E&O Weekly Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
March 7, 2013


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Letter from the Editor

Chapter 1, "Insurance Producer Licensing" from "Book One" is available for download                         
"Insurance Producer Licensing," written by Daniel B. Meyer, attorney at O'Hagan LLC. The first chapter begins as an insurance producer's profession begins: licensure. The authors compiled the licensing schemes from all fifty states and the District of Columbia and pulled from that compilation the common threads - the licensing requirements that are consistent across all jurisdictions of this country. They then highlight where the various jurisdictions differ, and how. The topics addressed range from age and education, pre-licensure coursework and testing, fees, and maintenance, suspension, revocation and non-renewal of producer licenses



"Insurance Agency Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claim - Book One"!  

"A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims" addresses issues that Insurance Agents & Brokers encounter every day. One of the most important assets an agent has is their reputation; it takes years to build a business and only one mistake to ruin it. "Book One" is a practicable guide and resource that every Insurance Agency should read and use as an effective risk management tool. "Book One" is now available on Barnes & Noble and on Amazon




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


Table of Contents   




A review of the top stories on World Risk & Insurance News at WRIN.tv


For more of the online video news affecting the world of risk and insurance, visit the World Risk and Insurance News website at www.WRIN.tv.    

Also listen to Insurance Expert George Nordhaus "Monday Morning" on IBM's robot "Watson"...coming to the insurance industry? Also check out George's Tip this week
Still Learning.

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"

Angelo J Gioia





AOA Tips, Views, News & More


Court Gives Effect to Commercial Landlord's Intent in Policy Endorsement   

By Marc J. Zimet, Esq. of Jampol Zimet LLP   


On December 5, 2012, our Court of Appeals of California, Second District, issued an opinion affirming that when a tenant's policy includes a commercial landlord as an additional insured, the policy's inter-insured exclusion does not prevent the landlord from recovering against the tenant.

In Gemini Insurance Company v. Delos Insurance Company (No. B239533), a landlord's insurance company (Gemini) filed an action in subrogation to recover from a tenant's policy (Delos) for the cost of a fire that started in the tenant's restaurant and damaged landlord's property at the Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael. The policy contained an inter-insured exclusion. Delos argued that due to the exclusion, neither the landlord nor its insurance could recover. The trial court disagreed. The court followed the general rules of contract interpretation, seeking to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties. "[E]xclusionary clauses are interpreted narrowly, whereas clauses identifying coverage are interpreted broadly." (Gemini, citing Garvey v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (1989) 48 Cal.3d 395, 406.)

The court found that although the policy listed the landlord as an additional insured, the intent of the parties in adding the landlord was to provide coverage in case a third party were to file a vicarious liability claim against the landlord for damage caused by the tenant's negligence. Here, there was no such claim. The court relied on the language of the endorsement in the tenant's policy, which provided that the additional insured coverage for the landlord was only with respect to "liability which both (1) arises out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that part of the premises leased to [tenant] and shown in the Schedule, and (2) occurs on that part of the premises leased to [tenant] and shown in the Schedule, and (3) results from and by reason of [tenant's] act or omission or an act or omission of [tenant's] agent or employee in the course of [tenant's] operations at that part of the premises leased to [tenant] and shown in the Schedule." The court agreed that the landlord was an additional insured only when and where it faced vicarious liability arising from tenant's acts. Since the intent of the landlord in insisting on being added to tenant's policy as an additional insured was only to protect itself in the event it was sued for tenant's negligence, the inter-insured exclusion was held not to bar recovery as against the tenant.

The court of appeals affirmed. Although the landlord was an insured under the tenant's policy, the court read the coverage provisions of the policy broadly and the exclusionary clauses narrowly, giving effect to the parties' intent. The court noted that the practice of commercial landlords insisting on such "additional insured" clauses is a common one and that the policy endorsement in question was specifically designated for landlords.

This case serves as a reminder that in California the mutual intent of the parties controls the interpretation of potentially conflicting provisions in an insurance policy. It also provides assurance to landlords that insisting on being added as an additional insured on their tenants' policies will not bar them from recovering for their own losses, as long as their intent and purpose for becoming an additional insured is clear.

For additional information, contact Marc at mzimet@jampolzimet.com or (213) 689-8500




stillStill Learning    

By George Nordhaus ~ Chairman of Agenciesonline.biz.


Which works best?  Print or electronics?


If you are like most of us in marketing these days, you are probably shifting many of your efforts online.

When you hear our firm's name ( AgenciesOnline,) you would expect me to be excited about this change in media.


