In the professional liability insurance industry, independent agent Kaitlin Kelly says that it's valuable to spend time with and learn alongside the professionals you protect.
Fran Kelly Professional Liability
How did you get started at your agency?
At the end of my senior year in college, after majoring in finance and economics, I suffered a leg injury that required surgery and physical therapy. I asked my dad if I could work for him until I got back on my feet—literally—that was 11 years ago.
I began by studying and obtaining my initial property-casualty license. I went on to study at the Professional Liability Underwriting Society in Chicago to further my knowledge in this specific field. I then started training and working as a producer. I came to value my work and especially the caliber of clientele I had the pleasure of working with. In partnership with my sister, we eventually purchased the agency from our father in 2013.
Why professional liability insurance?
Our agency specializes exclusively in professional liability. Our father started his career as a p-c agent and he eventually saw a need and market demand for a specialized professional liability broker for the title industry. It is a complicated industry that is commonly misunderstood or even unknown to many people. We have found that our clients appreciate our dedication and understanding of their complex industry.
Biggest professional liability changes?
In my experience, the biggest change has been the reaction to cybercrime and how it fits (or does not fit) into this line of coverage. Carriers have had to decide how to adapt and react to the constantly evolving cyber exposures.
The biggest challenge for me is the consistent effort to stay on top of the exposures and connect those with carriers willing to adequately cover the risk. Professional liability insurance requires constant continuing education, networking and coverage negotiations. There’s never a time to sit back and ride it out.
Future of professional liability?
I’m hopeful that we can truly separate the cyber risk and get back to pure malpractice forms. The risks are so different and it’s difficult to get clients to understand the difference in exposures when we’re presenting cyber endorsements on a professional liability form.
Professional liability advice?
Do not treat continuing education as a requirement. Use it as an opportunity to learn, grow and network with fellow professional liability brokers and underwriters. There’s a lot to learn in this space.
Also, I’ve found a lot of success from being involved in the local trade associations for the industry I focus on. It’s extremely valuable to spend time with and learn alongside the professionals you are hoping to protect.
Favorite professional liability success story?
Any time a claim comes in and there’s affirmative coverage I consider it a success. That’s the ultimate goal—providing absolute protection for our clients.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA assistant editor.