Having access to quality E&O insurance products is a necessity for any broker who is determined to provide a full-service offering to the clients. As well as providing coverage against claims made by clients for inadequate work or negligent actions, E&O products can cover against copyright infringements, defence costs and libel or slander. A type of professional liability coverage, E&O is essential for a company of any size. For brokers, getting properly educated in this space is a real no-brainer.
“Professional liability and E&O coverage are usually one and the same, but professional liability covers anything that has an association overseeing their code of conduct, like chartered accountants, architects and engineers,” says Barb Pattenden, Director Insurance Operations, South Western Insurance Group. “The basic professional liability policies are pretty clear cut.”
In working closely with a professional liability/E&O department that has decades of experience, Pattenden has seen first-hand how experience and service go hand-in-hand. She is in no doubt that brokers who work with experienced intermediaries receive a much higher level of service, which they can then pass on to the most important stakeholder in the transaction: the end client.
Pattenden believes that brokers operating in the E&O space should always work with an intermediary who specializes in the segment. “By working with experienced underwriters, brokers are able to speed up their process and increase efficiency,” Pattenden says. “An experienced intermediary is more likely to understand each individual risk. Brokers who work with intermediaries without that experience level run the risk not getting access to the best carriers and products; you may not get the adequate coverage. If you’re dealing with an underwriter who only dabbles in the space the insured could easily be left exposed.”
There are many carriers currently writing professional liability in Canada, and competition in the space is rife. Professional liability/E&O risks are considered to be ‘good’ risks because, if they’re underwritten properly, the loss ratios are low. “Everyone wants to get into this space and for brokers that means more options for their clients,” Pattenden says. “But brokers have to make sure they place their client’s business with the company who can assess risk properly and provide good customer service.”