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RE: Survey, final result (Corrected)

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Bill, E&O coverage is a business. As any business, the broker or salesman
(for that's what he is) is less interested in selling a policy to an
engineer who bills less than $100,000.00 a year than one who bills
$1,000,000.00. For this reason DPIC, ASCE and the other (who I can't
remember at this time) have refused to return my calls (and those of others
I have discussed this with). Therefore, you suggest that only those
engineers who have larger practices with billings over a certain dollar
amount be allowed to practice. You are essentially leaving the decision to
license engineers to the insurance salesmen.
I called each of these companies when a client out here demanded the
insurance. I needed to obtain coverage within a month or two. I have had no
suits (I was dropped from any I was a cross-complainant in over twelve
years) in my years of practice and no complaints against me. I called each
company representative more than 3 times urging them to return my call. I
left my address as well in order to receive an application. None responded.
I am not unique here - others report the same treatment. Possibly, my
mistake was telling them in the message that I was a one man office with
less than $75,000.00 in contracts per year. With E&O and the client I might
have had, this figure could rise sufficiently. Therefore, some could suggest
that my practice was stinted not on ability but by non-professional
insurance brokers who refused my business.
No way you can convince me that you the engineering practice should restrict
anyone from practicing without E&O Coverage. This is especially true since
your original message did not imply protection, but a scheme to raise fee's
to keep everyone at a competitive level. This is simple enough. I'll be glad
to charge what you do - in fact I believe from our past conversations that I
charge more than you but less than others in my area and don't carry E&O.
Therefore, it's not the E&O that regulates our business.
Stick to the problems - we need to clean up the legal profession, not spend
additional on an organized protection scheme (like the guys with bulges
under their coats that tell offer you protection from themselves). Once we
legislate out frivolous suits and Cross-complaints we will all be better
off - and insurance will be affordable. How about a no-fault protection for
those who are pulled into a complaint just because they have coverage.
I don't believe you should throw good money away just because you have an
agent who reviews your contract for loopholes. Any contract can be tested in
I'd like to hear from engineers who have good coverage and good contracts
and who have been sued. How many of you were innocent? How many have had
your insurance company not represent your interest and settle even though
you were not liable from the beginning? Who's reputation is hurt by this?
How much of this "Out-of-court" settlement is used against an engineer in
the future of his practice by clients who want public information as to
whether an engineer was sued and if he paid out any settlements?

Dennis Wish PE
-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:billallen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 1998 6:48 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Survey, final result (Corrected)

A few corrections:
First, I do not have a problem with "hellhounds on my tail". Most (all) of
my work is commercial. All of my existing clients carry E&O therefore, as a
consultant, I must carry E&O.

Second, I have carried E&O for about seven years now. If anything, I have
become less of a magnet to lawsuits since I have begun carrying insurance
than before I carried insurance. One reason for this is that my broker
continuously assists me in writing contracts to reduce my risk and to
clarify what I am liable for. In fact, I believe this is one of the
functions of a good E&O policy/broker. There are several companies and
programs out there that spend a lot of time and effort to educate their
clients on risk management. At least one company, DPIC, has a program where
the insured participates in an educational, risk-reduction program and gets
a break on premiums for successful completion. In general, my colleagues who
carry E&O are much more risk savvy than those who are not.

Third, I certainly do not agree that it would be the legal profession that
would benefit from my suggestion. There are already way too many attys
(especially in CA) and I am certain that they would rather go after a naive
defendant than an educated one.

The reason I suggested mandatory E&O is that it is not that easy (or cheap)
to get as compared to the other disciplines. This would be one step to
eliminate the casual structural engineering practitioner who does not invest
the time and effort to stay up to date and just decides to jump in when
their main target market is slow.

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis S. Wish <wish(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 1998 11:46 PM
Subject: RE: Survey, final result (Corrected)

>Maybe if Bill dumps his insurance, he wouldn't have the "hellhounds on his
>tail" and he would be able to pocket more profit rather than establishing a
>trust fund for the insurance and legal piranhas families.
>Dennis Wish PE