Monday, February 20, 2012

Get Into the Habit of asking Questions on E&O Prospects

While I have had a variety of habits, one that I've never claimed is running, especially any great distance. There's a great deal of discipline involved with any training but I think even more so running, especially for long distance events.
Photo of the 2011 Boston Marathon
(John Tlumaki - Boston Globe)

We may not all be runners but we all have behaviors we repeat, and when we do things a certain way it's pretty difficult to change, whether it's adding or deleting behavior or trying to develop completely different behavior. For me it's maintaining an exercise regimen - and I have a "habit" of not being consistent!

Habits impact us in our work as well. If you're not used to writing professional liability coverage you may not be used to obtaining certain information that will speed up the underwriting processs. While it may not become "habit" if you don't see alot of this business, if you keep the following in mind it should help save you some time:

1. Current Carrier Info: If there is current coverage in place, find out what carrier is writing it now, limit, deductible, expiration date and the retroactive date of the current policy. If you can determine the existing premium it will allow us to determine right away if we can be competitive, assuming that's important to you, and it usually is. If we're not sure about exact pricing we can at least give you an idea of minimum or likely premiums.

2. Retroactive Date: I know it's listed in item 1, but I see plenty of submissions without the retroactive (prior acts) date provided. It's almost impossible to provide an accurate quote on most risks without the retro date. Most applications have a place to list the current retro date, but it's frequently missed for some reason. Worse are apps that don't ask, so make sure you ask this question of your client. (If your client/prospect gives you a copy of the dec page the retro date may be listed, but check to be sure)

3. Loss Info: If there's been a claim, most carriers have a claims supplement they'd like completed. This is to provide some detail about what happened, which is usually missing from the loss runs and/or claim question contained on the app itself. It doesn't have to be on a formal supplement, if your client will provide a narrative that's fine also. What's also really helpful is if you can include any steps the insured has taken to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of future, similar claims.

4. Business description: This seems contrary to most people's thought process, but the more info you can provide the better chances of attracting more carriers and better rates. This is especially true with professional liability exposures. A simple example is a risk labeled "business consultant". The pricing and terms will depend on the details. If your client's operations include business "takeovers" and/or turn-around management, rates and marekes would be different than for a business consultant that's training office staff on matters involving customer service. Make sure we have the details.

Contact us today - we're happy to help with whatever issues, questions or accounts you may have.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winning - Adding and Amending Coverage

The anniversary of the 1980 USA v Russia Olympic Hockey win is February 25th. This photo is from the post game celebration when the USA defeated Russia to advance to the gold medal game. Russia's team was expected to win, and the USA victory was punctuated by Al Michael's television call "Do You Believe In Miracles?!"

There's no doubt that it's a still a tough market, and "winning" is not easy, but it's still a great time to write E&O and Professional liability insurance.

Rates are still very competitive, and while it's possible that rates will increase at some point, right now there are numerous markets that are still aggressively seeking business.

Keep in mind it's not just rates that will help you write new business and retain renewals. Carriers are still revising their policy forms, usually to broaden coverage. If a carrier has not recently revised their wording, there's a good chance that they have one or more endorsements that will amend/improve coverage in certain key areas.

The most recent example I can offer is a submission for an engineering firm. This particular client was aware of a situation one of his competitor's experienced, where there was a need for defense for an issue that was brought by a regulatory authority. That engineer had to hire an attorney and the process cost the engineering firm nearly six figures.

Several of our carriers offered this coverage at varying sub-limits, but our best pricing originally didn't include the coverage. We were able to negotiate that coverage into the policy at a sub-limit of $25,000 per incident, $50,000 per policy period, and the deductible does not apply. The policy and the negotiated coverage helped our client win the account.

I'll give some other examples of coverage options in future posts, but if you have questions about what might be available for your client please call or email. We'll do all we can to help you win on your next opportunity.