Updated: Nov 17, 2021
As I scroll through the headlines each day to stay in the loop of all things insurance related, without fail, I always see articles involving lawsuits.
Sometimes someone is trying to sue the insurer, and other times, their agent.
I think it’s safe to say that nobody wants to get caught up in a lawsuit for any reason, but especially if it involves one’s career, business, and livelihood.
Although we’re not litigation experts here at Engagex, we wanted to share some insights with you based on some of our customer’s experiences.
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide - so make sure to seek your own legal counsel from a professional to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your insurance agency.
Along with having E&O insurance coverage for your business, there are other things you can do to minimize the risk of getting sucked into a lawsuit altogether!
One of those things is to regularly hold customer insurance reviews with your current clients.
The proactive communication that happens from scheduling annual reviews, the reviews themselves, and diligent record keeping work as a safeguard for your agency.
Let's break it down:
Regular, Proactive Communication
Regularly reaching out to each of your customers on (at least) an annual basis to invite them to review their policies with you should be a no-brainer, even if just for the retention and increased production that comes from doing so.
If you don’t meet with your customers, how are you going to know about life changes that require a new policy?
Most people don’t have the knowledge and education about what changes in their life warrant new or modified coverage, so they put their trust in you, the insurance professional, to monitor and maintain appropriate coverage.
Reaching out to them to review each year is part of your duty as their insurance advisor, even if they decline the meeting invitation (more on that later).
Proactive communication also strengthens the relationship you have with your clients, and generally speaking, people are a lot less likely to sue somebody they like. (Insurance Journal)
Educate & Explain
Annual review meetings are the perfect time to educate your clients on their coverage and help them understand your recommendations.
With thorough understanding of your clients risks, you’re equipped to recommend the coverage that will best suit their needs.
This, in and of itself will decrease the likelihood of errors on your part.
And when your clients are informed and understand their risks better, they’ll have more confidence and trust in you as their agent.
They’re more able to see the big picture, and are well aware of their options.
If you need help creating educational content in different formats, check out our post: How to Create Educational Content that Sells Policies
Also be sure to update your educational content as needed so that your clients have the most up-to-date information.
Thorough Record Keeping
The above recommendations are useful, but without a proper paper trail documenting coverage options that were discussed and offered, invitations to review their policies, etc, good luck.
Let’s say, Heaven forbid, you find yourself in the middle of an E&O claim.
Your client is adamant that you didn’t explain or offer the coverage that they needed.
If you don’t have a detailed paper trail to show that you did, in fact, recommend the coverage and they declined, it’s your word against theirs.
By ensuring that you and all of your staff members keep diligent records, you’ll save yourself from a world of frustration.
Theresa, an office manager of one of the insurance agencies we work with, told me about an experience they had with a client:
“We haven’t had appointments with all of our clients, but we’ve had contact. There have been some instances where there was a loss. A lady had a loss of jewelry, and it was not covered. She swore up and down that she had never been contacted by our office. Well, we were able to go, not only into our notes where we had contact with her, but we were able to also go back into Engagex reports and we were able to tell her that we reached out to her. We gave her the dates so she was not able to come back on us. She's still a client today, because I think she realized that it wasn't on us, it was on her.”
Keep record of all interactions you have with your clients, it can literally save your agency!
To drive the point even further home and to wrap things up, another one of our customers, Insurance Agent Mark Peter, spoke similarly:
“It's really just a CYA, when a customer says "how come I don't have this?" and you can either say, "well, it looks like we reviewed it in 2017 and it was declined," or if nothing else "it looks like we've called you in for a review 2015, 2017 and 2019, and you never took us up on the review." and so it kind of puts the onus back on them that they have chosen not to review their policies. You can't help people that don't help themselves.”
Regularly contacting your customers for annual reviews and keeping detailed records of interactions can be some of the most important things you do to protect your agency.