Discussion:
E&O Insurance Recommendations
(too old to reply)
David Kaye
2014-04-26 10:25:06 UTC
Permalink
Currently I have an E&O policy for my technical support which was provided
by my car insurance company. My car insurance is personal, not commercial.
I've been notified by my insurance company that they cannot keep my E&O on
my personal policy, that I either have to take the E&O separately or change
my car insurance to commercial. Either one would result in higher overall
fees.

So, I'm shopping around to look at my options.

I'm required to have E&O with a couple of the larger companies I deal with
in order to be on their vendors lists, etc. Plus it's also a good idea.

Can others tell me which kinds of E&O policies they have, which companies
you recommend, etc?
David Kaye
2014-04-28 18:33:27 UTC
Permalink
Do NOBODY here carry errors and omissions insurance? I'm surprised that I
have not gotten any answers from anyone here.
Steve Pope
2014-04-28 21:23:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
Do NOBODY here carry errors and omissions insurance? I'm surprised that I
have not gotten any answers from anyone here.
I have never carried it, and I've been self-employed for a cumulative
total of 15 years. But, I am in a different business than you are.

Steve
b***@MIX.COM
2014-04-29 15:44:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
Do NOBODY here carry errors and omissions insurance? I'm surprised that I
have not gotten any answers from anyone here.
This is ba.internet, hence you should not be surprised, at all.

Billy Y..
--
sub #'9+1 ,r0 ; convert ascii byte
add #9.+1 ,r0 ; to an integer
bcc 20$ ; not a number
David Kaye
2014-04-30 07:39:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@MIX.COM
This is ba.internet, hence you should not be surprised, at all.
Why should I not be surprised? People work in the Bay Area and they work on
Internet related issues, and certainly E&O insurance must come into play
with somebody here. Oh well.
Jeff Liebermann
2014-04-29 22:34:06 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:33:27 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Do NOBODY here carry errors and omissions insurance? I'm surprised that I
have not gotten any answers from anyone here.
I vaguely recall covering this once before, possibly in this
newsgroup. I carried what I called "hindsight and afterthought"
insurance for about 3 months when the local hospital demanded I carry
it to work on their equipment. In effect, they wanted me to carry
insurance for their screwups, especially when they did a horrible job
of specifying what they needed and wanted. In effect, they wanted to
change their mind in the middle of a project, and have my insurance
pay for the change in specifications. I won't bore you with what
happened, but eventually, they dropped the requirement and I've been
working happily ever after without it.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
David Kaye
2014-04-30 07:39:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Liebermann
I won't bore you with what
happened, but eventually, they dropped the requirement and I've been
working happily ever after without it.
I've carried E&O because I didn't want to be sued in case I screwed up and
erased someone's precious data. The fact that people don't back things up
does not absolve a tech of some degree of responsibility. I have not been
required to carry it at any point in my 13 years of doing tech support, but
if I'm going to get on a "preferred vendors" list for a good-sized company
I'm going to need to carry it, and now it just happens that my insurance is
no longer going to be offered (at least not in the affordable form it's been
offered).

I intend to drop the insurance at the first opportunity given that nobody
has ever suggested that I have any liability, except for the guy who wrote
the nasty Yelp review of me. However, I'm going to need the insurance for
the next few months anyhow.
Thad Floryan
2014-04-30 08:08:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
[...]
I intend to drop the insurance at the first opportunity given that nobody
the nasty Yelp review of me.
[...]
Consensus seems to be Yelp is fraudulent and you don't want to go there.

I sent you an email about it previously; did you receive it? Below is a
copy'n'paste for reference.

Thad

Date: Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:49:55 -0700
From: Thad Floryan <***@thadlabs.com>
To: David Kaye <***@yahoo.com>
Subject: Yelp is an extortion racket

Hi David,

I recall you've mentioned Yelp several times in ba.internet
and I've heard others voice the same complaints about Yelp
though I've never used it.

Dave Lazarus, who used to be an SFGate investigative reporter,
left and joined the LA Times about 5 or 6 years ago and he's
still writing columns helping businesses and many other folks.

I believe you'll find his column of 2 days ago very interesting:

Yelp's practices sound to some like extortion
By David Lazarus March 31, 2014, 4:37 p.m.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20140401,0,3242301,full.column

If you'd like to follow his columns on a regular basis, this
URL gets the latest article and an archive listing:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-columnist-dlazarus,1,4620014.columnist

Thad
David Kaye
2014-04-30 18:26:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thad Floryan
Consensus seems to be Yelp is fraudulent and you don't want to go there.
I believe I've mentioned this all before, but I'll reiterate for those who
just joined us...

I have been listed on Yelp as "Honest Dave" because I had been using that as
a tagline in advertising, and someone decided to help me out by posting good
things about me. I never had any intention of being listed on Yelp. Before
long I was getting about 6 to 10 new customers a month because people saw
those Yelp reviews.

