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Upcoming Webinar

Webinar: Foreign Acquisition Risks – Be Prepared

Learn about the best way to mitigate the risks of foreign acquisitions.
By: | April 17, 2014 • 1 min read

Presenters

Webinar_TNA

Overview

Our increasingly global economy has forced the majority of organizations to look beyond their domestic borders for growth opportunities. But building a presence in a foreign market from scratch can take years. International acquisitions are the most effective way to ramp up a presence quickly, tapping into an existing network of clients and suppliers in a new market.

Webinar Sponsor

Webinar Sponsor

Managing the risks of foreign acquisitions can be tricky business. Language barriers, cultural differences, local politics, technological incompatibilities and regulatory compliance issues can turn a lucrative deal into a disaster. The grim reality is that many mergers fail to deliver upon the goals they were intended to achieve.

Meticulous planning and preparation are the best way to mitigate the risks of foreign mergers and acquisitions. This webinar will focus on the challenges of entering new business climates and the communication strategies needed to help local stakeholders and newly acquired employees understand your corporate risk management philosophy.

In this webinar, sponsored by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, expert panelists will discuss these topics and issues related to foreign acquisitions:

  • Assessing cross-border uncertainties. A discussion of techniques or protocols for evaluating cross-border risk, pricing it and possibly transferring it.
  • The use of captives. The use of captives in managing foreign acquisition risk is attracting growing attention from the risk management community. This discussion will address which cross-border risks are best housed in captives and how those captives should be managed.
  • Problem venues. This aspect of the webinar will look at which venues, though attractive from a business opportunity standpoint, require extra vigilance on the part of risk managers.
  • Local paper. Local paper is a requirement in some geographies but not in others. The panelists will discuss the use of local paper and other insurance issues that business executives operating in foreign countries need to be aware of.

Space is limited, so register today!

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Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at dreynolds@lrp.com.
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On-Demand Webinar

Webinar: Improving Claims Outcomes Through More Effective Adjuster Management

Learn how to help adjusters achieve good results for payers and workers’ compensation claimants.
By: | April 16, 2014 • 1 min read

Presenters

Webinar_Acrometis

Overview

Claims organizations need to solve a number of problems that are impeding adjusters from achieving good results for both payers and workers’ compensation claimants.

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Webinar Sponsor

Due to changing regulations, provider consolidation and more – adjusters are overwhelmed and the bottom line is suffering as a result. Too many claims adjusters are so harried and distracted by their workloads that they are not efficiently performing the vital functions of closing claims, getting workers healthy and back to work and freeing up reserves. This is leading to unnecessarily high costs for payers.

Claims organizations need to figure out how to achieve the goals of maximizing provider networks and implementing predictive analytics in a way that will help adjusters do their jobs better, not further overwhelm them.

Expert panelists will address the following talking points:

  • Workload: Taking the adjuster’s workload and work process into account in maximizing the use of provider networks.
  • The Code Problem: The number of federal procedural and diagnostic codes is set to explode in October. How can organizations and adjusters manage this huge increase in complexity?
  • The Use of Data: Using predictive analytics to complement adjuster case management, not impede or replace it.
  • The Adjuster’s Role in Case Management: Getting the best treatment for injured workers, closing claims promptly and getting injured workers back to work sooner.

Recording

Download a copy of the slide presentation here.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at dreynolds@lrp.com.
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Sponsored: Aspen Insurance

Minimize the Risks of Client Lawsuits

Approach client communications as if you were writing directly to a future jury. If a client ever sues, it could save the day.
By: | April 7, 2014 • 4 min read
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When a top litigator prepares a case for a trial, part of the process is mapping out a clear, written story to put in front of a jury. Professionals looking to avoid or minimize the impact of client lawsuits would be smart to follow that lead, according to Christopher Piety, underwriting counsel, Professional Lines Risk Management, Aspen Insurance.

“Just like when a talented lawyer faces a jury, the better prepared you are, the stronger your case will be and the more likely you will prevail,” Piety said. “That means being very clear when writing an email or a letter to a client. Approach these communications as if you were writing directly to a future jury.”

Piety explained that in the wake of several recent sizeable professional liability claims, lawyers and other professionals (i.e., accountants, architects and engineers) must deliver clear, concise written communications, to create a record of what happened along the way. “On some of the larger claims that I’ve been involved in, whether it is with lawyers, accountants, architects or engineers, it really boils down to managing client expectations. And to do that requires effective written documentation,” he said.

