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  • In with the New (PDF, 282kb)

    01 January 2015

    “One who buys has need of two eyes, but one’s enough to sell the stuff.” Unless you happen to be an insurance broker. In that case, you need two sharp eyes at all times: to know what “stuff” is for sale and what your client is actually buying. If you don’t, you may be on the road to an E&O claim.

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  • Residential Flood Coverage (PDF, 295kb)

    01 January 2015

    Flooding is a common problem in Canada. Flood disasters have occurred in Canada almost five times more frequently than the next most common disaster, wildfires. (Sandink, 2010) Snow melt in the springtime and its subsequent runoff, rain, and ice jams – all common to Canada – are the most frequent causes of flooding. If more than one of these events occurs simultaneously, the severity flooding may increase.

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  • Brokers beware: the new commercial customer (PDF, 339kb)

    01 January 2014

    While new business is always welcome and commercial customers can generate significant revenues, this combination is ripe with opportunities to make mistakes. Twenty-eight percent of the errors and omissions (E&O) claims reported to Westport Insurance Company, a premier provider of professional liability coverage to insurance brokers all across Canada, involve business placed for new clients and 39% of claims reported by those same brokers involve commercial lines policies. The following situation demonstrates how easily things can go wrong.

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  • Life Agent Claim Scenarios (PDF, 364kb)

    01 January 2014

    Failure to describe offset provisions in disability/health policies; Failure to advise of contestability period on replacement life policy; and more...

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  • Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? (PDF, 364kb)

    01 January 2014

    As technology allows the ability to service large groups of clients more efficiently, many brokerages are increasingly expanding their reach beyond the confines of one metropolitan area. In order to better service their customer base, brokerages may open additional locations or may acquire existing entities to expand their business. The management of multiple locations creates new challenges and those challenges if not handled correctly may lead to increased opportunities for error.

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  • Planning for the Unexpected (PDF, 346kb)

    01 January 2014

    “I love it when a plan comes together.” From the TV show The A-Team. Insurance brokers operate on deadlines. Policies come up for renewal. Prospective clients need timely quotes to decide whether to move their coverage. Clients have projects that require insurance to be in place before they can proceed. Even under normal circumstances, getting everything done on a timely basis can be a challenge. But what happens if circumstances are not normal?

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  • Optional accident benefits case law (PDF, 331kb)

    01 January 2014

    A recent decision was handed down in the Ontario Court of Appeal which upheld the lower Court’s decision that, while the optional accident benefits were not appropriately offered or discussed with the client, the Court believes the client would not have accepted the additional benefits in any event.

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  • The Price is Right? (PDF, 360kb)

    01 January 2014

    At the heart of America’s longest-running game show, “The Price is Right®,” is an age old and deceptively simple question: “What’s it worth?” Deceptive, indeed. If the answer was easy, the show would not have lasted 41 years. For more than 7,800 episodes contestants have been venturing their best guesses about the cost of everyday items. And, time after time, most of those guesses have been wrong.

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  • Apples to apples: Common errors in remarketing accounts (PDF, 340kb)

    01 January 2014

    The phrase “apples to apples” often comes up when comparing coverage. And it is guaranteed you will hear it again if you remarket an account and your customer ends up with an uncovered loss.

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  • Catastrophic Weather Events and their Impact on
    Coverage for Seasonal (PDF, 350kb)

    01 January 2014

    Certain seasons herald an increase in particular types of severe weather events. As we have seen with Hurricane Sandy, such catastrophes can have a significant impact on property losses and, as a result, also potentially impact insurance professionals’ liability exposure. Therefore, it’s always opportune to discuss weather-related catastrophes and their potential impact and reflect upon the steps an insurance professional might take to ensure that customers are adequately protected and informed about the nature of the weather-related risks they face.

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  • “What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” (PDF, 344kb)

    01 January 2014

    All too often, policyholders follow this popular notion when filling out an application. Sometimes it appears to work. Failing to fully disclose a risk might get the policy written or save them on premium. When the loss occurs, however, the claim will likely be denied or the policy rescinded. As a broker, you don’t want to be caught in the middle.

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  • Hazards of Making Coverage Determinations for Insurers (PDF, 349kb)

    01 January 2014

    “To claim or not to claim?” That is the question William Shakespeare might have asked had he chosen to become an insurance broker rather than a playwright. Understandably, when clients tender claims to their brokers, the professional who placed coverage in the first place is tempted to offer his opinion regarding coverage.

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  • The Dangers of Familiar Territory (PDF, 357kb)

    01 January 2014

    Procuring a new insurance policy for an existing customer is an important part of any successful broker’s business. Whether placing cover for a newly acquired snowmobile or a vacation cottage, this aspect of a broker’s business is fraught with landmines which often explode into errors and omissions (E&O) claims.

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  • E&O Insurance – Is Your Limit Adequate? (PDF, 360kb)

    01 January 2014

    This is a question that is being asked with increased frequency. Unfortunately there is no easy answer. Many regulators mandate insurance brokers carry E&O insurance in order to comply with the insurance license requirements. Depending on the province, the E&O mandate also stipulates a minimum limit of liability protection be purchased.

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  • The Importance of Office Procedures (PDF, 356kb)

    01 January 2014

    Admittedly this is not one of the better attention grabbing headlines, nor is it likely one of your top 10 favourite topics. It is nonetheless a very important and sometimes overlooked essential element of a brokerage’s success, especially when it comes to providing quality service in a timely manner and adhering to regulatory requirements.

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  • The Right Questions (PDF, 365kb)

    01 January 2014

    Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz once observed that, “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” It appears that Mahfouz would make an excellent insurance broker.

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  • The Dangers of Dabbling (PDF, 353kb)

    01 January 2014

    The errors & omissions battlefield is littered with confused claims. When brokers write coverage they’ve never written before for risks they don’t fully understand or on unfamiliar policy forms, they can wind up in hot water. No brokerage is immune from this possibility.

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