As we start the month of October, this is the time where most agencies are giving serious thought to their goals and objectives for the upcoming year. While this will most certainly include those goals dealing with premium volume, new business, income and expenses, serious consideration should be given to the setting of E&O goals; issues and initiatives that will play a role in minimizing the potential for the agency to face an E&O claim.
Some initiatives to consider:
Client Education – based on various industry prognosticators, this is going to significantly grow in importance over the next 5-10 years. In fact, many are predicting that this issue will largely determine which agencies succeed and which ones don’t. If your agency is not where it should be in this area, 2019 is a great time to ramp up your efforts.
Staff Education – your clients are looking to your agency for knowledge and expertise. To provide that, the applicable staff need to possess that knowledge. The education objective should be customized for each staff member.
Advise clients of other coverages to consider – this definitely serves as an education tool. It is suggested to include a list of other coverage to consider on your agency proposals. Since it is not possible to list them all, a statement such as “other coverages to consider include but are not limited to the following” should be noted.
Securing customer signatures on applications – this issue is key as most courts will hold the customer accountable for the contents of the application if their signature is on that application. With electronic signature capabilities, there really is no excuse for not getting the insured signature on the app.
Confirmation of rejected coverage – every agency should have a procedure that requires all rejected coverages to be memorialized in some written form of communication back to the client.
Getting updates at renewal time on any change in exposures – To “keep up” with your client’s changes, design a form that is automatically sent to each personal and commercial lines customer 60-90 days prior to the expiration of coverage. The goal is to secure an update of any changes in exposures so that insurance discussions can take place.
For many agencies, the development of a strong E&O culture takes time. By establishing and accomplishing E&O goals each year, your agency will be closer to achieving the desired level of E&O commitment.