For example, Piety said that in a recent professional liability claim, a lawyer did nothing wrong other than failing to put into writing advice that the circumstances of the client’s case changed, which typically translates to an added risk that the desired outcome may not be achieved.

SponsoredContent_Aspen“When you write an email or letter, it’s critical to include specifics. It will go a long way to avoid potential trouble, especially if the situation ends up in court,” Piety said. “A good defense is a strong offense.”
– Christopher Piety, underwriting counsel, Professional Lines Risk Management, Aspen Insurance

“The attorney didn’t spell out in writing that the evidence no longer supported the client’s seven-figure expected outcome,” Piety said. The client eventually dropped the case and then sued the lawyer for malpractice, claiming that the attorney’s failures cost them a positive result. Without written documentation advising the client about the risks, the attorney could not prove the client had been advised.

Screen for Bad Apples

“Professionals need the courage to ‘fire’ a potential problem client should any serious red flags emerge,” Piety said. “Not every piece of business is a good one.” Along those lines, he offered a few bits of advice to avoid potential problems when choosing clients:

  • Obvious Red Flag: A potential client that “burned through” multiple professional services firms. Worse, have they sued any of them?
  • Reputation Check: After completing a credit check and/or litigation search, research the potential client’s reputation in the local business community.
  • Financial Stability: Check to see if the client is financially sound.  Sometimes, problem clients manage to transfer their financial problems to their professionals in the form of unpaid fees and/or malpractice claims.
  • Available Staff: Make sure your firm is prepared and staffed to properly do the work requested.

Clarity is Critical

“When you write an email or letter, it’s critical to include specifics. It will go a long way to avoid potential trouble, especially if the situation ends up in court,” Piety said. “A good defense is a strong offense.”

SponsoredContent_Aspen

Professionals need to carefully detail the scope of work when starting a new project or case, particularly if the client is also new. From a risk management perspective, it’s most critical to completely outline limitations and risks.

In addition, specific risks to various types of professionals may include:

  • Law Firms: Never offer guarantees for specific results, and understand that silence can be interpreted by a jury as agreeing with a client’s unrealistic expectations.
  • Architects and Engineers: Specify what you will and will not be responsible for. Never agree to indemnify anyone outside the firm.
  • Accountants: Advise clients and others using your work that attest engagements only provide limited assurance of no material misstatement in the financials, but do not guarantee the absence of fraud or financial problems with the attest client’s business.

Communicate Frequently

“Throughout the entire business relationship, it’s a good idea to document any ongoing changed circumstances, no matter how seemingly small, and advise clients of any new related risks and/or performance limitations,” Piety said. He outlined these examples:

  • Accountants: Quickly advise clients in writing when the client’s own poor record-keeping is causing the audit work to be more expensive and/or creating risk of material misstatement requiring additional client action.
  • Lawyers: Advise clients in writing when discovering evidence that may potentially change the value of the case.
  • Architects and Engineers: Communicate in writing when change orders on a project require expensive design changes that may negatively impact the overall project budget.

“Just like when a talented lawyer faces a jury, the better prepared you are, the stronger your case will be and the more likely you will prevail. That means being very clear when writing an email or a letter to a client. Approach these communications as if you were writing directly to a future jury.”

Act Promptly

Piety said the failure to act quickly often causes confusion, which can in turn lead to unnecessary and unforeseen problems. To stop that from occurring, he offered these insights:

  • Communicate immediately, via writing, any emerging issues that affect a client’s expectations and your ability to meet them.
  • Clients who fail to pay in a timely manner or seem unhappy early on in the relationship probably have an issue that should be addressed immediately.

In the end, only by having a clear written record of what actually occurred can professionals ensure they will reduce, or even prevent, the threat of a claim. Do not give your future opponent an opportunity to fill in the gaps with their own version of reality designed to sway a jury against you.

“Always focus on the fundamentals because fundamentals are what will really help a defense,” Piety concluded. “In so many cases, written communication will prove to be the critical factor between winning and losing.”

This article was produced by Aspen Insurance and not the Risk & Insurance® editorial team.
This article is provided for news and information purposes only and does not necessarily represent Aspen’s views and does constitute legal advice. This article reflects the opinion of the author at the time it was written taking into account market, regulatory and other conditions at the time of writing which may change over time. Aspen does not undertake a duty to update the article.

Aspen Insurance is a business segment of Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited. It provides insurance for property, casualty, marine, energy and transportation, financial and professional lines, and programs business.
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