Failure to mirror coverage when moving a client, whether new business or a renewal, to a new carrier is one of the most significant reasons for an E&O claim. A common scenario is when the insured suffers a loss that would have been covered by the prior carrier, but is not by the new carrier. This turns into an E&O claim against the insurance agent.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The actions you take during the quoting process can help or hurt you. The following tips can help:
- Do not assume the current coverage is still sufficient to meet the client’s needs. Conduct an exposure analysis to capture any new coverage needs.
- Review the current coverage carefully for sub-limits and any coverages granted by endorsement. Request coverage that matches or expands these coverages.
- Note differences in coverage, limits/sub-limits, and endorsements to the client in writing when you receive the quote. If this is discussed verbally, memorialize it back to the client in writing to protect your agency from accusations that this wasn’t discussed.
- Provide clear proposals and specimen policy forms/endorsements. Indicate to the client that they should review them and contact you if they have questions or concerns about coverage levels.
- Highlight any changes to how payments are handled that could impact the client receiving a payment in a timely manner.
- Thoroughly review what you receive from the carrier. There may be changes to coverage from one year to the next even if you are renewing coverage with the same carrier. E&S placements can make changes to coverage without communicating this to the insured or the agent.
Get the client’s written approval of the terms to be bound. This is particularly important when a client chooses to reduce coverage in the interest of premium savings.
QUESTIONS? Please contact E&O Risk Management Specialist/Executive Commercial Lines Underwriter Tabitha DeGirolano, RPLU,
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-734-2439 – she’s ready to help.
This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool. Utica Mutual Insurance Company and the other member insurance companies of the Utica National Insurance Group (“Utica National”) are not providing legal advice or any other professional services. Utica National shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of the information provided. You are encouraged to consult an attorney or other professional for advice on these issues.