Then the one nasty review was put up and overnight my new calls stopped.
Stopped. Dead. Seemed odd because I should have been having lots of new
business from people who didn't check Yelp. Well, a look at my site
tracking logs showed that nearly everyone looking at my web page exited to
Yelp. I'm assuming they did this to get a second opinion. That's the only
thing I can figure. People are using Yelp all the time.

I'd had about 12 reviews, but Yelp "filtered" all but 4 of them, because
their algorithm "assumed" that they were bogus. I phoned them and emailed
them telling them that I have contact info for all but 1 of them and that
they'd be welcome to contact those folks personally and ask what they
thought of me. No go. Nobody at Yelp would take any responsibility for
this. So, I had 1 bad review out of 4 instead of 1 out of 12, and it looked
like 25% of my customers hated me.

Hoping that maybe I could get better positioning or get Yelp to cover the
nasty review, I paid a bunch of money to Yelp. It didn't do anything but
increase the number of hits to the web page and the number of entry hits
from Yelp. But I didn't get any business.

TODAY, I have 10 visible reviews and 9 "filtered" reviews, which are now
called "9 other reviews that are not currently recommended", but they no
longer require a Captcha code to see them (a pain for the elderly people who
make up a good percentage of my client base).

With the shift to 1 bad review out of 10, I'm getting new customers again.
In fact, just moments ago I got a call to put in a Linux web server.

Yelp hurt my business badly through no fault of mine, because people think
they're a "Consumer Reports" kind of thing and they keep going to them for
second opinions. If they'd simply list EVERYTHING out in the open instead
of "filtering" some posts I'd have no problem. But they hide legitimately
good reviews, and THAT is their selling point as they try to get promotional
traction in a prelude to going public.
Jeff Liebermann
2014-04-30 15:41:27 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 30 Apr 2014 00:39:03 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Liebermann
I won't bore you with what
happened, but eventually, they dropped the requirement and I've been
working happily ever after without it.
I've carried E&O because I didn't want to be sued in case I screwed up and
erased someone's precious data.
Have you considered that it is those with insurance that are most
likely to be sued? Nobody wants to sue someone that has no resources.
It's not profitable. However, if your have a deep pockets insurance
policy that will pay for everything, you make a far more attractive
defendant.

I've never had such a problem. The closest I've come was one
potential small biz customer, that kept asking for details about the
various insurance policies I was carrying at the time. When I
realized that I might soon have a problem, I mumbled comments like "my
insurance is about to expire and I'm probably not going to renew it".
They dumped me instantly, which is rather suggestive of what they were
attempting to arrange. However, I didn't follow up so I'm not sure
this was real.
Post by David Kaye
The fact that people don't back things up
does not absolve a tech of some degree of responsibility.
Yep. I do image backups on most everything when it arrives in the
office.
<Loading Image...>
Cover my ass is a way of life as one "oh shit" can be fatal to my
business. I've had customers hard disk drives fail as I was making
the backup, which underscores the need.

I'm not sure exactly where my responsibility begins for protecting the
customers data. I'm also not sure that I want to find out in court.
Post by David Kaye
I have not been
required to carry it at any point in my 13 years of doing tech support
I started officially in 1983, so that's 31 years of "consulting". If
I was just doing computah tech support over that period, I would have
gone broke long ago.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
Keith Keller
2014-04-30 18:01:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Cover my ass is a way of life as one "oh shit" can be fatal to my
business. I've had customers hard disk drives fail as I was making
the backup, which underscores the need.
What have you done in those cases? Did your client blame you for their
loss, or did they understand that there was nothing you could have done?

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
Jeff Liebermann
2014-05-01 15:52:01 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:01:57 -0700, Keith Keller
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Cover my ass is a way of life as one "oh shit" can be fatal to my
business. I've had customers hard disk drives fail as I was making
the backup, which underscores the need.
What have you done in those cases? Did your client blame you for their
loss, or did they understand that there was nothing you could have done?
Over the years, I can recall 3 such "oh shit" moments, where the
client would have been justified in suing me.

1. Upgrade to new OS failed because the nightly tape backup was
backing up the wrong disk partition. (This was not simple because it
was some guest OS running on top of SCO Unix with data in a raw
partition). My mistake was not determining what was actually being
backed up before wiping the hard disk drive. Fortunately, I was able
to find a fairly recent inventory file, but the transactions and
customer records were gone. After a few days of fruitless
floundering, the customer asked me to leave, and then hired several
people to manually re-enter all the data from paper records and
printouts. I offered to pay for the data entry, but the customer
declined the offer. This was the low point in my computer consulting
career.

2. I convinced a customer that an image backup was the only way to be
sure the data would be safe and could be restored quickly.
Unfortunately, I pick Farstone software:
<http://www.farstone.com>
which turned out to be self corrupting when backing up while
simultaneously running applications. The Samsung "high reliability"
hard disk died in the middle of tax season. When I restored from
backup, all the files that were open at the time of the backup were
corrupted. It took me 2 solid weeks of hard work to put it back
together. The backup software vendor was useless and their outsourced
support didn't care. The specific Farstone product that made the mess
was immediately withdrawn from the web site when it became obvious
that it didn't work as advertised. I did not bill the customer for
the 2 weeks or the crappy backup software.

