In virtually every agency, producers / sales staff play an integral role in the current and future success of the business. Producers are typically responsible for new business sales and retention of accounts, especially the medium to large accounts.
In virtually every agency, producers also play an integral role in minimizing the potential for E&O claims to develop. Most E&O carriers will advise that producers generate around half of all E&O claims. So, establishing a strong E&O culture certainly requires a strong buy-in and commitment from the production staff.
When producers are meeting with prospects or clients, it is key for the discussions that occur to be memorialized. A primary reason for this involves the legal standard of agencies and their staff. Agents are heavily responsible for providing the coverage the client has specifically asked for. If they cannot provide that coverage, there is direct responsibility for the agency to advise the client.
To increase the chances of meeting this legal standard, it would be prudent for the producers to be taking notes either during or soon after the meeting has concluded. The notes should include who was at the meeting, where the meeting was held, what was discussed / resolved and any open items that need to be addressed.
It is not uncommon for these notes to be shared / memorialized in a letter / e-mail to the client. This should hopefully ensure that there is no misunderstanding between the respective parties. At a bare minimum, the notes (handwritten or typed) should find their way into the agency file.
Producers need to make a strong effort towards meeting this requirement. For whatever reason, producers do seem to struggle when it comes to note taking. A producer’s “DNA” seems to be more geared towards sales and “when you are taking notes, you are not selling”. That excuse is what I normally hear but not an excuse that I buy into. Producers need to be diligent in their note taking. There are apps that provide many hours for dictation. Dictating the information and then transcribing it later is certainly an option and the benefit of this approach is that the information of the discussion is fresher in the producer’s mind.
However it is done, producers need to be taking notes and ensuring that those notes find their way into the system. Anything short of this is not acceptable and going to cause some real problems if an E&O claim develops.