There is no doubt that to have a strong E&O culture in your agency, it is vital that top management actively express their support and commitment. A management that leads by example will clearly show the staff that management is serious about E&O loss prevention. Some items to consider:
Virtually every staff meeting should include some discussion about an E&O issue. The issue may involve education of a specific coverage or a change in a carrier’s underwriting guidelines. Or the topic may be on the various types of questions the staff are receiving or possibly open discussion on how each staff perceives their E&O exposure. Staff meetings are a great opportunity to cover a variety of E&O initiatives.
If the agency attends an E&O seminar (in house or outside), attendance by management clearly shows a strong commitment.
With documentation a key component that determines the direction an E&O claim will go, be certain that the agency expectation regarding documentation is documented. This document should be reviewed with each staff member to stress the value and importance. Ask for any obstacles or challenges and look to address them. At the end of the day, secure the commitment of the staff on this issue.
The manner in which management conducts themselves and the words that they use in discussion is key. It is important that management show the staff that they are truly committed to this initiative.
An active QC campaign will show that management is monitoring the workloads and the work product. The staff will clearly realize that adherence to the guidelines is expected and that any shortfalls will be brought to their attention.
Mistakes can happen. It is vital that management is open to discussions where “something fell thru the cracks”. If staff is concerned about retribution if they notify management of a problem, they may be reluctant to advise management. This is extremely important as the sooner that an issue is discovered, the better.
A strong E&O culture starts with the top management. If it is evident that they are committed to it and that they “walk the talk” every day, the staff will be that much more committed.