E&O Weekly Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
  
November 8, 2012

 

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Free Membership

Free Newsletter

Free Social Media EBooks

Market Solutions

Press Releases

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Insurance Blog

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Letter from the Editor

 

DRI NEWS

 

50-State Professional Liability Compendium

 

First, I am pleased to announce the completion of DRI's "Professional Liability Insurance:  A Compendium of State Law," in which I authored the chapter for Pennsylvania.  For all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam and Canada (except for Quebec), this compendium summarizes significant case law and statutes concerning a wide array of professional liability insurance and claims-made coverage issues.  It is truly a comprehensive - and one-of-a-kind - publication which discusses common coverage provisions and exclusions in policies issued to a variety of professionals, directors and officers, and employers.  Insurance professionals and attorneys alike will find this compendium to be a valuable resource to consult whenever faced with professional liability or claims-made coverage issues throughout the country. Ordering information is available at DRI Store.

 

Learn what you need to know to protect your clients in 2013. "DRI's Professional Liability Seminar" is dedicated to addressing the educational needs of attorneys and insurers who protect the interests of all types of professionals, from lawyers and accountants to insurance producers and those involved in the construction and design industry. This seminar will be in New York on December 6th & 7th and will include leading experts in the field who will provide important updates to ensure that you have the information you need.

 


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

 

 

Table of Contents    

  

By Pamela D. Hans, Esq., Darin J. McMullen, Esq., and Marshall Gilinsky, Esq.

 

Insurance Agent's Misrepresentations at Time of Sale Binds Insurer...

By Matthew R. Watson, Esq.

  

Employer Pay Obligations in Face of Disasters

By Paul DeCamp, Esq. , Richard Greenberg, Esq., & Daniel J. Jacobs, Esq.

 

By Tad A. Devlin, Esq.

  

                 

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 Tips, Views, News & More

 

 

What did Hurricane Sandy teach us?

By Curtis M. Pearsall, E&O Consultant, President of Pearsall Associates

 

First things first...my thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. I hope that you are safe and can now begin the recovery from this significant catastrophe.

 

Some of the initial estimates are starting to emerge from the various industry / modeling sources. While it is certainly early, there are some projections approaching the $20 billion level. How much of this $20 billion number will be covered by insurance? That number probably won't be known for a while but there are already reports addressing that flood insurance in many of the areas was the exception, not the norm.

 

In some respects, this storm redefined "what's the worst that can happen". Not only did it seem to emerge all of a sudden but it wound up taking a path of destruction that has never been seen before. Has there ever been a weather related catastrophe that literally impacted over 30% of the entire country?

 

Unfortunately, there will probably be many customers that will now find out that there insurance program was not up to date. Customers may discover that building values (both personal and commercial lines) and business interruption limits were not at the necessary level. Certainly in many of these situations, the customer will need to shoulder some of the blame for the decisions that made. There could be other situations where the coverage had not been properly placed. Bottom line, there is a saying that "Nothing brings out the mistake of an agent as quick as a catastrophe".

 

So what has Hurricane Sandy taught us and what, if anything, should agents do differently or better moving forward? One important revelation is that one never knows where the next "Hurricane Sandy" is going to hit, when it will happen and what it will look like. The next catastrophe may not be a hurricane; instead it could be a tornado, an earthquake, a flood, etc. Could your community suffer the wrath of Mother Nature? I am not convinced that any community is totally immune. To address this, one initiative that agents should be diligent in performing, if they are not already doing so, is periodic reviews for and with their personal and commercial lines accounts. The overwhelming goal or focus should be education. By reviewing the coverages the customer has and potentially addressing exposures that are currently uninsured, the customer will become a more educated and astute insurance buyer.

 

Ideally, this account review process should be performed with every client. Send a letter to your customers inviting them to call and schedule a time for this review. In some respects, now is a great time to do that as everyone, whether they have been personally affected by Hurricane Sandy, can only wonder how well their insurance program would respond if this catastrophe happened to them. Including a statement such as "We want to make sure you understand the coverage you have and what options are available" is very enticing. It may be somewhat idealistic to think that every customer is going to want this review but actually the offer of the review could be a significant part of the agency's defense if a problem arose down the road.

 

As you perform the review, look to use some type of an Exposure Analysis Checklist. This will assist in ensuring that the necessary questions are asked and the various exposures identified. If the customer declines the coverage, secure their signature acknowledging the refusal of that specific coverage. At the conclusion of the review, send the customer a letter documenting the issues discussed and what the final resolution was. This will serve to identify any misunderstandings that potentially exist. In addition to the valuable educational component, this document will reinforce that the customer is ultimately accountable for their buying decisions. Ironically, there is no doubt that this process should result in new business sales and higher retention.

Some other popular ways to do educate customers:

- Newsletters. This can be paper or electronic. Look to address the issues that are unique to that time of year. They could be seasonal related (such as boating issues) or they may involve issues such as kids going off to college and what the insurance implications are.

- Social Media postings. This is a great media to educate customers on a variety of issues. This also can be a tremendous marketing boost as your followers will see clearly your expertise.

- The insurance proposal. Strengthen your proposals by including definitions of key insurance terms.

