E&O Weekly Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
  
November 1, 2012

 

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E&O Blog

Free eBook

Free Membership

Free Newsletter

Free Social Media EBooks

Market Solutions

Press Releases

Meet the Experts  

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Publisher

Insurance Blog

Recommended Reading

 

Insurance Resources

A.M. Best Search
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Letter from the Editor

Permitted Time Off to Vote 

By Paul DeCamp, Esq. , Richard Greenberg, Esq., & Daniel J. Jacobs, Esq., of Jackson Lewis LLP. 

As Election Day nears, employers should review their policies for compliance with state law requirements for providing employees with time off to vote. Some states have no such requirements, but others require all employers to provide employees with time off to vote and impose civil and/or criminal penalties for non-compliance.

 

State laws vary as to whether such time must be paid, the amount of notice, if any, employees must provide to an employer of their intention to vote and whether employers can designate the hours taken off to vote. Some jurisdictions even require postings to advise employees of voting leave rights.

 

Finally, some jurisdictions also obligate employers to provide employees time off to act as election officials and/or to serve in an elected office. Accordingly, employers should ensure they are prepared adequately to address employee requests for time off prior to Election Day so as not to violate any applicable laws and to minimize disruptions in the workplace.

 

Read More...

 

 

 

  
This week's edition of AOA E&O Prevention:

 

 

Table of Contents    

  

Insured v. Insured Exclusion

By Kathryn A. Formeller, Esq.

 

Courts Across The Nation Find Insurance Companies In Bad Faith

By Robert D. Chesler, Esq.

  

Federal Court Holds That Intentional Acts Exclusion Does Not Vitiate a Defense Obligation

By Ali Ryan Amin, Esq. 

 

By Mark Herskovitz, Esq.  

  

 

Outsourcing of Lawyers-Potential Liability and Ethical Problems

 

There has been a recent trend in the legal market for not only outsourcing paralegal work, but also outsourcing lawyers for traditional legal work and task-based assignments, such as contract review, at rates approximately half of what firms would traditionally charge clients. However, this trend of maximizing profits and reducing costs presents potential new avenues of liability for lawyers and professional liability carriers, as well as ethical issues, such as the unauthorized practice of law and effective conflicts checks. Please join us for this and other panel discussions at the "DRI's Professional Liability Seminar to be held December 6-7, 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City.  CLE Credits are available.                                                                                                                                               

Check out this week's edition of World Risk & Insurance News at WRIN.tv .

  

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." & "Recommended Reading".  Remember 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"

 

Britton D. Weimer, Esq.


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AOA News, Views, Tips and More

 

Pre-Employment Tests Prodcuce Excellent Employee Development Recommendations 

By Michael Mercer, Ph.D., President of Mercer Systems, Inc.

 

Use pre-employment tests for two purposes:  (1) hiring good employees and (2) developing/improving employees you hire.  When properly done, certain pre-employment tests help you develop and train employees to exhibit the terrific qualities of your best "superstar" employees.  

 

 

1st STEP = BENCHMARK SCORES OF YOUR COMPANY'S BEST EMPLOYEES

Start by having your best employees in each job take pre-employment tests, especially tests of

*  Behavior or Personality Tests

*  Mental Abilities Tests

 

Behavior tests assess interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations. 

 

Mental Abilities Tests assess brainpower in problem-solving, vocabulary, math, grammar, and handling small details. 

 

Your best employees' pre-employment test scores are your custom-tailored "benchmark scores" for the job.  When you hire job applicants, you could prefer applicants who get same scores as your best employees.  That helps you hire applicants who exhibit same work behavior and mental abilities as your best employees.

 

 

2ND STEP = USE PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST SCORES FOR EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

Sometimes, you might hire an applicant who gets some pre-hire test scores different than your best employees' benchmark scores.  When you do this, you use their pre-employment test scores to identify behaviors and mental abilities on which they need to improve or "develop." 

 

You sit down with the new employee, and say something like this:  "You want to succeed in your job.  Also, we want you to succeed in your job.  You took pre-employment tests.  On each pre-hire test scale on which you scored the same as our best "benchmark" employees, keep doing what you are doing.  But on each scale where you scored different than our best employees, I will help you improve or develop - so you will have the qualities our best employees have."

 

Example:  Let's say the new employee got same test scores as your best employees on Teamwork.  You say, "You scored like our best employees on Teamwork.  Keep doing what you do for Teamwork on-the-job." 

 

But, if the employees' Friendliness scores are lower than your company's best employees' Friendliness benchmark score, then you say, "Our best employees' pre-employment test scores are higher on Friendliness than your scores.  To help you succeed, I'll help you become friendlier."