Yet with the competition being so fierce in the race to get online messages across, we have to be realistic, too.


Who prefers what?


Graham Communications, a well-known marketing consulting firm in Quincy, MA., Mary Weafer, Communications Manager, did some eye-opening research. In surveying 450 business executives, (most of whom now receive electronic publications they once received in printed format) she found that:


1.  A slight majority (53%) prefer the electronic format. But 54% admit they spend less time reading the         electronic version.

2. Only 37% said they were "likely or very likely" to read the electronic versions at a later time...

3.   ...Compared to 71% for printed information.


Trying to choose whether you should move your marketing efforts online, is more complex than just understanding those pure percentages.

Online information is used differently than print. Many online readers want to be able to quickly scan...and then decide if they want to read more. The most important factor here is relevance. While relevance is always the key to higher readership, it is paramount for online information delivery.

The key drivers, says Ms. Weafer, are that the information delivered must be:


a.     Immediately compelling

b.     Short

c.     Useful (relevant)


She adds:

"The opportunity to learn about something that they did not know they were interested in is minimal, at best, on line. Understanding that online information is "used" more than it is "read" is key to its marketing success."


How about reading online articles, etc. later...when they have more time? More people will take the time to review printed material...at home, commuting, after hours, whenever.  So printed materials may have a longer life span than online publications.


Other "ingredients" changing all this?


Up to now, comparisons between the effectiveness of print versus online have considered only the "read" part of these two communications basics.


But online tools open up a different kind of learning experience - viewing action via video, and hearing sound with those presentations, plus voice-overs.

No longer is simply presenting copy to read going to be effective in the years to come.

Video will account for 80% of Internet data traffic in four years.

At our company we continue to expand the sight and sound features of our members' Web sites, but we also combine e-mails, printed materials, and videos in our various campaigns.

The e-mail newsletters we send to AO agency clients and prospects contain live links to the agencies' "Chat" lines, a link to at least one video per newsletter...and we are now considering adding voice-over to each newsletter.


Will these activities be effective in the future?  Time will tell, but if we are judging the Millennials correctly, your clients will want to see, hear...and yes, FEEL the message. 


Action time

What can you do now to get your message across more effectively?


1. Establish a "Source to Sale" system. 

    Start keeping records of each of your marketing activities, and determine what return came from those

    efforts. Do you get better (ROI) results from printed or online activities? If you don't know how to do 

    this, we'll be glad to suggest a marketing consultant who can show you how. There are plenty of good

    ones available, and there will be more in the future as communications need change. 

2. Experiment...experiment...experiment

    Think about the figures (above) when you plan your next marketing activity. Give e-mail marketing a 

    shot. Try printed mailings. Experiment with videos. Better yet, get some professional help. Why?

    Because the complexities of marketing, the cost, and the effectiveness is only going to get more 

    difficult for you to understand in the future. 


For additional information, contact George at X210 or george@agenciesonline.biz or (888)985-3331 X210 www.agenciesonline.biz.




The Social Connection Social Media Tricks & Tips

By Cynthia Cavoto of Firebrand Social Media


How To Make A Marketing Campaign Appealing?


Marketing campaigns cannot survive if they boring. Everyday there are more than three thousand marketing messages reaching out to the customers and it is really a huge competition if one expects to be recognized among the crowd. This message should talk to the customer and influence his mind. Strong, creative, confident and exciting are the key factors that a message should have, as that will embed it into the customer's thinking and he remembers it for a longer time. The customer should feel empowered and should think of taking some action right away. For instance Nike's catch line is Just do it, it's a line that has such a great impact on the minds of the people that they use that line even when talking about everything else, along with Nike products. It is obvious that by adding certain features, the marketing appeal can be multiplied.


Scientists agree to the fact that using visuals to make a person learn something is the best option than any other means and as one of the famous saying goes "a picture speaks a thousand words". So the best bet is to add visuals to promote marketing. Visuals can be anything like pictures, animations, or graphics. See yourself what wonders it does by placing a picture of a representative and products on the company's website. This not only brings the customers close but also strengthens the relationship.


Different colors depict different types of emotions. Messages can be delivered to people suing colors and meaning can be added to it. Red and blue are colors liked by aggressive shoppers where as yellow color can catch good attention of the on lookers. Green reflects health, money and nourishment, so it can be used in food advertisement. Black means strength and power that is why it has been used by Jaguar, on their website background and advertisement. Wealth and royalty means purple. Colors used on business cards can also be used to attract the customers. But the colors should be carefully played with, too much can be distracting. A professional help can be sought when selecting colors for business cards, website font, website background, logo, etc., to send the right message. On websites, fonts can be added which change colors and graphics that move.


