2008 Ethics Columns

November 2008 - "Bad Faith Bargaining" [PDF, 1.2 MB] 
Some brokers think it’s necessary to roll over books-of-business between markets in order to retain their customer base. Others view it as an opportunity to communicate with clients and demonstrate the value they provide. But, as in all aspects of service, the adage “haste makes waste” prevails. Consider the situation of a broker facing one rollover after another. Compounding frustrations, she realizes that she made a mistake with a client’s coverage while switching it from one insurer to another. In her mind, she attempts to justify her actions by saying the coverage was similar, although not exactly the same.

October 2008 - "Heard it through the Grape Vine" (Dealing with Gossip) [PDF, 2.6 MB]
At a networking event, a small group of competitors quiz an insurance company relationship manager about recent developments at another company. Although he normally enjoys the give-and-take of industry functions, this speculation makes him uncomfortable. Is listening to gossip as bad as spreading it?

June 2008 - "The Minefield of Confidential Information" [PDF, 327 KB]
While retrieving copies from the photocopier, a customer service representative realized that she had also picked up a document left by someone else. The CSR decided to scan the document for a clue as to whom it may belong and then deliver it. But the contents shocked her and made her confused about her next move: Present it to the brokerage principal, keep it a secret, place it back on the photocopier, shred it, act now or act later.What is the best course of action?

April 2008 - "Dealing with Nuisance Clients" [PDF, 1.7 MB]
Amid the daily challenges, the claims representative found himself managing the file of a difficult and abrupt claimant. The reason for the claimant’s behaviour was unclear and he was demanding an inordinate amount of attention. The claim wasn’t particularly large; in fact, it was rather small. Yet this file was rapidly becoming a distraction and a nuisance. It was tempting to give the claimant what he wanted – although it would have been excessive – and thereby free up time to focus on more important matters. After all, whom would that hurt?

February 2008 - "Pressure Cooker" [PDF, 481 KB]
An underwriter feels constant pressure to perform and to meet her superior’s immediate goals and targets. Approaching month-end, the supervisor has requested an accounting of premiums written. The underwriter feels confident that her unclosed cases will all be successful and feels justified in reporting them as such. In reporting her productivity in this way, she will increase a quarterly performance bonus for which she is due. Is she being ethical?