TXINS April E-News: Is Your Job Putting You at Risk of Being Sued?, Ask the Agent, Agency Happenings, Texas Trivia & More!

Is Your Job Putting You at Risk
of Being Sued? 

We live in the age of lawsuits, and if you operate in certain professions, there is a chance you could be sued at least once over the course of your career.

contractorsUnfortunately, professionals of all types can be sued. If you are in the business of providing advice or guidance, you could find yourself on the wrong side in a lawsuit. Professionals at risk include financial and accounting professionals, architects, designers, consultants, and health and medical/wellness practitioners. Despite the well-known risks, many professional service providers simply don’t acknowledge the risk of a lawsuit until after a client or patient hires an attorney.

Protecting your business, finances, and reputation with a professional liability policy is imperative if your clients pay for your expertise, knowledge, advice, or care.

What Is Professional Liability Insurance?
software developerThe exact definition of professional liability insurance varies depending on the professional being insured; but in general, it protects you against “errors and omissions” that occur when rendering professional services. Basically, it safeguards you against mistakes or negligence that result in a financial loss for your client. It differs from a general liability policy, which is designed to cover bodily injury and property damage claims.

Professional liability insurance covers the cost of legal defense and any judgments or settlements up to the policy limits. Lawsuits can be extremely costly, with damages running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars in a major suit.

Professional liability insurance goes by a number of different names and can be applied to a wide variety of professions. Here are three of the more common types of professional liability insurance:

  • Malpractice insurance: This coverage is designed for medical professionals. It protects against suits that allege negligence or mistakes. Anyone working in the healthcare field should consider a malpractice policy.
  • Errors and omissions liability insurance (E&O insurance): This type of coverage is ideal for lawyers, consultants, real estate agents, stock brokers, insurance agents, designers, architects, and others offering their advice and knowledge to earn a living. Clients who act on that advice, whether it be buying a certain type of insurance or purchasing a particular stock, are at risk and may feel that the service provided resulted in a financial loss.
  • Directors and officers liability insurance (D&O insurance): This coverage is specific to high-ranking executives in a company. It handles a variety of circumstances, including unlawful acts, poor investment decisions, the release of confidential information, issues with hiring and firing, gross negligence, conflicts of interest, and other errors.

What Kinds of Professionals Can Be Sued?
The list of professionals who can be sued by their clients is endless, but some are more likely than others to find themselves in court. If you fall on this list, professional liability insurance is a must:

  • Medical professionals
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Engineers
  • Graphic designers
  • Information technology consultants
  • Investment advisors
  • Management consultants
  • Real estate agents and brokers
  • Software developers

Anyone in a profession where a mistake can result in a financial loss should consider professional liability insurance. Dentists, wedding planners, transport professionals, and even hairdressers can find themselves the target of lawsuits.
Why Should I Get Professional Liability Insurance?
medical professionalIf you are concerned your company may not support you during a lawsuit, you’ll want to protect yourself with individual professional liability insurance. For example, if for any reason there is a conflict of interest, your company’s insurance policy won’t provide coverage. The costs of legal defense and possible settlements or judgments may then be taken from your personal financial assets.

If you provide advice or expertise that could result in a financial loss to your clients, you should absolutely have a professional liability policy. Regardless of whether you are at fault, the risk of a lawsuit is real, and mounting a legal defense can easily bankrupt small or even medium-sized businesses. If you’re not protected by the right type of insurance, both your business and personal assets can be at risk.
How Do I Get Professional Liability Insurance?           
When shopping for a professional liability policy, one of the first things to consider is the claim limit. The amount of coverage needed can vary. Another factor to consider is defense costs. Some policies subtract the cost of your defense from the claim limit, which leaves less money available to pay any judgments. Other policies pay for defense costs on top of your claim limit. Finally, check for a loss of earnings clause. Policies that offer this benefit pay for the time that you spend in court, while policies without it don’t cover those costs.

