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A director or officer being sued or investigated for allegations of mismanagement is facing one of her or his worse nightmares. His reputation is at stake (often fueled by a stream of adverse news articles in the local press) and, because a director's or officer's liability even for "corporate decisions" is a personal liability, such a claim can be a financial nightmare as well. The situation is made all the worse when the director receives notification that the D&O insurer may be denying coverage. This article will lay out the top ten steps for a director to take to put him back in control. It all starts with
One of the best techniques for settling cases at mediation is to take a consultant or expert witness with you to the session or at least have them available by telephone. I have used this approach in many cases with considerable success. The manner in which this is done varies depending on the complexity of the case, the extent of the consultant's or expert's involvement and what disputes or unresolved issues depend on expert testimony.
I have been active as an insurance agent/broker for 40 years. 20 years ago I was referred to an attorney by a fellow CPCU colleague to be a so called "expert". The case involved an agent who failed to provide workers compensation benefits to an ongoing commercial concern. I was hired by the plaintiff's attorney to opine on the conduct of the agent. Since this was a fundamental error on the part of the agent, the case was soon settled in favor of the plaintiff. This was my introduction to being an expert. I found I enjoyed the experience and it was a nice contrast to sales and insurance administration.
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.