About plushq

The Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) was founded in 1986 by industry professionals who recognized the need for a forum for individuals involved in the field of professional liability. The Society is a non-profit organization with membership open to persons interested in the promotion and development of the professional liability industry. Membership consists of over 6,500 individuals, representing over 1,000 companies active in the many fields of professional liability. PLUS currently receives the support of more than 200 companies through corporate membership. PLUS is recognized as the primary source of professional liability educational programs and seminars, assistance to its members to help serve clients, and information regarding professional liability. The Society is continually seeking new means to fulfill its mission statement and better serve its members.

The London Market’s USP: Why It’s as Important Today as it’s Ever Been

What exactly is it that makes the London market great? And how can we ensure the longevity and sustainability of this value proposition? Join Max Carter, Zina Saeed, Matthew Jenkins, and Eric Fowler as they discuss these questions and more in this podcast episode.

Listen to the podcast here on the PLUS Blog below, or listen to it on the PLUS Connect App:

 

Max Carter, CEO, New Dawn Risk

Max began his career in Willis Faber in 1986, working as London-based professional indemnity broker for US and international clients.  He moved to Johnson & Higgins in November 1990 as an assistant director, responsible for developing and placing US professional liability insurance in the London and international insurance markets. Johnson & Higgins was acquired by Marsh in 1997. In 2002, Max joined Beazley Group as head of business development in the Specialty Lines division, later moving to the US in 2005 to help build their local underwriting operations.

In 2008, Max established New Dawn Risk Group as a specialist professional and financial lines Lloyd’s broker, where he currently holds the position of CEO.  With a focus in both international and US specialty lines business, Max has grown New Dawn Risk into one of the fastest-growing specialist brokers in the London Market.  He remains actively involved in managing the company’s large accounts.

 

Zina Saeed, Senior Underwriter, US Professional Lines, HDI Global Specialty 

Zina Saeed is the Chair of the PLUS London Chapter and works with HDI Global Specialty in London. Her insurance career has spanned almost 20 years specialising in U.S. & International Professional Liability. Zina has a legal background and began her insurance career as a Claims Manager for a Lloyd’s syndicate before moving to Chicago in 2009 joining W.R. Berkley focusing on large professional liability claims and later transitioned to Underwriting. She returned to London in 2014 as Head of Professional Liability for the W.R. Berkley Syndicate. Zina has a keen interest in the interplay between the evolution of firm culture and claims outcomes.

Matthew Jenkins, Brit Global Specialty, Class Underwriter

Matthew joined Brit Insurance in 2008 on the company’s Underwriting Graduate program, later choosing to specialise in North American Professional Liability and becoming an underwriter on the team. In 2019 he was promoted to the position of Class Underwriter, assuming responsibility for the management and strategy of the portfolio. Matthew underwrites all professions within Brit’s North American Professional Liability book, including, Lawyers, Architects & Engineers, Accountants and Miscellaneous business. He frequently travels to the United States to attend conferences and meetings with clients and brokers. Matthew is a Business graduate (BA Hons) and is a qualified Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Eric Fowler, Marsh, Vice President

Eric joined Marsh London in 2019 as a management liability wholesale broker and currently focuses on complex directors and officer’s liability placements for publically traded clients in North America. Prior to this, he worked as a management liability retail broker in the Marsh Canada FINPRO practice in Toronto. In 2012, Eric began his insurance career on the underwriting side and held several D&O underwriting roles focusing on publically traded and private companies in both Canada and the United States. Eric is a business graduate (BCom) and a Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU).

Ten Ways an Employer Can Reduce Their Chances of Being Sued for Discrimination

Estelle Kokales McGrath is a shareholder in the Professional Liability Department in the Pittsburgh office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. She primarily concentrates her practice in the areas of employment law, public entity/civil rights, real estate, and insurance agent errors & omissions litigation in both the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She may be reached at ekmcgrath@mdwcg.com.

 

 

As a result of the pandemic, employers continue to face unique challenges as many of their employees continue to work from home. Employers are also facing economic realities, which are resulting in layoffs or elimination of positions.  Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an uptick in charges and complaints alleging employment discrimination.  It is now common for an employee to allege that they had only positive performance reviews and that the adverse employment decision was pretext for discrimination.  These ten tips can help employers reduce their chances of being sued for discrimination claims.

