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Part 1: You're Being Sued--Insurance Agency Survival Guide

Part 1: You're Being Sued--Insurance Agency Survival Guide

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Published by crosscomplaint
Most insurance agents fear being sued. Aggressive attorneys and customers seeking legal retaliation are filing lawsuits against agents everyday. Cross complaint.com offers a series of articles to help insurance agents avoid this nightmare.

http://www.crosscomplaint.com/2012/09/insurance-agent-lawsuit-error-ommissions-claim/
Most insurance agents fear being sued. Aggressive attorneys and customers seeking legal retaliation are filing lawsuits against agents everyday. Cross complaint.com offers a series of articles to help insurance agents avoid this nightmare.

http://www.crosscomplaint.com/2012/09/insurance-agent-lawsuit-error-ommissions-claim/

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Published by: crosscomplaint on Sep 16, 2012
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Your Life Will Never Be The Same--Prepare Yourself

www.crosscomplaint.com by crosscomplaint.com © 2012 All Rights Reserved Every insurance agent dreads the possibility of being sued by a customer. It can be their worst fear. Unfortunately, it happens everyday, when lawsuits are filed against agencies across America for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include professional negligence, breach of oral contract, misrepresentation, and fraud to name a few. Since insurance agents work with people everyday, they develop a sixth sense when something is not going right with a customer. This intuition should be relied upon especially, when a customer is not happy or threatening possible litigation against the agency or insurance company. Lawsuits will typically arise out an insurance claim not honored by the insurance carrier. This is when the entire customer/agent/insurance carrier relationship is analyzed under a microscope and every detail is discovered.

Do You Have A Complete And Clean Application With Your Customer?
The application will be the first place to be reviewed: ● ● What answers were supplied on the application? Who completed the application? If the agent completes the application, it might be considered less reliable or suspect since it opens up the opportunity for the customer or carrier to dispute the answers. If the customer completes the application--better positioning for the agency and less opportunity for answers to be challenged. Who signed the application? The customer ALWAYS signs the application. Under no uncertain terms does the insurance agent send applications to the carrier unsigned or altered. This is worth repeating: The Customer Always Signs The Application. What questions are important to the insurance carrier in order to underwrite the policy properly? A typical commercial insurance application can have many underwriting questions for agents and customers to sort through. Unfortunately, insurance carriers never inform agents which questions are "material" for proper underwriting, forcing agents to assume they're all important. Insurance carriers have been known to selectively choose which question is important. When the underwriter asks for more specific details--the agent should know--this question is important and answer honestly and correctly.

Does the agency have a solid trail of correspondence with the customer when the application was executed? Any correspondence between the customer and agency preferably through email is important, since it reveals questions being answered etc. Does the agency have a solid trail of correspondence with the insurance carrier? This is very important because you might need this information to support your case.

Insurance agents must remember applications are similar to a foundation on a house. A bad foundation will mean the house will start to crack and fall apart--especially under stress. The application is a significant contributor to the entire relationship a customer has with your agency and insurance carrier. The denial of a claim is equivalent to being at the epicenter of an earthquake. The application is ground zero and will be reviewed first by anyone involved in your lawsuit.

Are There Warning Signs A Lawsuit Is Imminent?
The insurance agent must assess are there any warning flags a lawsuit is around the corner. Some signs include: ● ● Customer says you'll hear from my attorney. There are times when the customer is venting their frustrations, but take it seriously as if you're going to battle. The customer's attorney has called your office. WARNING: Be careful if you choose to take a phone call from an attorney. They are highly trained "professionals" (ninja warriors) who have mastered the art of negotiation, intimidation, and legal education on statutes and procedures guaranteed to spin your head and emotions completely out of control. They will record everything you say or send to them through email guaranteed to be used against you in a court of law. They will try to intimidate you, which can borderline harassment and their professional code of conduct for their state. One conversation with an attorney will have you contemplating suicide--guaranteed! The agency needs to access is the claim heading in the wrong direction, based on information from the insurance carrier. The claims department has called your office asking for more details. The claim is becoming more complex. The exchange of emails between the various parties is more involved and frequent. Are you avoiding the emails or phone calls from the claims department? Trust your intuition is once again very important. If your "gut" is telling you the problem is spiraling out of control--trust yourself. Denial or avoidance will make it worst or possibly escalate the situation. You cannot wish this problem away and it's forcing you in a direction or path you've always feared. The agency needs to perform a self assessment if or how they may have contributed to the problem if at all. The insurance agent must look themselves in the mirror--did I do anything wrong?

You Are Not A Pawn Or Livestock Ready For Slaughter
A lawsuit is difficult, stressful and an arduous process. It's a process for those to seek remedy who believe they've been wronged through legal retaliation in a court of law. Anyone who has gone through a lawsuit knows this important fact--your life will be changed forever and you'll never be the same. Unfortunately, many insurance agents are inadequately trained to prepare for this battle. They lack the knowledge and education due to their own laziness or ignorance. Sometimes it's due the fault of the insurance carrier. The carrier would like to keep the agent in the "dark" as if they're pawns in a game of chess. Even worst--agents become livestock waiting to enter the kill

pen to be butchered for hamburger. Don't let this happen to you....

In part 2--Preparing yourself to call your errors and omissions insurance carrier

Copyrighted Material © 2012 In a series of articles, we'll provide our opinions on preparing your agency for a lawsuit. These articles are not meant as legal advice, but simply used for information and educational purposes only. Please see our terms of use for further information.

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