Four Simple Commandments can Help you Avoid E&O Sins

To Benjamin Franklin’s statement that “…in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes,” I would add “and insurance agents’ errors and omissions claims.”

In fact, the number of E&O claims seems to be increasing. Two primary reasons for this dreaded litigation explosion are the complexity of modern insurance policies and the proliferation of attorneys who work in this area. Speakers at every E&O seminar say the same thing: It’s not a matter of if you’ll be sued but when.

In response to this situation, our industry has produced an extraordinary number of articles, manuals and seminars dealing with loss prevention and litigation.

Like most conscientious agents, I have read many E&O prevention articles and manuals and attended many E&O workshops and seminars. At best, the meetings are long and detailed. At worst, they are threatening, repetitive and boring.

Each time one of our office staffers attended one of these seminars, it disrupted office routine. To keep the workflow moving and to reduce seminar expenses, I became our agency’s in-house errors and omissions instructor.

In this role, I have tried to communicate meaningful E&O information to the staff. I have scheduled meetings and classes, sent memos, hung posters, and used jokes, illustrations and an number of other outrageous methods to convey loss prevention information.

In trying different approaches, I was overwhelmed by the volume of material published on the subject, I had difficulty identifying central ideas on which most experts agree.

Then I streamlined my approach. God, in His wisdom, gave Moses the Ten Commandments-ten simple, straightforward rules for living. Those who want to simplify things even further can look to the Golden Rule, which incorporated the necessary values into one statement; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

With apologies to Moses, and certainly to God, I created four simple commandments and a Golden Rule for errors and omissions and loss prevention that we now follow in our agency.