Costs for professional liability insurance can vary widely depending on the work that you perform. To get an accurate quote, contact your TXINS agent. Your agent has access to many professional liability insurance companies. He or she will advise you on appropriate coverage levels and search for multiple professional liability insurance quotes that fit within your budget.

We Are Here for You 

Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. is your trusted advocate. As an independent insurance agency, TXINS represents a wide network of A-rated insurance companies, which allows us to find the best insurance policy to fit your needs and budget. We don’t believe in cookie cutter policies and will customize a plan specifically for you. Your overall satisfaction is our top priority. That’s a promise.

TXINS offers complimentary insurance reviews to ensure you are getting the right coverage for yourself, your family, or your business. To schedule your review, contact us today at 800-541-9849 or via email. Together, we will ensure you are protecting what matters most.

The employees of TXINS are active members in our communities. Here’s a quick list of what we have planned for the month.

  • All offices will be closed on Friday, April 14 for Good Friday. We wish all of our friends and family a very Happy Easter!
  • Georgetown’s Marcie Ramm will be participating in Relay for Life of North Williamson County on Saturday, April 22. All are welcome to  join the “Texas Insurance Fighting for a Cure” team and Relay with her. If you can’t be there in person, donations to the team are also appreciated. Click here to join the TXINS Relay team or make a donation to the American Cancer Society.
  • Happy April Birthday to TXINS President, Mr. Gordon Sorrel! We hope you enjoy your special day!
  • Congratulations to the following TXINS team members on their April work anniversaries: Hector Gutierrez-12 years and Al Ford-2 years. We are proud to have you on our team!
  • Congrats to our February Texas Trivia winner Clint Wishert! Don’t miss the new Texas trivia question below. Be one of the first three people to answer the question correctly and win your own full-sized Texas flag!

The Georgetown and El Campo offices got into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit with the customary wearing o’ the green on Friday, March 17. No pinches for these festive TXINS’ers! 

RLI Explains: What is a Personal Umbrella Policy?

Personal Umbrella Policies provide an extra layer of liability protection that goes above the coverage limits already provided by your homeowners and auto policies to protect your personal assets if you are the target of a lawsuit. Every year, millions of people are sued and the cost to defend oneself can amount to thousands or even millions of dollars. Having a Personal Umbrella Policy to cover the costs not covered by a homeowners, auto or other policy is beneficial when you are legally obligated or financially responsible for accident damages that exceed your policy limits. This video shares information on the importance of having a Personal Umbrella Policy and gives examples of unexpected accidents covered by a personal umbrella policy that could happen to anyone, at any time, and why umbrella coverage is important.

Want to learn more about adding a Personal Umbrella Policy to your insurance portfolio? Contact TXINS today at 800-541-9849.

I’ve been living in an apartment for the past 5 years and am ready to purchase my own home. What tips do you have for helping me secure the right homeowners insurance?  – Sarah W., Dallas, TX

Dear Sarah:

Buying a home is a big step…and also a very exciting one! Once you find the right home for you, make sure your home insurance has you covered for whatever life might have in store. While your mortgage lender will likely require you to carry some level of home insurance, don’t assume that amount will protect you from financial disaster.

Insure for your home’s replacement cost
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is confusing a house’s market value with its replacement cost. Your home insurance coverage should cover the cost of rebuilding your house if it is destroyed. The best indication for coverage is the cost to build a new home. With an existing home, look at the replacement cost rather than the market value. This is often less than what you paid for your home; if you’re insuring your house for its market value, you may be overinsuring it.

While it may be tempting to purchase less coverage, the reduced cost may not be worth the risk you take in having inadequate coverage. It can be less expensive to rebuild a home than to do extensive remodeling, and many home insurance claims are for only partial damage to a home.

Don’t skimp on liability insurance
The threat of legal action is a real concern for everyone—especially if you have assets like a house, savings, and investments. If you’re sued for an incident covered under your home insurance (like a slip-and-fall injury on your front steps), liability insurance covers not only the settlement but also your legal fees (up to your liability limit).

