I hope all my readers had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. The weather in the Atlanta area was perfect, until late Monday afternoon when it started to rain. By that time, I was ready to relax in front of the TV, so it was no problem for me.
Prior to the weekend, I attended the quarterly meeting of IIAG’s Commercial Lines committee. One of the agenda items concerned whether the committee should create a forms and data bank to which IIAG members could look for general information about subjects that every agency has to deal with; privacy rules, electronic delivery of policies and notices, prevention of E&O claims, etc.
During the discussion of this agenda item, it was pointed out that IIABA has a website devoted to issues involving E&O claims. That website has links to sample disclaimers for voice mail, telefax, e-mail, websites, social media sites, and proposals, sample checklists for commercial and personal lines customers, among others, and over 20 sample letters to customers about audits, claims, carrier downgrades and insolvency, and other subjects. It also has information on best practices for the retention of records and the documentation of communications with customers and sample procedures for dealing with cancellations, claims, audits, and renewals, among others.
Unfortunately, while anyone can visit the above website, the information and sample documents described above are only available to IIABA members. A similar restriction exists for the forms I have developed for use by IIAG members. Those forms include obtaining consent for the electronic delivery of policies and a suggested letter for use when a person has requested the issuance of an insurance certificate in violation of Georgia law.
On another subject, one of the committee members brought up a situation they were dealing with that could lead to problems for customers with both a general liability and umbrella policy, as well as the agent who is handling a claim under them. The same insurance company issued both policies, but the language in them regarding when notice of a claim to the company must be given to avoid a denial of coverage was different. The notice given to the company met the requirements of the general liability policy, but the company contended it did not meet the requirements of the umbrella policy, as under that policy the notice should have been given earlier. This type of problem could apply to any two insurance policies that may provide coverage for the same risk and is yet another reason that the customer and the agent should carefully read both policies and make a note of any differences in them on this or any other subject. The failure to do so could result in an uninsured loss by the customer and potentially, an E&O claim against the agent.