3. I don't want to discuss the 3rd incident.

In all three cases, and probably some lesser disasters, I was at least
initially an integral part of the recovery. Blaming me was a waste of
effort because I immediately assumed all responsibility. There is
always something that I can do after a disaster. I don't think that
my having insurance would have changed anything.

The closest I've come to being actually sued were all traps and
setups. I see about 2-3 of those every year, where some off the wall
"customer" hands me a problem or project that is almost certain to
fail, with me assuming responsibility for everything. I've learned to
be suspicious and generally do not take on work where something is
obviously fishy, especially if a prospective customer ask about my
insurance status.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
David Kaye
2014-04-30 18:34:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Have you considered that it is those with insurance that are most
likely to be sued?
Yes, that's foremost in my mind, which is why I've never mentioned it
anywhere but here. However, I have a few clients of note (such as a
consulate and an ad agency), and though neither requires E&O, big people
know big people and I can see the day when they refer businesses my way that
require it.

And, as I said, I have a new customer coming into the fold (later today, in
fact) that will require it if I want to be on their "preferred vendors"
list. Well, the company is huge and if I can make them happy with the work
I do the next few days, I'll have enough business that I can begin hiring a
staff and take the business to the next level if I become a "preferred
vendor".
Steve Pope
2014-04-30 21:58:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Have you considered that it is those with insurance that are most
likely to be sued?
Yes, that's foremost in my mind, which is why I've never mentioned it
anywhere but here. However, I have a few clients of note (such as a
consulate and an ad agency), and though neither requires E&O, big people
know big people and I can see the day when they refer businesses my way that
require it.
And, as I said, I have a new customer coming into the fold (later today, in
fact) that will require it if I want to be on their "preferred vendors"
list. Well, the company is huge and if I can make them happy with the work
I do the next few days, I'll have enough business that I can begin hiring a
staff and take the business to the next level if I become a "preferred
vendor".
I've had one (large) customer require GL insurance, but never E&O
insurance.

My main protection is not screwing up in the first place.

I further understand that even E&O and GL insurance put together
do not cover a lot of the commonly-encountered liabilities.

Steve
Keith Keller
2014-04-30 23:18:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Pope
My main protection is not screwing up in the first place.
That's not really protection at all. Even the best support people screw
up, either because they're tired, or make a typo (sit on your hands
before doing something destructive as root!), or simply misunderstand
something and do the wrong thing. The best protection is not "don't
screw up", but is more along the lines of what Jeff described: have
contingency plans in place for the most common screwups, and know how
to back out of a mistake you've made. A great side effect is that you
may also know how to back out of a mistake your customer has made.

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
Jeff Liebermann
2014-05-01 16:12:02 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:34:36 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Liebermann
Have you considered that it is those with insurance that are most
likely to be sued?
Yes, that's foremost in my mind, which is why I've never mentioned it
anywhere but here. However, I have a few clients of note (such as a
consulate and an ad agency), and though neither requires E&O, big people
know big people and I can see the day when they refer businesses my way that
require it.
That sorta makes sense, but I'm not sure it's correct. I've had
opportunities to work for big companies with rigid contractor
requirements and guidelines. They're mostly written to cover large
consulting companies, major projects, and 6 figure budgets. It's not
just the insurance requirement, but a long list of requirements that
neither of us could possibly fulfill in full. For example, a
prospective big company client might ask for a financial statement to
insure that my company has the resources to complete the job without
requiring progress payments. I suspect that insurance is just one
part of a long list of requirements, that you might want to
investigate.

However, things are never as they seem. During the late 1980's
through much of the dot com boom, I was erratically hired by a very
large insurance company to do some rather odd things. It wasn't that
I was so fabulous at the tasks, or met all their requirements. It was
that I knew one person in a high position, who personally bypassed the
bureaucracy. I don't want to explain why. In looking around, I saw
other contractors and consultants with similar arrangements. I
suspect that if you really get the attention of people in high places,
you'll be dealing with a similar arrangement, where insurance
requirements are not even discussed.
Post by David Kaye
And, as I said, I have a new customer coming into the fold (later today, in
fact) that will require it if I want to be on their "preferred vendors"
list.
Chuckle. I failed to make the approved vendor list at the local
hospital for obvious reasons. They still call me to do work. The
reason has nothing to do with my competence or insurance. It's
because I'm 3-10 minutes away from the hospital, and can fix things
fast, while all the approved and preferred vendors are over the hill
and are 30 to 90 minutes (minimum) away. I've also done some past
midnight heroics, which was appreciated by all involved.

Hint: Follow your mentor. If they say you need insurance, do it.
Otherwise, it just attracts lawyers.
Post by David Kaye
Well, the company is huge and if I can make them happy with the work
I do the next few days, I'll have enough business that I can begin hiring a
staff and take the business to the next level if I become a "preferred
vendor".
Good luck. Hopefully, you'll survive the way big companies work, such
as electronic billing and E-invoicing.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
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