Specialty Insurance

Three Things to Know About EPLI

It’s available, it’s affordable and it’s preferable to litigation.
By: | February 20, 2018 • 2 min read

With high-profile sexual harassment claims dominating today’s headlines, employers and their risk managers might want to take another look at their employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) — or lack thereof.

EPLI provides a defense against employment violations committed by employers and/or their employees, including sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination.

“It’s important for employers to know that EPLI is one: available; two: affordable; and three: a policy costs less than a legal defense,” said Victoria Stone, senior vice president, Poms & Associates.


“Irrespective of the validity of an allegation, it behooves employers to have a policy to provide for a defense, as well as a judgment,” Stone said. Client attitudes vary, but overall, they are begrudgingly receptive to such a policy.

“Some employers do resent having to pay for this type of policy,” Stone said. “My clients aspire to do the best they can. They are good people and good to their employees. But I recommend that they have EPLI, because these cases can be expensive to defend, even if you’ve got excellent documentation.”

Of course, having EPLI is not enough. Employers must work to create a culture where sexual harassment — or discrimination of any kind — is not acceptable. This includes providing training and education to employees, creating policies regarding behavior and reporting and making sure victims or witnesses know it’s safe to speak up.

Victoria Stone, senior vice president, Poms & Associates

As movements against sexual harassment gain momentum, some question whether EPLI negates corporate America’s motivation to change the culture that breeds abuse. Stone however, doesn’t consider that an issue. “It’s great to have insurance, but you don’t want to use it,” she said. “We want to help employers develop practices that prevent claims from arising; the goal is to keep this from happening.”

That prevention mindset is shared by Marie-France Gelot, SVP, insurance and claims counsel, Lockton Northeast, who believes a cultural shift is what’s needed.

“There needs to be a full overhaul of corporate culture,” she said. “This issue must be on the agenda of every corporate board. It starts at the top, at the board level and within the C-suite. Then legal, human resources and risk management must all be on board,” she added.

Calling for strong leadership and substance over form, Gelot said that the time for harassment-free workplaces has come, and those who do not act will damage their brands, reputations and ability to attract good talent.

“It’s time for the #WeToo movement,” she said. “I call it that because ‘we’ in corporate America must stand up and say, ‘We do not condone sexual harassment,’ ” she said. “Companies must truly commit to change; they must put their money where their mouth is and create a zero-tolerance culture,” she added. “We must take away the fear and stigma.” &

Mercedes Ott is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Janet Sheiner, VP of risk management and real estate at AMN Healthcare Services Inc., sees innovation as an answer to fast-evolving and emerging risks.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

As a kid, bagging groceries. My first job out of school, part-time temp secretary.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Risk management picks you; you don’t necessarily pick it. I came into it from a regulatory compliance angle. There’s a natural evolution because a lot of your compliance activities also have the effect of managing your risk.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?


There’s much benefit to grounding strategic planning in an ERM framework. That’s a great innovation in the industry, to have more emphasis on ERM. I also think that risk management thought leaders are casting themselves more as enablers of business, not deterrents, a move in the right direction.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Justified or not, risk management functions are often viewed as the “Department of No.” We’ve worked hard to cultivate a reputation as the “Department of Maybe,” so partners across the organization see us as business enablers. That reputation has meant entertaining some pretty crazy ideas, but our willingness to try and find a way to “yes” tempered with good risk management has made all the difference.

Janet Sheiner, VP, Risk Management & Real Estate, AMN Healthcare Services Inc.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

San Diego, of course!  America’s Finest City has the infrastructure, Convention Center, hotels, airport and public transportation — plus you can’t beat our great weather! The restaurant scene is great, not to mention those beautiful coastal views.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

The emergence of risk management as a distinct profession, with four-year degree programs and specific academic curriculum. Now I have people on my team who say their goal is to be a risk manager. I said before that risk management picks you, but we’re getting to a point where people pick it.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?


The commercial insurance market’s ability to innovate to meet customer demand. Businesses need to innovate to stay relevant, and the commercial market needs to innovate with us.  Carriers have to be willing to take on more risk and potentially take a loss to meet the unique and evolving risks companies are facing.

R&I: Of which insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion?

Beazley. They have been an outstanding partner to AMN. They are responsive, flexible and reasonable.  They have evolved with us. They have an appreciation for risk management practices we’ve organically woven into our business, and by extension, this makes them more comfortable with taking on new risks with us.

R&I: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. health care industry and why?

I am very optimistic about the health care industry. We have an aging population with burgeoning health care needs, coupled with a decreasing supply of health care providers — that means we have to get smarter about how we manage health care. There’s a lot of opportunity for thought leaders to fill that gap.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Professionally, AMN Healthcare General Counsel, Denise Jackson, has enabled me to do the best work I’ve ever done, and better than I thought I could do.  Personally, my husband Andrew, a second-grade teacher, who has a way of putting things into a human perspective.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

In my early 20s, I set a goal for the “corner office.” I achieved that when I became vice president.  I received a ‘Values in Practice’ award for trust at AMN. The nomination came from team members I work with every day, and I was incredibly humbled and honored.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

The noir genre, so anything by Raymond Chandler in books. For movies,  “Double Indemnity,” the 1944 Billy Wilder classic, with insurance at the heart of it!

R&I: What is your favorite drink?


Clean water. Check out Water.org for how to help people enjoy clean, safe water.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant at which you’ve eaten?

Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

China. See favorite restaurant above. This restaurant had been open for 100 years in that location. It didn’t exactly have an “A” rating, and it was probably not a place most risk managers would go to.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Eating that duck at Liqun!

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

Dr. Seuss who, in response to a 1954 report in Life magazine, worked to reduce illiteracy among school children by making children’s books more interesting. His work continues to educate and entertain children worldwide.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

They’re not really sure!

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]