In last month’s issue of The E&O Report, we wrote briefly about the topics that will be covered at the upcoming IIABNY Annual Errors & Omissions Loss Control seminars. The seminar series will be conducted live by Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham, LLP at five locations during the month of May and at 14 remote locations during the June 12 telecast seminar. Since that issue of The E&O Report was posted online, agents and brokers have asked us for more information about the topics we will cover during this year’s seminars. You may recall that last fall we asked IIABNY members to provide us with issues and topics they would like us to address during the 2013 seminars. Based upon the feedback we received, we prepared an outline for the 2013 annual E&O seminars. In this issue of The E&O Report, we provide additional details concerning the topics to be covered at the seminars. The first topic deals with New York law that affects insurance agents and brokers. We plan to review several New York court decisions issued during the past year that agents and brokers should be familiar. Additionally, we will discuss various New York insurance laws and regulations that affect agents and brokers in conducting their business. The next topic relates to the benefits an agency or brokerage gains when it follows good E&O loss control practices. We will discuss loss control procedures agencies or brokerages can use to help prevent E&O claims and lawsuits. During the discussion, we will review the importance of agency procedures that can be used to help defeat E&O claims. Conversely, we will explain how the same procedures could be used against an agency or brokerage facing an E&O claim or lawsuit if the procedures are not consistently followed. We will also discuss the various benefits an agency or brokerage can obtain from conducting internal compliance audits related to its practices and procedures. In connection with this topic, we will review in detail several E&O loss control practices (dramatized in a short video we will present) every agency and brokerage should follow.
The third topic covers the importance of an agency or brokerage following good E&O practices when placing an excess or surplus line policy. We will review such items as the requirement for obtaining three declinations from admitted insurers, the importance of carefully completing the excess line affidavits, explaining to the insured the ramifications of placing coverage with an excess line insurer, and why an agency or brokerage should consider pointing out to the insured unique coverage conditions within the policy.
The fourth topic will cover various considerations related to catastrophic events. We will spend time reviewing the best practices and procedures related to claims handling, along with other customer issues related to catastrophic events. We will also review some of the specific practices insurance agencies and brokerages should follow in order to protect themselves against E&O claims and lawsuits related to catastrophic events. Additionally, we will discuss some of the coverages customers should consider to protect themselves against various types of catastrophic events. In connection with a review of this topic, we will present a video that covers the various actions an agency or brokerage should perform before and after a catastrophic event in order to assist its customers and minimize potential E&O claims and lawsuits.
The fifth topic will address how technology can help protect an agency or brokerage against E&O claims and lawsuits. We will cover how good documentation can be used to defend against a claim or lawsuit, while showing how improperly prepared documentation can actually harm an agency or brokerage. Specifically, we will review the practices and procedures agencies and brokerages should follow when using e-mail, telefax and voice mail in conducting business. Additionally, we will review the best practices an agency or brokerage should follow for the imaging and scanning of documents. We will also cover some of the items that should be considered when cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices are used by agencies and brokerages. Finally, we will discuss the use of electronic signatures by agencies and brokerages.
The sixth topic reviews the duty of care for insurance agents and brokers. We will start the discussion by defining duty of care and why it is important in every E&O claim or lawsuit. We will review duty of care for insurance agents and brokers in New York and several other states where New York agents and brokers frequently write business.
The final topic will be a review of the more common defenses used in the defense of E&O claims and lawsuits. We will spend time covering such defenses as:
- the duty to read;
- available coverage or limits;
- mitigation of damages; and
- existing coverage under the policy.
In discussing the duty to read defense, we will present a short video featuring the American Building Supply case recently decided by the New York Court of Appeals and address the duty to read defense used in connection with the defense of E&O lawsuits.
As previously mentioned, the topics we will cover at the seminars this year were provided to us by IIABNY members. These are “hot” topics that presently affect New York insurance agents and brokers. We encourage everyone to register and attend one of the upcoming E&O seminars. You can register for one of the live classes in May and earn four continuing education credits or sign up for the June 12 live telecast and earn four CE credits. Visit the Education section of the IIABNY website or call the IIABNY Education Department at (800) 851-8853, ext. 3. We look forward to seeing you at the seminars.
James C. Keidel, Esq.
Keidel, Weldon & Cunningham, LLP