 

Then, you can use what I did to create ready-to-use Employee Development Recommendations for my Behavior/Personality and Mental Abilities pre-employment tests.  Specifically, you tell the employee specific behaviors to use to improve Friendliness.  For instance, behaviors you recommend to increase the employee' Friendliness include (1) Smile, (2) Say "Hello" to a lot of people, and (3) Use person's name two or more times in each conversation. 

 

 

3RD STEP = 3 FOLLOW-UP MEETINGS WITH EMPLOYEE

The employee's manager MUST hold three follow-up meetings with the employee.  One meeting is not enough to make sure the employee improves.  Reason:  Employee development efforts fail when the employee's manager fails to make sure the employee actually uses the agreed upon employee development actions. 

 

Employee development efforts succeed when the manager

*  insists the employee improve on specific behaviors or abilities

*  follows-up multiple times in three pre-scheduled meetings

 

I recommend holding three follow-up meetings.  At each meeting, the employee tells the manager specific examples of putting the development recommendations into action.  For Friendliness improvement explained above, at all three follow-up meetings the employee must tell the manager specific examples of (1) smiling a lot, (2) saying "Hello" a lot, and (3) twice using name of people they talk with. 

 

 

USE PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS TO CUSTOMIZE EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

 

Pre-employment tests can serve as objective basis for excellent, customized employee development recommendations.  Start by establishing pre-hire tests "benchmarks" based on your best employees' test scores.  Benchmark both behavior or personality tests and mental abilities tests. 

 

If you hire a job applicant whose pre-employment test scores differ from your best employees' benchmark scores, you should help your new employee improve to become more similar to your best employees.  Focus on specific techniques your employee must develop or improve. 

 

Importantly, hold three follow-up meetings with the employee.  At each follow-up meeting, insist the employee tell you examples of using the behaviors the pre-employment test indicated the employee need to improve. 

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2012 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com

 

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., created 3 pre-employment tests that companies use to assess job applicants' personalities, mental abilities, and dependability.   These pre-hire tests - the 3 "FORECASTER(tm) TESTS" - help companies hire and develop excellent employees.  Dr. Mercer's 6 books include the best-seller "HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm)."  Also, he delivers speeches and training seminars at companies and conferences.  You can learn about the 3 FORECASTER(tm) pre-employment tests, or subscribe to his "HIRE THE BEST Newsletter," at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


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Social Media Tip  

By Cynthia Cavoto of Firebrand Social Media

 

Using Google Adwords To Drive Traffic To Your Website

 

Highly targeted traffic is one of the most important entities in the internet universe. Any website owner or administrator recognizes the importance of driving traffic to a website. The success of any website does not rely entirely on the site itself. You may have a terrific idea for a website, offer an excellent product or service, or have an exceptionally designed site with superb content, but if you do not use the right strategies to advertise, your site would not attract the high traffic you need. Attracting targeted traffic is a task that should be taken seriously for any site to succeed or make a profit. Fortunately, there are internet-marketing tools that help the website marketer to drive traffic to his website. One of the most significant, and effective, of these tools is Google's Adwords. Adwords is one of Google's advertising services.

 

How does Google Adwords work? Google is the largest search engine on the web receiving over 200 million queries each day through its various services. As Google is the most popular search engine today, webmasters are keen on having their websites achieve a higher ranking in the search engine results it provides. A high ranking can mean high traffic for that website. The search engine results page is also a great venue for advertisers to promote a product or service through ads and links. Consequently, Google launched its Adwords service, as a way for businesses to advertise products and services to a targeted audience. Google Adwords can guarantee instant traffic. In this service, Google displays relevant text based ads within its search engine results page termed as "Sponsored Links". Whenever a particular keyword is searched on, these relevant links appear in a separate section giving excellent exposure to the sites listed.

 

How do you use Google Adwords? First, you have to open an account with the Google Adwords Service. Then, you should indicate your target language and country. This is important because you would not want your products advertised in countries where your product or service cannot be sold. Afterwards, you should now create an ad group. This involves designing the ad, selecting keywords and determining maximum cost per click that you are willing to spend and defining bid amounts. The most important step in creating a successful Adwords campaign is selecting an effective title tag that will catch the attention of your target audience. The title tag, generally a short phrase, is the most important part of your Adwords campaign so make sure that it is attractive and catchy. You should describe the website clearly and accurately. The most effective advertising conveys a clear message to the target audience. With a clear message, you will be attracting qualified leads, which can eventually convert to sale. Thus, the importance of selecting the right keywords cannot be overemphasized.

