Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

 

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Catalog-Item Reuse

From the Front Lines: EPLI

"It's really important for every commercial client to have this coverage, which we're keeping in mind as we're growing our commercial book," says independent agent Melissa Stallings. "As I've learned, employees are the bread and butter of a business."
Sponsored by

From the Front Lines: EPLIMelissa Stallings

Owner and Principal

Stallings Insurance Agency

Douglasville, Georgia

How did you get started at your agency?

My husband and I got married in 2005 and we moved to Douglasville for his residential lending business. We really love the small-town feel. At the time I was commuting about 40 miles for my work, which takes years off your life. I started looking for a new career in 2006 and wanted something symbiotic to the mortgage industry. I originally looked at real estate but landed on insurance because it wasn't so volatile.

I did a lot of research on different types of agencies and ownership and realized I wanted to start an independent agency, but wanted to learn the industry first. I started at a carrier and then opened an agency in my husband's office in 2008.

How did you get started in employment practices liability insurance?

It's really important for every commercial client to have this coverage, which we're keeping in mind as we're growing our commercial book. As I've learned, employees are the bread and butter of a business.

I offer our commercial clients the best practices for hiring that I've found—you need to hire for character. That's really what it comes down to—the people that violate employment best practices are ones that don't have good character. You can incur a lot of losses as an employer from bad employee practices.

Biggest industry changes?

Recent social movements have added a whole other level of wrongful discrimination, termination, harassment, retaliation and other concerns, which makes EPLI even more important. Also, social media shares ways for people to file a lawsuit and not have to pay a penny to get a settlement.

Biggest challenges?

I almost wish EPLI was called something else because people get very confused between workers compensation and EPLI.

The importance of documentation is another challenge. I had a situation with an employee who I had to fire after he violated our compensation plan, and because I had documented all the meetings in which I'd given him warnings, we won the hearing. That's why you document everything. It's so important to document everything. I tell so many of my clients to cross their i's and dot their t's. 

Future trends in EPLI?

There are always new things affecting the industry and creating gaps, which leads to an increased demand for endorsements. Also, with the increasing cost of EPLI, I think we're going to see some cost-related changes, as well as getting more specific on types of coverage related to EPLI.

Advice for a fellow agent?

At our agency, we have a minimum amount of EPLI coverage that is included with the policy. I recommend more, but we require clients to carry at least some. After I explain the coverage to them, I ask them to explain it back to me. Also, sharing stories from my personal experience is good to illustrate the need.

Favorite success story?

When I think of a success story, it's somebody being offered the coverage, accepting the coverage, and then when a claim situation occurs it is covered and paid. Our success is that we feel comfortable sleeping at night knowing our clients are protected.

AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.

16294
Monday, January 24, 2022
Employment Practices