Archive for the ‘Insurance Law’ Category

VALUE OF A RISK…

June 19, 2012

VALUE OF A RISK MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT AUDIT

Over my thirty nine years as a risk manager and risk management consultant (in addition to my past sixteen years as an attorney) I have learned that when a company has a long harmonious relationship with their broker the company may feel that the broker is part of the corporate family, and as part of the corporate family may not be able to render a truly impartial, objective verdict on the insurance programs. As a matter of fact, I have had agents and brokers recommend the use of an independent consultant to either get a fresh slant on a problem or opportunity, or to get an endorsement or critique on the way the broker is handling the program so that the brokers recommendations can be validated or improved upon.

That is why insurance and risk management audits are performed by individuals such as myself or companies that are engaged exclusively in risk management consulting activities.

An independent risk management consultant does not steer programs to any one broker and should never taken a commission on any insurance program they recommend.

A full scale audit should:

• analyze exposures to loss and determine what risks should be eliminated, reduced, insured, self-insured or not insured at all;
• independently evaluate the effectiveness of the present insurance program in terms of the protection afforded, services provided and cost;
• consider possible alternatives such as deductibles, retrospective rating, self-insurance and other methods of improving cash flow:
• evaluate management’s attitude toward loss control and the effectiveness of current loss control programs;
• review the administration of the risk management function and insurance program;
• help establish a formal risk management policy;
• provide a written report indicating my findings and making recommendations relative to the areas that appear to be in need of attention.

The information required by a risk management consultant will include information related to:

• corporate structure – subsidiaries, divisions, etc.
• structure of management – scope of responsibility, authority, etc.
• management philosophies, polices, procedures, etc.
• risk management policy
• types of operations other than hotels if they exist
• significant events involving risk management in recent years
• loss prevention programs
• loss control programs
• prior loss experience – insured and uninsured
• copies of contracts affecting risk management
• administration of the risk management function.

In addition a risk management consultant will need copies of all current insurance policies, endorsements, pertinent correspondence, rating plans, premium adjustments, etc.

The Law Offices of Lawrence H. Nemirow can provide risk management audits for legal or insurance matters.

Contact me by calling 562-799-1379 or send me an email at nemirow@aol.com

Duties Of Agents And Brokers

April 13, 2012

Are you aware of the legal duties of your insurance agent or broker?

Your insurance agent has to perform the following duties on your behalf:

• When you notify your agent or broker that you or your business acquired a new vehicle he or she may be liable for failure to advise you that the vehicle may not be covered by your insurance

• Your broker may be personally liable for failing to recognize and correct gaps between your primary and excess policies.

• Your broker has a duty to call your attention to any clauses in claims made policies if you give notice of a potential claim occurring during the policy period.

• Your agent or broker has a special duty to respond to your inquires regarding sufficiency of insurance coverage.

• Your agent or broker is liable to you if he or she misrepresents the nature, extent or scope of coverage, especially if he or she held themselves out to you as having expertise in the type of insurance you are seeking.

• Your agent or broker may be liable to you or your business for failure to advise you about cancellation or renewal of policies except where non-payment of premium is involved.

• Your agent or broker may be liable to you or your business for failure to obtain coverage requested by you.

• Your agent or broker has a duty to investigate a non-admitted insurers financial strength
before recommending placement of insurance with that insurer.

Contact your insurance attorney, business attorney or risk manager if you believe your agent or broker breached any of these duties.

WHAT YOU CAN DO IF AN INSURER IMPROPERLY REFUSES TO PAY

July 22, 2009

You faithfully pay your premiums on time. Each year you renew your policy praying that you will never have to file a claim.

Then something awful happens that requires you to notify your insurance company of a covered loss that could cause  you to lose all of your hard earned assets. You rightfully expect the insurance company to honor the policy provisions and pay your losses or defend you in court.

Instead of paying right away, the insurance company refuses to pay, or delays in making payment. You may be forced to pay out of your pocket for legal fees and judgments that should have been paid by the insurer. Worst case is that you can be forced into bankruptcy or lose a substantial part of your assets.

Earlier in this century the only remedy against the insurance company was to file a breach of contract claim against the insurer. The insured, if the insured were to win, would be to receive only what the insurer promised to pay in the policy. The insurer was not responsible for punitive damages or liability for the insured’s emotional distress.

Today, the courts of California treat these unfair claim practices as a tort and give the insured the opportunity of recovering tort remedies against the insurer for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

While most causes for breach of the covenant still lies in contracts, an exception can be made under contracts involving a “special relationship”, characterized by elements of public interest, adhesion, and fiduciary responsibility. The insurance contact contains all of these elements.

At the first sign that your insurer is improperly refusing to pay, or is delaying retaining an attorney  on your behalf, consult with an attorney who practices in insurance law. The faster you advise your insurer that you are willing to pursue your legal remedies, the faster your insurer will honor its obligations under the contract.

To contact me, you may email me at nemirow@aol.com, find me at www.nemlawyer.com, or call me at 562-799-1379, to discuss the particulars of your concerns or case.

Insurance Law Updates To Be Added To Blog

July 15, 2009

In addition to providing you with information on Estate Planning, Probate and Business Law, I will be providing timely information with regards to Insurance Law.