 

There are keyword variations you can adapt to reach more prospects. Using these varieties, misspellings and derivatives can help increase the chance of your ads being served. Broad match is targeting keywords in a loosely defined manner. Here, the ads appear based on the keywords that have been queried by other users as opposed to exact match, which calls for the keyword to match the query exactly. Meanwhile, a keyword phrase set to phrase match will only appear when the exact phrase is searched on. A negative keyword is helpful in filtering unrelated pages.

 

After you have decided on what title tag to use in your ad, you must now define a budget in order to maximize exposure. Google Adwords recommend a daily budget for each campaign. However, you should determine a budget that is suitable and affordable. You should also determine the maximum cost per click. Google will offer a recommended cost per click, but you do not have to stick with this. Usually, a number one position is not ideal as it can also attract unwanted traffic and useless clicks. A number two position is more preferred as it can filter useless clicks and provide traffic with a higher conversion rate.

 

To conclude, Google Adwords is an excellent strategy and tool in giving your site maximum exposure. Nevertheless, Google Adwords should not be your sole advertising campaign. It will definitely help you find the all-important, highly targeted traffic you need.

 

This month's EBook is entitled, Google Adwords Remarketing Campaign

 

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

 

 

Results of Last Poll Questions

 

As an Insurance Agent, what service from an insurance carrier do you care most about?

  

a) Dedicated sales/service teams                                                       10%   

b) Product Info/training access                                                           20%

c) Underwriting & turnaround time                                                       25%

d) Simple commissions schedules                                                     45%

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This Week's Poll Question

 

What is the best course of action to stimulate the economy?

 

a) Tax incentives to promote private sector job creation?

b) Federal subsidies to promote public sector job creation?

c) Change the current regulatory environment?

d) Income tax cuts to promote consumer spending and investments?

e) Elect a new President?

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"Remember:  No nation ever taxed itself into prosperity."

- economist Larry Kudlow, Ph.D.

 

"Entrepreneurs and energetic businesspeople flourish when tax rates are low, just as trees and crops do with rain and sunshine."

- Steve Forbes

 

"Opportunity is missed by most people, because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work."

- Thomas Edison

 

"The best helping hand you will ever find is at the end of your own arm."

- John Mason

 

JOKE-OF-THE-MONTH

 

"I wanted free healthcare.  But then I found out I would need to pay a lot for it."

- message on bumper sticker

 

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., provided AOA with Motivational Quotes and Joke-of-the-Month.  Dr. Mercer created 3 FORECASTER™ TESTS - pre-employment tests - that companies use to assess job applicants.  He authored the book "HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST."  You can read about the 3 tests, or subscribe to his "HIRE THE BEST Newsletter" at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com. Please contact him if you have any questions or need my input.  My PH:  847-382-0690.

Articles 

A1Insured v. Insured Exclusion                                               

By Kathryn A. Formeller, Esq.

 

The Insured v. Insured exclusion in a directors' and officers' liability insurance policy did not apply to preclude coverage for the entire underlying lawsuit brought by both insured and non-insured plaintiffs against another insured. Miller v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13298 (7th Cir. June 29, 2012).

 

  

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A manufacturing company and two of its officers brought a declaratory judgment action against their insurer. The company sought the court's declaration that the insurer was required to reimburse it for costs and expenses that it incurred in defending two underlying trade dress lawsuits. It was alleged in the underlying complaints that during the time that the company manufactured and assembled the underlying plaintiff's lighting products (pursuant to a confidentiality agreement), the manufacturer accessed and used the underlying plaintiff's confidential information and designs to develop and market its own allegedly identical lighting products. The underlying plaintiff filed the underlying actions against the manufacturer, asserting a number of claims, including violations of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, trade dress infringement, trade dress dilution and unfair competition. In the complaints, the underlying plaintiff repeatedly alleged that the insured manufacturer's conduct was "intentional, willful, wanton, malicious, oppressive, and reckless." In every count, the underlying plaintiff reasserted each factual allegation previously set forth in its complaint. 

 
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By Mark Herskovitz, Esq. of Manning & Kass Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP

  

In Ruiz v. Safeway, Inc.

, Case A132202, the Fifth Appellate District affirmed summary judgment, determining that retailers are not potentially liable based on a sale of alcohol to minors, where the purchaser is accompanied by one below the legal drinking age and the purchaser is subsequently determined to have been under-aged as well. In its decision, the Court retraced the history of legal responsibility of third parties for minors who drive under the influence of alcohol, and it narrowly construed the statutory exception.

 

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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