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Ask an Expert - Disclaimer & Guidelines

Ask an Expert responses are provided for educational and informational purposes only. The Big “I" neither endorses the advice of these volunteer professionals nor makes any warranty or representation, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided through this service. The information provided in this section represents the views of one or more experienced professionals on a given topic; it is not a recommendation that you follow a particular course of action. The Big “I" and the participants in this service do not assume, and will take no responsibility for, liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information.

Big "I" Member login required to use this service.

By submitting a question to the Ask an Expert service, you confirm that you have read, understand, and agree to the following guidelines and instructions.

  • Allow 5 to 7 business days for a response.
    • If questions are unclear and/or do not contain necessary forms, a reply will be posted to your question asking for additional information. Questions will not be reviewed by experts until all details are provided.
  • All responses are made through the Ask An Expert portal. We will not respond via email.
  • Always include applicable forms
    • If you are referring to an ISO form, attach a copy of the form that include the form number with edition date. 
    • If this is a claim denial and you have a copy of the carrier's denial letter, please include a copy of that letter. 
    • If you have a specific coverage question, please include all appicable forms for our experts to best opine. 
  • If you include acronyms that are not commonly used or specific to your question, please type them out at first reference. (Eg: GAP - Guaranteed Auto Protection)
  • We cannot answer state-specific questions. These types of questions will be passed along to your state association.

There are seven types of questions to which we CANNOT respond incuding:

  1. Legal advice
    We cannot provide legal advice, so please do not submit questions as to whether someone is or is not liable.

  2. Litigation
    We cannot respond to any questions involving situations that are currently being litigated or likely to be litigated. We can only respond to hypothetical coverage questions or claims that are unlikely to lead to litigation.

  3. Complex situations
    We cannot respond to overly complex coverage or claim scenarios, particularly those that are mainly fact dependent or involve lengthy proprietary coverage forms or extensive documentation. Many of our volunteers are available for consultant and expert witness work as outlined on their bio pages: Insurance Coverage ExpertsAgency Management Experts, and Technology Experts

  4. Markets
    We cannot help you find a market for an account. It's simply impossible for us to monitor insurer underwriting appetites. We suggest you try your carriers, Big "I" Markets, and/or and when seeking markets.

  5. Classification and coding
    We cannot opine on the proper classification of a risk. This almost always involves subjectivity based on a greater knowledge of the risk than this forum allows.

  6. Coverage options
    We cannot tell you how to write an account regarding what forms or endorsements a particular prospect or insured might need (ISO has thousands of endorsements), and we can't suggest which ones a risk might need, nor can we opine on the possible exposures.

  7. Agency management manuals and templates
    The Big "I" offers members a Sample Agency Procedures Manual. If your agency utilizes this template, be sure to adapt it to your agency's current policies and procedures. We do not offer producer or other employee agreements, non-competes, or other such templates. Any agency in need of this information should contact your state Big “I" or an agency management consultant. Highly qualified agency management consultants are volunteers with the VU faculty and can help.
By submitting a question, you recognize that we share the information you provide with our volunteer faculty, staff, and other experts, and you agree to permit us to use it and our response as the basis for newsletter content and research library articles. We will not, however, disclose your identity and that of any other parties involved.

Please allow 5 to 7 business days for a response.

Big “I” members have some personal responsibilities regarding the use of this service including:

  • Do your own research first. Do your own research first. Before submitting a question, each member should first do his or her own research. Using the search engine on the Big “I” homepage with your questions “key words,” you will often find several articles on the topic. Although the faculty loves answering coverage questions, the best results come when you do the preliminary research, then ask the experts to confirm or deny your findings. Big “I" staff do not intend AAE to replace your own efforts. Lay out the situation/question, express your opinion, and ask the group's opinion of your findings. They are more than willing to help and guide you down the right path and the answers provided will be more beneficial to you.
  • Make reasonable requests. Make reasonable requests. AAE was created to answer specific questions, not to compare, contrast, or explain one or multiple coverage forms. We often receive questions asking our experts to compare two (or more) coverage forms. This type of request falls outside the AAE's scope of services.
  • Ask specific questions. Overly broad questions don't lead to useful responses. A one-line question about the differences between an occurrence and claims-made form won't garner you much useful information. Be specific and focused with your question.
  • Avoid state-specific questions. Direct state-specific questions to the state association or the state's department of insurance. We probably don't know Hawaii's laws governing the amount of fees an agent can charge or Montana's requirement for giving gifts. You'll need to check with the state for this type of information.
  • Limit questions about laws to insurance laws. The VU cannot opine regarding laws specific to other industries. We can't address banking laws, real estate laws, or any other industry laws. 
  • Don't place time limits on the answer. We will respond within 5-7 business days. Our experts are unable to provide a response “before 5:00 today,” for example.
If you accept these responsibilities, the answers you get promise to be more precise and far more useful to you. Ignore these responsibilities and the responses will be vague, inconsistent, or even nonexistent.

Last Updated: July 25, 2023
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Alexandria VA 22314
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fax: 703.683.7556

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