- Every time that your agency interacts with that customer, look for cross selling opportunities. Many agencies provide a new business incentive for the CSR's in rounding out the insurance for their customers. This really can be a win-win for everyone.

- Include limit options for your customer to consider. Not only will this help them to realize that higher limits are available but they may also find that the higher limits are not as expensive as they originally thought.

 - Send a cover letter with the policy to the customer requesting that they review the policy and advise your agency of any questions or problems. This just might prompt the customer to realize that they have some gaps in their coverage. 
 
Hurricane Sandy is over. Where will the next Hurricane Sandy appear? Obviously no one knows and that is why it is extremely important for agencies to take the initiative, starting as soon as possible, to educate your customers on the coverage they have and how it will respond if the next weather related catastrophe strikes your community. When that event happens, you will be glad you did. 
 
For those agencies affected by this terrible disaster, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family of customers. For additional information, contact Curt at at curtis@pearsallassociates.com or 315-768-1534

 


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Social Media Tip

 

Social Media & Hurricane Sandy, Who Woulda Thought?

By Cynthia Cavoto of Firebrand Social Media

 

  

This week's events have made us take a step back to see what is really important. From our homes and possessions to electricity and passable roads, Super Storm Sandy has tested the strongest of us. As a Social Media Strategist I often view the world through the eyes of social media and this week was no different.


Super Storm Sandy was perhaps the first large storm that many of us followed via social media. Twitter has become and continues to be a lifeline for many.

Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) has been tweeting everything from evacuation procedures to addresses of where rescuers and volunteers need to visit and bring supplies. He is even responding directly to those who are asking for help or how to help.

From @CoryBooker 11/1/12
"@CovenantHouse in #Newark is looking for volunteers. Please call (973) 621-8705 to help http://bit.ly/YjMO7h "

Thank you. Ask my team at 973 733 4311 for potential ideas. RT@hayofray Want to donate to New Jersey. Can you tell me best way?

I can deliver baby supplies. Can u DM me your exact address? RT@_CodeRedd_Boss I live in Oscar Miles Village and I have a 2 week old baby.

From @CoryBooker 10/31/12
Battered but not beaten. Without power but not powerless. We stand strong. We stand together. We will persevere.

Cory Booker opened his house to storm victims who had not heat and power! He even bought a dozen of them lunch:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/cory-booker-neighbors-hurricane-sandy_n_2059971.html

In a time of tragedy and in a time when social media gets a bad name, it's refreshing to see the power of good in this world. Go Cory and the rest of the teams helping to restore our communities.

 

In conclusion, this mind-boggling statistic about the number of tweets during the storm

really shows how people are really using social media as their form of communication ~ Emergency Communication - to obtain the most current information. 

 

People sent more than 20 million Tweets about the storm between Oct 27 & Nov 1. Terms tracked: "sandy", "hurricane", #sandy, #hurricane. 

 

 

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

 



This Week's Poll Question

 

Would you significantly increase your deductible to lower your premium? 
 
No 
Yes - Double it. ($2,500 to $5,000) 
Yes - Triple it ($2,500 to $7,500) 
Yes - 4 times ($2,500 to $10,000) 
Yes - It does not matter as I am not going to be involved with a lawsuit.
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Results of Last Poll Questions

 

What is the best course of action to stimulate the economy? 
 
a) Tax incentives to promote private sector job creation? 12%
b) Federal subsidies to promote public sector job creation? 20% 
c) Change the current regulatory environment? 6%  
d) Income tax cuts to promote consumer spending and investments? 15% 
e) Elect a new President? 47% 
 
Articles 

A1Obtaining Full Coverage for Your Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claim: Eight Basic Tips                                               

By Pamela D. Hans, Esq., Darin J. McMullen, Esq., and Marshall Gilinsky, Esq. of Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C.

 

As businesses assess the damage and try to recover from the massive disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy, many are already thinking about how their insurance contracts respond.  Savvy policyholders are already taking action to make sure that they obtain a full recovery under their property and flood insurance policies - most of which cover not only the cost to repair physical damage, but also the profits lost due to the local and regional disruptions wrought by Sandy.   Although picking up the pieces after this massive storm will be challenging, this article provides essential tips to help business policyholders maximize their Sandy-related insurance claims.  

 

  

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Firebrand Social Media   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

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

 

When unexpected natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, impact an employer's ability to operate business as usual, employers are faced with last-minute decisions to close all or part of their operations or otherwise modify work schedules. An initial consideration for all employers is whether the employer has an obligation to pay its employees if they are unable to work due to the event.

 
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By Tad A. Devlin, Esq. of Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo LLP

When Travelers Cas. and Surety Co. of America sought to deny an insured coverage on wage and hour claims brought against it, adhering to the EPLI policy's exclusion of such claims,  its denial was rebuffed by a federal court sitting in the Central District of California, citing bad faith.  In ruling on cross motions for summary judgment a California federal court judge in the Central District held (a) the insurer was required to cover employee reimbursement claims made against its insured, Classic Distributing and Beverage Group, Inc. ("Classic"), as covered "Loss," (b) that the Wage and Hour Claim Exclusion endorsement included in the policy renewal was invalid and unenforceable, (c) Classic was entitled to appointment of independent counsel, and (d) Classic was entitled to recover attorney's fees and costs associated with covered claims.    

  

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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