  1. Keeping an open line of communication with your employees and supervisors is key to ensure that they know what is expected of them.  With all of the different avenues available today (Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, email, phone, text), it is easier than ever to communicate with others at the press of a button.  Although it is human nature for most people to avoid conflict, it is critical that an employer discuss performance issues with their employees as the situation unfolds versus waiting for an annual review.  An employee cannot fix a performance issue if unaware of the problem.
  1. Follow Your Policies. Policies mean nothing if you do not follow them.  For instance, if you have a progressive discipline policy, then it should be followed.  Let’s say the policy provides that a first infraction results in an oral warning; a second results in a written warning; and the third results in a suspension.   If the employer automatically terminates the employee without providing an oral or written warning, that employee will likely argue that the employer failed to provide them with the first two warnings in violation of their policies, and likely that their termination was instead the result of discrimination, i.e. age, disability, race, gender.
  1. Document Everything. A critical component for all employers is to document, document and document.  Contemporaneous documentation is always best practice. Supervisors and managers should be directed to keep documentation in each employee’s personnel file.  For example, if the employer has a discussion or meeting with an employee about job performance issues, policy violations or a request for an accommodation, that should be documented including date of when the document is being drafted, the author of that document and details of the meeting.
  1. Keep Organized Personnel Files. While this sounds basic, it is important for employers to keep organized personnel files of each employee including hiring records, performance reviews, disciplinary actions and job descriptions.  The Americans with Disability Act requires that employers keep medical records separate from personnel files including medical information related to a disability-related inquiry, a medical examination, leave, reasonable accommodations and workers’ compensation claims.  The medical record files are to be treated as confidential.
  1. Be Consistent. Employers should be consistent in the way they apply their policies.  For instance, if a manager writes up an employee for being late, then all employees should be written up for being late.  Applying your policies consistently with all employees will help reduce the claim of unequal treatment.
  1. Provide Employees with Explanations. Employees tend to jump to conclusions that they were discriminated against when employers fail to provide them with an explanation for the adverse employment action.  By providing the employee with contemporaneous, written documentation confirming the reason for the adverse employment decision (suspension, termination, etc.), it leaves no room for speculation about the employer’s rationale behind such decision.
  1. Train Your Employees. Employers should require that their employees be provided with discrimination training so that they understand what their policies entail.  Your supervisors and managers will be expected to enforce your policies.  Thus, employers should also require that their supervisors and managers be trained on how to enforce said policies.
  1. Acknowledgments for Personnel File. All discrimination policies should be documented with the employee’s signature acknowledging said policies.  Further, all training certificates should be kept in the personnel file, which will evidence the employee’s knowledge of the discrimination policies.
  1. Schedule Meetings With Your Supervisors and Managers. Even though we are all bombarded with meetings these days, it is critical to stay in touch with your supervisors and managers.  Scheduling weekly or monthly meetings is a great way to stay in touch and ensure that they are communicating with their personnel about their duties and responsibilities, in addition to continuing to document any performance issues.
  1. Hire Counsel. Before making any adverse employment decision (i.e. demotion, suspension, termination, layoff), contact a local employment attorney to discuss how to best proceed to reduce the chances of a discrimination claim. Such action can help to mitigate what could become a costly claim and eventual lawsuit.

The New Administration and D&O Risks (a Podcast Series): 100 Days In

Megan Brown joins Kevin LaCroix and Rob Yellen for their second podcast episode on the New Administration and D&O Risks. Join them for a discussion on what’s going on in Washington and changes in the new Biden administration.

Listen to the podcast below, or on the PLUS Connect App:

 

Megan Brown represents corporations in complex proceedings concerning technological innovation and regulation. She helps clients respond to agency and Congressional inquiries and develop regulatory and compliance strategies for players in the wireless, Internet and technology, transportation, health care, critical infrastructure, and government contracts sectors, including entrants into the Internet of Things (IoT).  She advises boards and senior management about data governance and emerging technologies, and addresses geopolitical risk to business operations.  Megan practices before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), and state regulators.

 

Rob Yellen, Executive Vice President, D&O and Fiduciary Liability Product Leader, FINEX at Willis Towers Watson

With over 28 years of Financial Lines industry experience, Rob Yellen is a respected leader in the management and professional liability space. He currently works with Willis Towers Watson, FINEX NA brokers and claims advocates to identify and track developments in risk, coverage and markets, and with our business partners to develop innovative, best-in-class strategies and solutions. Rob joined Willis Towers Watson in 2015 from AIG where, during his 14-year tenure, he served in several key leadership roles–including Chief Underwriting Officer, Financial Lines, U.S. and Canada and, most recently, Head of Product Development for Financial Lines–globally and for the Americas Region.

 

Kevin LaCroix, Executive Vice President at RT ProExec

Kevin LaCroix is an Executive Vice President at RT ProExec, Beachwood, Ohio, a division of R-T Specialty, LLC. RT ProExec is an insurance intermediary focused exclusively on management liability issues. Kevin is also the author of the Internet weblog, The D&O Diary, which the New York Times called “influential” and the Wall Street Journal described as “widely followed.” Kevin has been involved in directors’ and officers’ liability insurance issues for more than 35 years.