Our Cup Runneth Over

By | March 7, 2005

In addition to our copious directory of professional liability markets, this edition of Insurance Journal Midwest features a number of excellent feature articles. Staff writer Dawn Love pulls double duty this time out, with a story each in Midwest and National. In the National section, Love’s cover story (page N6) examines employment practices liability insurance. When it was first introduced in the 1980s, EPLI struck many as an unnecessary coverage for an exotic risk. But as the litigation explosion took hold, it soon became a mainstay of any business’s insurance portfolio.

Just as most consumer brands look to attract young customers, so too should agents and brokers, Love writes in her other story in this issue (page 52). Among other insights Love gleaned from the agents she interviewed was the necessity for older agents to talk to young customers with the same respect and adult tone they have for their grayer and paunchier brethren. It’s a key point, I think, because newcomers to insurance already feel overwhelmed without being made to feel stupid on top of it all.

Meanwhile, East Managing Editor Andrew G. Simpson reports from the Professional Liability Underwriters’ recent symposium (page 49). Two panel discussions there covered the impact of recent case decisions on the financial scandals of 2001 and 2002 will have on the directors and officers line of business as well as the Spitzer investigation’s impact on producer compensation. In our Parting Shots, CPCU Society president and Zurich executive Don Huzeler stresses the importance of ethics awareness in the aftermath of Spitzer. His point: Unless the industry steps up to show consumers and regulators both that the bid-rigging uncovered is just an aberration and not standard practice, the worst may be yet to come.

Medical malpractice remains one of the hardest lines of business for underwriters. Shand, Morahan & Co.’s Letha Heaton takes a look at how new technologies and segmentation in the health-care industry presents even more challenges, as well as great opportunities, for surplus line insurers (page 47).

I had the pleasure of paying a visit to chilly, snowy Grand Rapids, Mich., to cover the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents’ annual convention last month. In the Wolverine State, the industry finds itself in the crosshairs (page 8). Sometimes, you know, the Hand of Fate intervenes in ways we cannot understand. Other times, it’s just a hoot. Grand Rapids’ native son is, of course, our 38th president Gerry Ford. I had a moment to visit the museum built in his honor while in town, and I have the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum socks–with presidential seal–to prove it. And they say insurance reporters are hard to please …

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