E&O Prevention
Strategies for the Professional Agent
September 24, 2015

Agents of America


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PLDF Annual Meeting  
Professional Liability Defense Federation will be holding their annual meeting at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago on
September 30 - October 2.  If interested in attending Click Here.

AOA News, Views, Tips & More
By Joseph L. Petrelli, President, Demotech, Inc.
Indulge me a brief background to set the tone for our thoughts as to why the key to future success is an understanding and acknowledgement of the factors influencing your success today.   The factors that drive your success tomorrow may not be identical. 
With the thirtieth anniversary of Demotech, Inc. on September 9th and having answered the question for three decades, I share the derivation of our company name.  

By Kathleen M. Bonczyk, M.B.A., Esq.
At 6:45 a.m. on August 24, 2015 one of the most outrageous acts of violence in the history of the American workplace occurred.   
That morning 24 year old WDBJ7-TV news reporter Alison Parker and 27 year old videographer Adam Ward were at their particular work location in Hardy, Virginia. Parker was conducting a live on-air interview of Vicki Gardner, an executive with a local chamber of commerce while Ward filmed the two.
By Lindsey Dean, Esq. of Tressler LLP

A spreadsheet detailing asserted monetary damages constituted a claim first made against the insured company prior to the policy period, and thus the company was not entitled to coverage under its claims-made policy. Ritrama, Inc. v. HDI-Gerling American Ins. Co., No. 14-3392, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14018 (8th Cir. Aug. 11, 2015). 

By Angelo J Gioia, Executive Director AgentsofAmerica.org
Have you ever considered that there is a strong connection between having solid insurance sales skills and avoiding an E&O claim? While it always a good idea to know every aspects and nuisance about the insurance coverage you're selling, it even a better idea to make certain that you provide your customers with all of the necessary information that educates them to what they are buying, what's not covered by the policy, how to report a claim, if they have one and offering them some tips and techniques on how to avoid having a claim. By educating the customers, you will be adding an important value to your agency prospects and customers which should no doubt result in new business sales and high retention.

By Gregory S. Glickman, Esq of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

On September 3, Judge Richard Berman of Southern District of New York overturned the NFL's four-game suspension of New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady.  Besides being a dream come true for ESPN, the ruling is quite significant from a labor and employment law perspective, as the judge drastically departed from courts' typical deference to arbitration awards and unwillingness to interfere with the language in collective bargaining agreements.

By Michael Lettiero, Esq. and Joanna M. Roberto, Esq. of Goldberg Segalla

In Messinese v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13519 (11th Cir. Aug. 4, 2015), the insured struck the plaintiff, Mr. Messinese, while driving intoxicated. Mr. Messinese sustained serious injuries including paralysis and brain damage. The insured had an auto policy with USAA with limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. The insured also had a homeowner's policy with USAA, but it excluded coverage for injuries arising out of the use of an automobile.

By Joseph J. Lazzarotti, Esq. of Jackson Lewis P.C.

According to a Bloomberg article, the second phase of HIPAA audits by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), originally set to commence in 2014, may be coming soon. This update came at a HIPAA conference co-hosted by OCR during which OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels said the agency was in the process of confirming contact information of those entities that would be audited. Reason for the delay - budgetary limitations and gaps in personnel.

By Rhonda D. Orin, Esq. and Daniel J. Healy, Esq. of Anderson Kill P.C.

When is a wrongful coverage denial just a breach of contract - and when is it an act of bad faith? This question is asked by almost every policyholder whose claim is denied.

The next question, typically, is whether insurance companies that acted in bad faith can be required to pay for the attorneys' fees and costs that policyholders are forced to incur in order to redress the wrong.

By Marc J. Zimet of Jampol Zimet, LLP

Emerging Liability Issues for Directors in Non-Profit Organizations
As many organizations shift their businesses online and utilize technology to operate and reach customers, new risks are created for claims and liability. Directors and officers of non-profit organizations frequently wonder what their exposure for personal liability is, and in this ever changing environment, new liability issues continue to emerge.

By Philip R. Voluck, Esq., Rina Bersohn, Esq., and David A. Tauster, Esq. ofKaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP


A very recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") could have dramatic consequences for employers who rely on the services of staffing agencies to provide their workforce. In Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., ("Browning-Ferris") the NLRB reversed more than 30 years of precedent by drastically expanding the scope of its definition of a "joint employer" within the context of union organizing attempts. In light of this revised decision, employers may now be forced to collectively bargain with employees provided through staffing companies when such employers have the ability to make decisions which alter the terms and conditions of employment for the "staffing agency" employees.

By Melissa K. Ventrone, Esq., Aleksandra M. S. Vold, Esq. of Wilson Elser

The Third Circuit recently issued its highly anticipated ruling in the Federal Trade Commission v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., Case. No. 14-3514, holding that the FTC has authority to regulate the cybersecurity practices of companies under the "unfair" prong of section 5 of the FTC Act. In a ruling that is likely to frustrate companies, the court held that Wyndham was "not entitled to know with ascertainable certainty the cybersecurity standards by which the FTC expected it to conform." Which means that companies must not only consider the many laws, rules and regulations that impact data privacy and security but also attempt to anticipate regulators' "state of mind" when creating and implementing cybersecurity programs. However, there are several "takeaways" from the recent ruling.

Letter From  the Publisher
Protecting Your Reputation

As every Insurance Agent knows, their most important asset is their reputation, it takes years to build and just one mistake to ruin. Understanding the issues is the first steps in avoiding E&O Claims. AOA has created a three book series dealing with 56 different E&O topics and issues agents face every day. Enter promo code
WPD20 at checkout for an additional 20% discount.

Book One - 
A Comprehensive Guide To Avoiding E & O Claims
Book Two - 
E&O Exposures in the Sales Process

Book Three - 
E & O Exposures By Line of Business

Demotech, Inc.
Since 1985, Demotech, Inc. has served the insurance industry by assigning accurate, reliable and proven Financial Stability Ratings® (FSRs) for Property & Casualty insurers and Title underwriters. FSRs are a leading indicator of financial stability, providing an objective baseline of the future solvency of an insurer.  You can search the most current FSRs here.
Do You Need Continuing Education?
Complete your entire State-Required CE Online with WebCE! AOA 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. 

Is Your Insurance License Renewing Soon?
Is your agency licensed in multiple states? Does your agency maintain nonresident licenses? Do you know when renewals are due? Did you know a resident change requires address changes in the states in which an individual holds licenses? If you need assistance with any of your licensing needs go to the experts Supportive Insurance Services.

Excess & Surplus Lines Laws
We are happy to provide the 2015 Edition of Locke Lord LLP's Excess and Surplus Lines Law Manual.

This edition reflects all of the pertinent changes in the surplus lines laws and regulations of the 50 states and U.S. territories during the past year. We sincerely trust you will find this manual to be a valuable desk reference and if you have any questions regarding the contents, please contact John P. Dearie, Jr., Esq. Editor and Partner at Locke Lord LLP at jack.dearie@lockelord.com or (212) 912-2737
AgentsofAmerica.ORG newsletter is FREE! Also, if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions, please email me at info@agentsofamerica.orgWe also would like to extend an invitation for you to join AOA's LinkedIn group at AGENTS OF AMERICA

"Bringing the Best Together"
Angelo J Gioia

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle  
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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 2013