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Insurance defense attorneys inhabit a confusing world in which even the "routine case" may need an expert witness for trial or a consultant to help with an early evaluation for settlement purposes. The legal precedents, regulations, and such don't often say what the profession's standard of care in the community is in the exact situation.
Having spent over 45 years in the life insurance business, I had become frustrated with the books that I had been reading that promote permanent life insurance in a manner that I considered exaggerated or flawed. I shared my frustration with several people who responded by challenging me to write a response that says what should have been said by these other authors.
In a previous issue of Legal Brief, I discussed protecting yourself with adequate auto insurance. This is, perhaps, the insurance that is most commonly bought, because every driver is required to be covered by automobile liability insurance. But what about business owners? Should they buy insurance as well?
Employers generally realize that the initial premium they pay for Workers Compensation insurance isn't the final premium for that coverage-Workers Comp is normally subject to an audit after the policy ends, to adjust premium charges based on actual payroll amounts. When the policy starts, after all, payroll amounts can only be estimated for the coming year. So it's routine for employers of any size to undergo a Workers Compensation premium audit, and to receive an audit statement that often seeks some additional premium.
A growing trend for many businesses has been for their customers and prospects to use their experience modification factor as a safety benchmark, requiring a modifier of 1.00 or 1.05 for those bidding on projects. A higher modifier can disqualify a firm from bidding on many projects, particularly governmental projects.
Recently, a former Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance wrote an Op-Ed piece, decrying recently proposed legislation that would require insurers to file changes in Workers Compensation insurance rates with regulators before using those rates with insurers. The proposed legislation would also allow the Department of Insurance to disapprove rates if it was determined they were excessive.
I recently worked with an elderly woman (who I will call Beatrice) to evaluate whether or not the variable annuity she purchased less than a year ago was a good buy.
Google distributes proprietary applications for its open-source Android mobile operating system (OS) free of charge. Some of those applications (apps) are offered together as a suite of apps known as Google Mobile Services (GMS). Manufacturers of mobile devices can agree, pursuant to Google's Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), to install the suite of apps on their devices at a price of zero. Some theorize that Google's policy of offering some applications together as a suite of apps harms competitors or menaces consumer welfare.
Rarely are clients immediately aware of the wrongful or erroneous actions of the "professional" they trusted to perform specific duties or services; mainly because "professional" acts or errors do not or only seldom cause immediate injury. A "professional's" wrongful acts or errors may not manifest in client injury until long after the act is perpetrated or the error is committed.
Two mutually exclusive goals are beginning to result in apparently unintended results within the executive and professional liability markets. The quest for underwriting profits and the desire to develop clear (to whatever extent possible) coverage language have rapidly changed the coverage landscape within these two lines of coverage.