Many liability insurance policies will cover you even if an incident happens away from your home. We also recommend buying an excess liability or an umbrella policy that offers coverage of $1 million beyond what is already included in your home insurance and car insurance policies. These policies are relatively inexpensive, often costing $200 to $300 per year.

Protect your personal property
Be sure to review the coverage amount for your personal property. Most policies include coverage equal to 50% to 75% of the replacement value of your house. You may need a separate endorsement, or rider, for some valuables. For example, coin collections, stamp collections, jewelry, furs, fine art, cameras, and other expensive belongings may be subject to limited coverage under the personal property provisions of your plan.

Don’t overlook coverage for additional living expenses
If your house is destroyed or otherwise unlivable while repairs are being made, you’ll be glad you can tap into your “additional living expenses” (ALE) coverage. This type of coverage won’t pay your mortgage, but it will cover the cost of an apartment or hotel. If you are displaced from your house, you can make a claim for this coverage by submitting paperwork documenting your living expenses.

Examine what’s not covered
Finally, read the exclusions section of your home insurance policy. Understanding what’s not going to be covered is just as important as knowing what is—before you ever have to make a claim.

Do you have a question for our agents? Email it to us! If we choose your question, we’ll send you a thank you gift! Be sure to include your mailing address and phone number in your email.

Congrats to Geoff Ford of Austin, TX, our March Referral Program winner! Thanks for your referrals, Geoff!

If you love Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., tell a relative, friend, or co-worker about us. When they call to receive a quote make sure they let us know that you referred them.

As a thank you, you’ll receive a surprise gift and will be entered into our monthly gift card drawing and our annual Grand Prize drawing for a $1,000 gift card!!!

(Grand Prize drawing will be held on December 7, 2017.)

* Image courtesy of the Whiteside Museum of Natural History

Texas Trivia

Highland Park Village is America’s first shopping center and the prototype for shopping centers all over the country. The development of the Village began in 1906 when John S. Armstrong purchased 1,326 acres of land bisected by an Old Indian trace later used as a cattle trail, now called Preston Road. Mr. Armstrong envisioned a new, exclusive planned community just north of the bustling young city of Dallas. Over the years, Highland Park has become one of the most beautiful communities in the nation.

When Highland Park Village had its Grand Opening in 1931, nearly everyone in town came. According to a longtime resident, it was a true community party with booths and games, a Ferris wheel in the center, and the attraction of a grand prize for the lucky winner – a pony.

Possibly the grandest grand opening in the Village came in 1951 when a hometown football hero and Heisman Trophy winner opened his sporting goods store. Who was the football star and what was the name of his store? Email your answer to Kara Wood. If you are one of the first three people to answer correctly, you’ll win a full-sized Texas flag!

Show Your Spirit, Texas!

TXINS encourages our customers to utilize TXINS 24/7. Through this service, you have secure access to all of your insurance information whenever and wherever you need it.

Through TXINS 24/7, you can:
– View and reprint auto ID cards
– View policy info
– Request policy changes online
– Access your TXINS agent’s contact info
– Obtain a certificate of insurance (commercial accounts)
– Maintain and manage an up-to-date list of certificate holders (commercial accounts)

To learn more or set up your free account from your desktop, click here.

TXINS is proud to be a Trusted Choice® agency. We are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy. This commitment means we will:

  • Work with you to identify the insurance that is right for you, your family or your business, and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products.
  • Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
  • Help solve problems related to your coverage or account.
  • Thoroughly explain the coverage and options available to you.
  • Return your phone calls and emails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  • Use our experience and company relationships to customize coverage specific to your unique needs.
  • Treat you with respect and courtesy.
  • Conduct our business in an ethical manner.

This is our promise to you. For more information on Trusted Choice, click here.

From our customers…

“We were unhappy with our previous home and car insurance provider. Our TXINS agent took the pain out of insurance shopping and comparing and helped us save money. It was a very positive experience.” –CJ & SG Turner, Georgetown, TX

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