Keeping away from E&O claims is hard enough these days. In real estate it is Location, Location, Location. In business it is Document, Document, Document. We find many E&O claims averted simply because of a properly documented file. Often you do not have written correspondence from a client on a specific issue. In these cases, take a minute to write out the jest of a conversation in the client file with a date and time stamp. Even though this is a one sided documentation, we have found that often if the trail is sufficiently documented, our clients are better protected in a lawsuit. Documenting both conversations and emails is critical. Some pointers are listed as follows:
1. Document all verbal conversations with clients. Make sure to record both the time and date.
2. Send a follow up email to your client confirming the conversation. This will spark their memory if it is incorrect and help protect you in the event of a discrepancy.
3. Keep electronic copies of emails and other correspondence. Many companies have exchange servers or other means of backups. For other companies you can simply back up your Outlook on a regular basis.
4. Develop a standard procedure on dealing with clients. Often clients are sued for deviating from a standard of care or normal operating practice. Sometimes it isn’t as important what the procedures are but that the company follows them consistently.
5. Protect client data with encryption software. Anyone can steal your data. Additionally, employees can both intentionally and unintentionally disclose confidential client information that can result in a suit or a regulatory fine /investigation.
6. Review your E&O Insurance coverage. Insurance carriers change coverage frequently. Additionally companies can change the scope of their services without ever readdressing their insurance coverage. You should have a thorough review of all your insurance coverages at least every three years.