Labels Matter when it comes to Liability
Labels Matter when it comes to Liability04.16.2015
Take care when using terms like “specialist” or “expert” when describing your business or job title to a customer. In some cases, agents who hold themselves out as “specialists” may be held to a higher standard than those who are simply advertising services as an “insurance agent.” The logic behind this is that experts provide advice and are therefore more likely to follow a standard of care that is expected of an advisor, while agents typically procure insurance coverage the customer is asking for. For instance, a property and casualty insurance “expert” may be expected to provide advice or make assessments regarding all of the customer’s insurance needs including but not limited to pointing out potential coverage gaps the customer may not be aware of, exploring and explaining available limits and policy exclusions which should be tailored to that client’s needs. In a case like this, the customer may hold the agent responsible for not identifying and providing coverage for exposures the agent should be aware of as an “expert” in the field.
Although insurance professionals may often view themselves as experts, consider using the term in marketing and promotional materials only if you’re sure this term accurately describes your knowledge level and the level of care you believe is expected of you by your customers. Consider usage of terms like “expert” or “specialist” carefully especially when it comes to marketing collateral and websites. Although there are advantages to promoting yourself or your business as an industry “expert” or “specialist,” these terms can also leave you vulnerable to E&O claims. To help avoid E&O claims, consider taking the time to determine what standard of care you will be providing and how this impacts your customers’ expectations before titling yourself an “expert” in the field.
All information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only. The sources used are presumed accurate. CalSurance Associates, Brown & Brown Program Insurance Services, Inc. and Brown & Brown, Inc. will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use and will not assume responsibility for any misguided information. No guarantees are implied.
Written by CalSurance Team Published April 2015