There are lots of options available when thinking of what technology to use. The good news is that most of the options are cheap and easy to use. Audios and videos can be added to your website to attract attention. Like when one visits the Pepsi homepage, they are greeted with energetic music, which attracts teenagers instantly. To make a more realistic approach, welcome message, introduction video, interviews, or how the goods are produced, can be added to the website. Hearing a voice can be very touching and a rapport can be immediately developed with the visitor. Like Adidas" website opens with a video which truly fits their punch line, Impossible is nothing.          


Business cards should be outstanding and at its creative best. Professionally designed graphics can be added to a brochure type of card. Information about the company, contact information, quotations, and picture can be added on four sides of it. The fonts should be the same.


Just listing the benefits isn't enough. Customers want more, they want their needs to be met. Like if some is thinking of buying an exercise equipment, don't just say that the machine has display, automatic incline, cooling device, CD player, programs, but also add that there is a program with audio instructions which encourages the person to do exercise, which is meant for people who need real motivation to get out of their couch and to start sweating out. So convey exactly why the customer should use the product, be more precise.


Uniqueness is the biggest key factor. Not only should the products and services be unique, the marketing campaign should be unique too. Not only will the effort be appreciated but also the impression will be everlasting. Once faith of customers is gained, they will be like free walking advertisement and will spread the word to their friends and acquaintances like anything.


This month's EBook is entitled, "57 Email Building Tips Part 4"


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.



Court Examines the Term "For" as Used in an Exclusion in an Insurance Policy

The term "for" as used in an exclusion in a lawyers professional liability insurance policy was recently examined by the Illinois Appellate Court. On January 17, 2013, the court found that the business pursuits exclusion applied to the entire law firm even if only one lawyer had a business interest in the enterprise. The court also found that the lawyer who had a business interest in the enterprise was performing acts "for" the enterprise even if he was actually working directly for a different, but related, entity.

















EEOC Kicks Off 2013 Settling Sex Harassment And Retaliation Lawsuits

By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr, Esq. and Christoper DeGrof, Esq. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP


The EEOC's first draft of its Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Commission telegraphed that it was increasingly focused on preventing, and when necessary, litigating workplace harassment and retaliation allegations. The EEOC's warning was no bluff, for in 2012 the EEOC filed a significant amount of harassment and retaliation lawsuits (discussed here, here, and here). The EEOC kicked off 2013 by entering a series of consent decrees resolving allegations of retaliation. One week after we blogged about the EEOC's rash of retaliation settlements, Judge Kocoras of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved a consent decree in EEOC v. South Loop Club, Case No. 12-CV-07677 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 6, 2013), resolving allegations of sex harassment and retaliation. As we predicted in our EEOC-Initiated Litigation book, the EEOC's SEP is functioning as the blueprint for the Commission's enforcement activity. The recent consent decree in EEOC v. South Loop Club signals that the EEOC continues to vigorously pursue its stated "big six" agenda items enunciated in its SEP.





Firebrand Social Media   












New FMLA Interpretation by DOL Expands Protections for Employees with Adult Children with Disabilities

By Frank Alvarez, Esq. & Joe Lynett, Esq. of Jackson Lewis LLP


The number of employees who may take FMLA-protected leave to care for adult children with disabilities is likely to increase under an interpretation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act issued by the Wage and Hour Division ("WHD") of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Interpretation, the first of the New Year for the Division, confirms that the age of a son or daughter at the onset of a disability is not relevant in determining an employee-parent's entitlement to leave to care for a child with a disability, even if that child is an adult. Wage and Hour Division, Administrator's Interpretation No. 2013-1 (Jan. 14, 2013). The Interpretation also adopts the broad definition of "disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA") for FMLA purposes, and clarifies the availability of FMLA leave for parents to care for a child who becomes disabled during military service.





a4Firm's Bid for Defense of Claims Denied, Despite Clear Allegations of Legal Malpractice

By Joseph Francoeur,  Esq. of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP


A New York federal court has granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment and dismissed a declaratory judgment action seeking a defense and possible indemnity in legal malpractice claims against its law firm insured. The court's ruling came in Abrams Firm v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, London

, CV 11-0665, NYLJ 1202584149715, at *1 (EDNY, Decided January 2, 2013). 

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 2013