Opportunities for lawsuits are everywhere. The BP oil spill, for example.

Some lawyers also salivated when they heard about these other events: The stranded Carnival cruise ship and the injured spectators at the Daytona International Speedway.

They also welcome the chance to represent diners who claim to be scalded by spilled coffee.

However, the legal ramifications for each can be different.

In situations involving the cruise ship and the NASCAR race, the odds for potential lawsuits are diminished because of the buyer-beware fine print on the tickets.

The ticket disclaimer works in favor of the sellers unless it can be shown they were negligent.

Typically, large companies that fear losing a legal fight will offer a substantial confidential settlement before a lawsuit is actually filed.

Such events serve as reminders that a must for many businesses is some type of liability insurance for protection against civil lawsuits.

No matter what your profession is — whether you need to save on your malpractice insurance or errors and omissions insurance — the principles are the same.

Admittedly, I’m not an attorney but I’ve worked for two insurance companies, and here are four ways I advise clients to save on premiums:

1. Buy professional liability insurance just as you would for car insurance.

That means deciding on a deductible amount. The higher the deductible, the more savings you’ll enjoy.

You must decide what you can afford to spend vis-à-vis the financial impact on your company.

Determine what you need. Do you need coverage for all defense, court and punitive costs? Then, figure out what you can afford for a premium.

Assess your risks. Do you operate in a highly litigious environment? If you don’t know if you do, do your homework.

Pick the right carrier as your insurance partner. Experience for your niche is important.

No matter what your profession is — whether you need to save on your malpractice insurance or errors and omissions insurance — the principles are the same.

2. Make sure you use best practices in your company.

Do you scrupulously adhere to government regulations for your sector? Your immediate goals should be utilizing best practices in your operation, which will help to impress your insurance carrier.

Do you and your employees take classes that will help you stay abreast of risk-management techniques for your industry? That includes using your industry’s standard paperwork. Use appropriate verbiage and disclosure forms that are approved by regulators.

Insurance companies will consider your track record and whether you’re current with all practices in your industry.

3. If your profession necessitates licenses, make certain that everyone in your company is up-to-date.

That can include licenses and continuing education courses.

4. Think paper trail.

Are you meticulous in recordkeeping? Keep all written documentation. Make a note of all verbal agreements, including dates and times of the discussions.

Follow-up emails to customers are advantageous in order to catch problems and prevent misunderstandings. Your recordkeeping will put you in the catbird’s seat in the event of a legal problem.

From the Coach’s Corner, suggested reading:

10 Tips for Hiring the Right Attorney for Your Business — In running a successful business, you typically need the services of three professionals — a good tax accountant or CPA, insurance agent and an attorney. Know that talent and skill levels are crucial for your success.

Risk Management – Lawyer Explains Basics in Protecting Intellectual Property — Entrepreneurs are well-advised to consider ways to avoid legal entanglements over their inventions and intellectual property.

First Step in Fighting Lawsuit Abuse – Risk Management — Published reports on two southern California media Web sites illustrate the polarizing effects of laws affecting business.

Public Relations Expert Provides Crisis Management Tips — Appearances count. But universities, presidential candidates and businesses have all demonstrated a lack of awareness about good public relations.

I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.