From the December 2011 issue of American Agent & Broker •Subscribe!

What’s Smart and What's Right

As we go to press for our December issue, the news media is awash in stories involving Penn State, Jerry Sandusky and child molestation. Whatever your opinion of the guilt or innocence of the parties involved, a quick study of the timeline makes it clear that Penn State mishandled an already bad situation by failing to follow up on internal reports of suspected abuse.

Yet based on reader comments to an article I wrote for propertycasualty360.com ("Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal: From the Start, a Risk Management Nightmare") on the risk management aspects of the case, you would think I had tied Joe Paterno to the bumper of a Hummer and dragged him through a field of broken glass. Some readers posted outraged comments that writing about Penn State’s risk management situation was sensationalistic and that all parties were innocent until proven guilty.

To which I reply: Hey, chill. I’m on your side.

In our world of instantaneous access, nobody—least of all those who position themselves as trusted advisors—can afford to close their eyes and plug their ears to ugly news. We may not have broken the story of the Penn State scandal, but once it’s out there, we can’t ignore it. Agents and brokers must be able to counsel their customers on how to avoid similar situations in their own businesses.

Because believe it or not, there’s a good news angle to this horror story, an angle that makes insurance professionals look like geniuses. Basic risk management principles might not have prevented the Penn State fiasco but could very well have ameliorated it. More to the point, following basic risk management principles also is in line with something even more important: doing the right thing.

It’s been pointed out to me that Pennsylvania is not one of the 13 states that require reporting suspected sexual abuse to the police. That may be, but wouldn’t that have been the right thing to do—especially because the allegations involved a grown man sodomizing a grammar-school kid?

In its quest to protect the client from liability, risk management requirements often go above and beyond the letter of the law—and in the process, intersect with a higher ethical standard. And in a world where insurance too often suffers a less-than-positive image, the convergence between doing what’s smart and doing what’s right is a good thing.

This issue of AA&B includes our annual Review & Outlook coverage, more of which can be viewed online at propertycasualty360.com. As we do every year at this time, we spoke with agents and brokers, insurers, wholesalers, associations, consultants and young insurance professionals on the year just passed and the year ahead. As always, their comments provide an illuminating look at the state of the industry on the cusp of a new year.

Here’s hoping 2012 brings the best of everything to you and yours!

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Complimentary Case Study: Helping achieve your financial goals By:...

Find out how a Special Investigation Unit used TLOxp to save the company money and...

Do Your Clients Hold The Right CDL License?

Learn about the various classes of CDL Licenses and the industries that are impacted by...

Integrated Content & Communications: A Key Business Issue For Insurers

Insurers are renewing their focus on top line growth, and many are learning that growth...

High Risk Insurance Coverage in the E&S Market

Experts discuss market conditions, trends and projected growth in a rapidly changing niche.

Top E-Signature Security Requirements

This white paper covers the most important security features to look for when evaluating e-signatures...

EPLI Programs Crafted Just For Your Clients

Bring us your restaurant clients, associations and other groups and we’ll help you win more...

Is It Time To Step Up And Own An Agency?

Download this eBook for insight on how to determine if owning an agency is right...

Claims - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Fraudulent claims cost the industry and the public thousands of dollars in losses. This article...

Leveraging BI for Improved Claims Performance and Results

If claims organizations do not avail themselves of the latest business intelligence (BI) tools, they...

Top 10 Legal Requirements for E-Signatures in Insurance

Want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases when adopting e-signatures? Learn how to...

Agent & Broker Insider eNewsletter

Proven success tips and essential information to help agents and brokers grow their practice – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.