REGULATORY PROBLEMS

Author Richard Solomon is a conflicts and crisis management lawyer with 50 years of experience in business development, antitrust and franchise law, management counseling and dispute resolution including trials and crisis management.

Dealing with state and federal regulatory agencies is not for the faint of heart.

The approach is different according to whether the agency is focusing upon your company or upon your whole industry/several companies in your industry.

While it is obviously critical to appreciate the regulatory realities that are at the heart of the matter, it is equally mission critical to be focused upon how much latitude you will have operationally when the agency issues its orders, if it issues any at all. Too many times companies find that they have traded vital operational options in order to save money on representation or because of panic. You donít want to discover after the fact that you hamstrung yourself competitively in negotiated settlements. It is near impossible to go back in and fix that mistake.

Some of the insurance companies in the New York Attorney Generalís actions left themselves competitively disadvantaged in the agreed relief orders due to lack of sensitivity to the after life necessities.

Lack of latitude to provide essential financial management information in natural disaster situations produced account management imbalances of rather substantial proportions after Hurricane Ike. Some insurance companies prohibited from collecting premiums during a significant post disaster period accumulated large and old receivables because they failed to appreciate that they could have sent ďAdvisoryĒ bills and given insureds the option to pay currently if they could. This is an example of the common sense approach to major financial imbalances that we would have suggested.

More often than not the right answer to a situational issue is simply to look at how many ways the situation can be addressed. This particular resolution required fifteen minutes of discussion.

Managing the balance between cooperating with others in your industry who are involved and optimizing what you can for yourself can often leave you with a more rational result.