentsofAmerica.ORG is FREE! Also if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please email me at info@agentsofamerica.org.  


"Bringing the Best Together"

Brit Weimer 



AOA News, Views, Tips and More



E&O Loss Prevention Tip 

Description of Claim:


Allegations against the Agent:  An agent was asked to place homeowner's coverage for a client whose home was purchased for $350,000. The home was in a brush zone and was placed with the California Fair Plan with limits on the structure for $350,000. The coverage provided Actual Cash Value as opposed to replacement cost coverage. As a result of a wildfire, the house was destroyed.

The carrier paid $225,000 for the actual cash value. The insured alleged that the agent should have procured replacement cost coverage and that the limits were insufficient to rebuild the structure.


The underlying loss:  Fire loss from California Wildfires.


Damages:  $130,000.


Risk Management Tip:  Educating your client on the types of policies which are available is critical in cases like this.  Documentation illustrating that the agent discussed both the actual cash value and the replacement cost option would have assisted in the defense of this claim.  If the client selects the lesser option, have the client acknowledge in writing the lesser coverage.


Brought to you by:

CalSurance Associates - A Division of Brown & Brown Program Insurance Services, Inc.  -  Email:  info@calsurance.com or 

Phone (800) 745-7189 



Financial Tip of the Month

By Mike Brady of the Brady Financial Group, LLC.


The focus point of most, if not all agency transaction is the Customer List/Book of BusinessEven though this is the major asset the buyer is acquiring, buyers' don't always spend the time necessary to understand what makes this up. Here are some areas we suggest you focus on. Review the makeup of the book of business and identify any concentration of accounts.  Determine if the book is over reliant on one client, industry or carrier. Ask questions about the financial stability of the clients, are there any concerns? Are clients' possible acquisition targets that the seller may know about? Any concerns from an underwriting perspective? Are carriers looking to non-renew an account, if so will that have an impact on the transaction? Who controls the top client relationships? Is that producer staying on with you after the acquisition? Does a sale trigger any clauses in their employment agreement? Review all carrier agreements to make sure they will transfer to you at the time of the acquisition.


This list is not meant to be all encompassing but is meant to demonstrate the number of areas that should be reviewed prior to a transaction.  Finding out after the fact, that an account you just purchased is selling the business or had a big loss that will impact your profitable book with a carrier, is too late.  Consider using a professional resource during the due diligence stage of your transaction to help make sure these and other areas are properly addressed.


Contact Mike at mike@bradygrp.com or Visit Brady Financial Group(484) 653-6280


By Cynthia Cavoto of Firebrand Social Media


Marketing Effectively With Email


Like any type of marketing, email marketing involves a great deal of time and effort to ensure the marketing campaign is effective. This is important because an ineffective marketing campaign of any type is a waste of money and resources. Spending a great deal of time, energy and money into an email marketing campaign which is not reaching the members of the target audience and is not convincing recipients of the email to make a purchase or visit your website is not worthwhile. This article will discuss how to implement an effective email marketing strategy to ensure your business, financial and personal goals are being met.


One of the most important aspects of marketing effectively with email is to ensure your marketing efforts are reaching the members of your target audience. One way to do this is to ask former customers as well as potential customers to join your email distribution list. This will help to ensure the majority of members on your email distribution list have an actual interest in your products or services. This is important because you are much more likely to generate sales when you are marketing to this type of an audience than you would if you were marketing to a much larger audience without an interest in your products.


Another aspect of marketing effectively is to hire an experienced professional writer to draft the content for your emails, e-newsletters, email courses or any other methods you are using to email your message to potential customers. Having your content written can give you a significant edge over the competition if they are drafting their content themselves. The quality of your content is a reflection on your business and poorly written content with no substance will reflect poorly on your business.


Effective email marketing should also be written in a manner which will appeal to the target audience. If necessary you should conduct market research to determine demographical information for your target audience. This research may also determine preferences the target audience may have for receiving marketing information. This may include the type of language used, the format of the emails, the layout of the emails and even aesthetic appearance of the emails. Paying attention to these details can make the email marketing campaign significantly more effective.


Finally, effective email marketing should not be viewed as spam. This is a difficult situation. In many cases an email marketing campaign will involve distributing mass emails but care should be taken in these endeavors to avoid having these emails construed as spam. This is important because many Internet service providers include spam filters which apply algorithms to each email account to determine which messages are spam and which ones are legitimate. Emails which are deemed to be spam may never reach the intended recipients. Emails which may it through the spam filters may also be automatically deleted if the Internet user believes it looks like spam. For this reason care should be taken to ensure all marketing emails provide quality content, advertise only subtly and ideally are only sent to email recipients who have specifically requested information about your products or services. This will give you the best opportunity possible to reach your target audience and have a positive impression on them and hopefully entice them to make a purchase or visit your website.


This month's EBook is entitled, "How to Get More Traffic with Twitter Lists


Each month, we will feature a brand new Social Media EBook that contains valuable information on how you can harness the power of social media. Each featured EBook will contain a wealth of information that will include such topics as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Email and Blogging to name a few. Contact Cynthia at cynthia@agentsofamerica.org. or cynthia@firebrandsocialmedia.com


A1How well do you understand your own E&O policy?

By Curtis Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA of Pearsall Associates


Obviously for an insurance agency, their E&O coverage is much needed protection and actually could be one of their most important coverages. Yet, how many agents truly understand their E&O policy? For that matter, how many agents have even read the policy; what's covered, who's covered, etc. Is the policy on a claims made basis or claims made and reported? These are the types of issues that agents need to be aware of.  












A2Question of Social Media Account Ownership Need Not be a Problem for Employers 

By Rob Fischer, Esq., , Joseph J. Lazzarotti, Esq. & Alexander Nemiroff, Esq. of Jackson Lewis LLP


Disputes between employers and departing employees over the ownership of social media accounts are on the docket of a number of federal district courts throughout the nation. Employers in these cases are asserting ownership over company Twitter and LinkedIn profiles claiming, among other things, that they contain "trade secrets." Employees dispute these contentions by pointing out that there is nothing "secret" about social media profiles and that employers have no inherent property interests in Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. 






Firebrand Social Media   





A3"First Thing We Do is Kill All the Lawyers": The Importance of Retaining Counsel to Secure Work Product Protection of Witness Statements and Witness Identities in California

By Joseph J. De Hope, Jr. Esq., and Pamela Woodside Esq. of KDVG LLP   


On June 25, 2012, the California Supreme Court clarified the work product protection to include recorded witness statements and the identities of witnesses interviewed by, or at the request of counsel. In Coito v. Superior Court (Sup. Ct., June 25, 2012), the Supreme Court held: (i) recorded witness statements are entitled to qualified work product protection; (ii) witness identities may be entitled to qualified work product protection if an attorney establishes that disclosing the identities would permit her adversary to obtain an "undue advantage" of her industry and efforts; and (iii) witness statements and witness identities may be entitled to absolute work product protection where an attorney can show disclosing such information would reveal her "impressions, conclusions, opinions, legal research or theories."   



A4Failure to Issue a Written Litigation Hold Not Necessarily Fatal   
By Thomas Tobin Esq. of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP


On July 10, 2012, the Second Circuit rejected the Southern District of New York's January 2010 holding in Pension Committee v. Banc of America that the failure to issue a written litigation hold is gross negligence, per se, and may give rise to an adverse inference. It held instead, in Chin v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that the better approach is to consider the failure to adopt good preservation practices as one factor in the determination of whether discovery sanctions should issue.   

This newsletter is produced in conjunction with Agents of America, www.agentsofamerica.org. The contents of which may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Agents of America. Copyright 2012