Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 5

EPLI BY: CHARLIE KEENE, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMERCIAL LINES, GENERAL INSURANCE SERVICES Why You Need EPLI Are You Protected? T hese days, talk of sexual harassment is practically everywhere—from Hollywood to Wall Street. People are generally becoming more aware of what constitutes harassment and that makes employers extremely vulnerable. Not only are you subject to liability for employees that may harass other employees but you also may be held accountable for alleged harassment involving a third party that is associated with your organization. insurance?” My answer? One. Even if you have just a single employee—yourself —you are not immune from harassment allegations from customers, vendors with whom you work, and others. The simple fact is that every business and organization needs EPLI. • an employee offends another employee by telling an off-color joke Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) provides the protection for your organization in the event of an alleged or actual incident of harassment. EPLI doesn’t just protect your organization against sexual harassment but also against many other wrongful acts. Other types of covered wrongful acts include (but are not limited to) any type of discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to promote, defamation, invasion of privacy, deprivation of a career opportunity, and creating a hostile work environment. Gone are the days when this type of behavior is “swept under the carpet.” Employers need to demonstrate leadership by taking every allegation seriously and conducting due diligence—even if it leads to potential liability. • you offer early retirement packages to some employees but not to others • you are deciding upon two women for promotion and choose the one who is not pregnant • you don’t allow an employee to return from a medical leave unless the employee can perform all job duties The other day, I was asked by someone, “How many employees are necessary before you would recommend EPLI If you need further convincing, take a look at some simple scenarios that you could be held accountable for: • you pay a man and a woman with similar backgrounds different amounts for the same job You may think that your basic business liability insurance is enough to cover such claims, but that is not the case. You need a separate policy that spells out coverage specifically for these types of issues. Many employers also have a mistaken belief that a good HR department can protect them against these claims or handle any problems that arise. When it comes to these types of serious allegations, however, that is simply not the case. Don’t be surprised if the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) even ends up joining the lawsuit. These lawsuits end up in federal court and are expensive to defend. The good news is that for over two decades, General Insurance Services has been advising clients on EPLI coverage options customized to their specific exposures along with providing resources to mitigate their risks. Also, EPLI premiums have come down dramatically due to increased competition and access to better loss data. There are many insurance carriers that provide EPLI coverage with many different options. General Insurance Services represents many EPLI carriers, each with expertise in different markets and industries. Please contact us at 800.766.4478 to talk with one of our risk advisors about EPLI options for your organization. + Charlie Keene is Vice President of Commercial Lines at General Insurance Services. Specializing in the industry for over twenty years, he provides risk management consulting and insurance brokerage services to clients in the Greater Chicago Area, Northwest Indiana, and Southern Michigan. He earned a BS degree in Insurance and Risk Management in 1997 from Ball State University. 5