Is E & O Insurance A Waste Of Money?

Home Inspectors frequently ask me if having E & O Insurance is “worth it.” The unspoken subtext of the question, of course, is “Hey, if I never have a claim, haven’t I wasted my money?”

I guess that the answer would be “Yes”, if you felt the same way about any other line of insurance. If you never have an auto accident, never have a health issue, never have a house fire, never lose time from work due to sickness, have you wasted the money you spent on auto, health, homeowners and disability insurance?

The problem that I think that home inspectors have with legacy E & O insurers is that they don’t really trust them to do the right thing. And with some considerable justification.

I’m currently representing an Arizona inspector in a multi-party claim: the seller, a seventy-something woman, the real estate broker, a very successful entrepreneur and the inspector. The claimants are a real estate lawyer and his wife.

The lawyer-claimant wrote the Mother of All Demand Letters, a real magillah, fourteen pages, that sought $150,000 in damages. My response, according to counsel for the other defendants, “really infuriated him.”

Well, good, I thought. My fastball has not lost any of its velocity.


Is E & O Insurance A Waste Of Money? Part Deux

My recent post, Is E & O Insurance A Waste Of Money, prompted this comment from Arizona Home Inspector, Jeff Byfield:

Joe my question is, if you didn’t have insurance would you even be considered in these frivolous law suits that greedy people and unscrupulous attorneys pull you into? What can they really sue you for besides your ladder and a few tools, or is there more to this than what I’m thinking?

This is a question that comes up every time I present the Law and Disorder Seminar and every time I write about professional liability insurance.

Many inspectors believe that, if there is no pot of gold – insurance – at the end of the rainbow, claimants and their attorneys will simply fold their tents and go away. Problem solved. Unfortunately, as I have written extensively elsewhere on this site, lawsuits seldom end well for uninsured defendants and their uninsured status certainly does not immunize them from lawsuits.

While I have successfully persuaded over 500 claimants and their attorneys to abandon their claims, it was because I laid out compelling reasons for doing so bolstered by Force Ten levels of logic. They did not do that because the inspector had no insurance, they did it because I convinced them that they had no claim.

Some inspectors who have been following me for years and are familiar with my phenomenal success at terminating home inspection claims aborning have wondered to me what the point of having professional liability insurance is, if 97% of claims go away with a letter. Why, indeed?