We recently began a pilot to offer Florida-based Community Associations the legal services of one of the US News’ “Best Law Firms in 2015,” Cole, Scott, Kissane (CSK). Created in partnership with our friends at Great American, these services are available via a new hotline. We recently chatted with Nelson Kefauver, SVP at Great American, who’s been with the company since 1999 and has been instrumental in making this initiative possible, to get more details on how this legal hotline will make a difference.
This service has been in the making for a little while. Could you tell us about how Great American is involved in this new initiative and what value GA intends to pass to clients?
Nelson Kefauver: Our competitors have hotlines, but those are more specific to employment practice issues in the D&O and EPLI space. The difference is that this hotline is intended to take calls that are not related to employment issues, which makes it very unique. We decided to start in Florida and CSK is one of the most respected law firms there working on homeowner and condo owner association litigation matters. A lot of the people who are part of homeowner or condo associations struggle to simply find board members, so when they have [legal] questions that come up, this is a good way for them to find initial information about those issues.
Could you tell us about a feature that you’re most excited for clients to access?
NK: Sure. One hot topic right now, particularly in Florida, is “how many units can be rental units in an association?” So if an association wants to change their bylaws to allow more or fewer, [the hotline helps with] what they should think about in that process.
How do you envision the client’s experience evolving or altering as they continue to use this service?
NK: The client has the option, if they have something more complicated than what can be addressed in a 10- or 15-minute call, to use CSK further. If a particular issue is complicated—say they want to rewrite their bylaws for example—then CSK can help to rewrite those on a paid basis.
How should clients view the monetary value of these services?
NK: Its not uncommon for these types of calls to cost a couple hundred dollars. Longer term, if insureds use this service, rates could go down for everyone. As they get advice from the hotline that then results in fewer claims and less litigation in the future, then our claims costs can drop and we can see lower rates over time across the program.
What are some of the indicators that GA is looking for to demonstrate success, and what does this pilot look like long term if successful?
NK: I think the biggest thing is that we want people to use the hotline. If we are getting calls and insureds are using it, I could see us rolling it out nationwide immediately.