In today’s litigious society, keeping good records of your work as an insurance agent is important. Consistently and accurately documenting discussions with your clients — and actions taken as a result of those discussions — may not eliminate your risk of an errors and omissions claim or guarantee your success should you face one. But it can both reduce your risk of a claim and aid in your defense in the event of an E&O claim. Here are some important steps to consider taking in your office:
Record incoming calls. You’ll want to record the date, time, the name of who called and who in the office they talked to. Include information about what was discussed and what action you or a staff member took on your customer’s behalf. You can take notes or create a form that can be filled out whenever you or a staff member talk to a customer.
Keep good notes. You’ll want to have a file for each customer and include a log of phone calls they made to you and you made to them. Include any coverage advice you provided. It’s especially important to keep notes whenever a client declines to take your coverage recommendation(s) or declines coverage you suggest. Many E&O insurance claims stem from instances in which a customer declines coverage. If you communicate via e-mail, be careful with what you say; it’s a written record. Make sure you archive all e-mails in which you discuss insurance coverage with a customer, initiate coverage or make a requested change to a policy.
Establish procedures. Put in place clearly defined procedures for tasks such as notifying clients their coverage is being canceled.
Follow up in written form. When a client requests a change in coverage — especially a reduction in coverage — send a follow-up letter about the changes they requested. Make it clear which types of coverage were initiated and which were declined.
Back up your records. Make sure you’re safely storing and backing up all physical and electronic information.
Want to learn more? IA Magazine has an article you may want to review, ‘The Top 5 causes of Agency E&O claims in 2020‘.