There are a variety of steps you can take to mitigate your E&O risk exposure and prevent claims from occurring. Here are a few guidelines you can implement to help protect your reputation and your business:
- Work with a written contract that outlines what will be done, what will not be done, the cost, and any relevant details. Make sure both you and the client have copies of the agreement.
- Evaluate prospective clients thoroughly before agreeing to perform a service – avoid unstable or disreputable clients.
- As applicable, obtain informed consent from your client and make sure they understand the potential benefits and risks associated with the services you will be providing.
- Be honest and up front with your clients at all times.
- Communicate with your client throughout the duration of the job.
- Properly manage expectations. Don’t make promises that aren’t realistic or possible for you to fulfill.
- No matter how well you know the client, don’t assume they won’t file an E&O claim against you.
- Terminate client relationships when necessary. If a client is particularly difficult to work with despite your best efforts to fulfill your obligations, it may be best to discontinue working with them to avoid future problems and the possibility of an E&O claim.
- Thoroughly document everything.
- If an incident occurs that has the potential of turning into an E&O claim, notify your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Refer projects that are beyond your expertise to other professionals. When doing so, recommend several qualified professionals, not just one.
- Implement quality control procedures and ensure procedures are being communicated and followed consistently by undergoing periodic internal and external audits. Apply policies and procedures consistently among all clients.
- Keep all necessary licenses and certifications up to date and active, and regularly participate in continuing education courses. Stay fully informed of changes and issues within your profession. Be aware of laws and regulations that apply in your field of work. Stay current with new practices in your industry.
- Know and follow applicable codes of ethics.
- Treat your clients and others with whom you work with respect. Identify client needs and concerns at the onset of the relationship and keep this a top priority in your professional conduct.
For more specific guidelines regarding your industry and line of work, please contact your Leavitt Group insurance advisor.