Corrections or additions?
These articles by Bart Jackson and Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the June 13, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Safety for the Internet: Space Age Insurance
When buckskin-clad fur traders first plied their canoes
along the great lakes of the New World, they encountered risks never
envisioned by Lloyds of London or any European insurer. So 17th century
trappers formed their own self-insuring schemes and Lloyds lost the
fur trade. Fortunately, after 400 years, traditional insurers have
learned to become more responsive to new realms and many are striving
hard to meet the needs of those brave new E-traders out in the online
The extent and limits of available protection, which companies offer
what, and even where some of the hidden risks lie are among the topics
at the New Jersey Insurance Coverage Institute’s day-long seminar,
"Insurance Issues in Cyberspace," on Thursday, June 14, at
8 a.m. at the Sheraton, Iselin. The meeting will present a panel of
insurers headed by Daniel McGraff of Insure Hi-Tech. Cost: $45.
Call 973-422-6446. Other speakers on the schedule are CPA Mark
Gallagher, who will attempt to point out the potential risks. Cost:
$45. To register call Dawn Wilczynski at 973-422-6446.
The New Jersey Insurance Coverage Institute, directed by attorney
Robert Chesler of Roseland-based law firm Lowenstein Sandler,
serves policy holders seeking advice in all the many aspects of insurance
law. They provide programs throughout the year on such topics as bad
faith insurance and employment law coverage.
"You have to understand," says Chesler, "our nation goes
through new waves of litigation. A while back it was environmental,
then employment. Now the hot trend is intellectual property. This
current shift puts E-commerce people in a tough spot." However,
Chesler says there are enough insurance products existent around to
protect even the most esoteric E-business. Chesler, who was born in
New York, earned his bachelor’s at Rutgers and Ph.D. at Princeton,
and then moved up to Harvard for his law degree. He has returned to
the Garden State for his practice, which currently is limited to insurance.
The old standbys of intellectual property — trademarks, logos,
copyright, patents, and other intangibles created through intellectual
effort, readily adapt, Chesler says, from the office desk to the computer
desktop. This, however, is not reason for complacence. Stephen
R. Elias, author of NoLo’s Intellectual Property Law Dictionary
states that "intellectual property law changes almost as rapidly
as the new technologies it seeks to define and regulate."
If this is so, how can the potential policy shopper hope to find cutting
Seminar speaker Lynda Bennett agrees with Chesler that many
insurance companies have now come up with several workable coverage
formats, but she warns that this means most policies have been newly
re-written. Bennett, an attorney with Lowenstein Sandler, lists several
caveats in selecting a new policy.
First, learn exactly when you have to give notice of a claim to your
insurer. Traditionally, if you are named in a copyright infringement
suit, you did not have to file a claim until the actual suit was brought.
Now, more companies are insisting that valid claims must be filed
immediately after the first notification by the opposition’s lawyer.
Some insurers require you to provide your own defense lawyer, some
don’t, says Bennett. Some may demand you use their lawyer. Some policies
may have a settlement clause. This could mean substantial pressure
to accept a damage payment that falls short of the amount of your
insurance coverage. Yet if you enter the world of fine print with
your eyes sharp and open, new tech insurance could be a lifesaver
against a myriad of onslaughts. Some of the kinds of coverage available
the credit card information from your clients and sell it, your clients
can surge in upon you waving damage suits. Considering the potential
of such damage, many direct mail firms are finding this insurance
well worth the minimal premiums.
virus or other piece of magnetic whimsy, brings your system crashing
down for several hours, who knows how much money you are losing? And
therein lies the problem. No one does exactly, yet. While many insurance
firms will offer protection against any limit of such business interruptus,
very few have developed standard formulas for payment.
"If your factory line fails," says Bennett, "most insurers
know exactly the cost to you and have it backed up by decades of actuarial
experience. But we just haven’t had decades of E-commerce and many
startup companies haven’t been able to quantify damages. This frequently
means putting you, the claimant, to proofs."
For this reason, Bennett advises, keep careful continuous journals,
breaking down your income experience over a line of individual time
segments. If you can come to your insurance company with exact cash
figures for periods similar to the downtime, your claim will carry
a lot more clout.
can prove to be a true Catch 22. A host of insurance firms offer protection
to firms accused of cyberfraud. Justly so. Because you are using the
Internet, you could be hit with RICO (racketeering) claims in addition
to the civil actions of wronged individuals. However, Chesler notes,
you usually cannot be convicted of fraud unless it involves intent
to defraud. No intent — no need for an insurance claim. But if
you have been proved intentionally fraudulent, the insurance company
will not pay one dime, because it cannot insure against criminal acts.
Thus your only hope for coverage is if you can prove your misdeed
falls into the next category:
to get as broad a definition as possible to catch cyberfraud within
this category. Make sure to understand conditions under which coverage
will apply before signing, she advises.
worded or thought out as even the most basic printed corporate brochure.
Too often they are dumped into the laps of technical experts who glean
and assemble tidbits into a beautifully glitzy whole. Chesler has
noted myriad instances of inadvertent, and very possibly actionable,
misuse of client confidentiality.
Selling of client lists is also a frequent invasion that can open
you up to vast damages either individually or via a class action suit.
A broad array of specially tailored policies are available that can
cover such suits. However, here again you stand a better chance of
an accepted claim if you can prove negligence. If you sold the list
for profit deliberately, your insurance carrier may not pay claims.
an internal audit to assess their risks for these types of law suits.
She strongly urges cyberexplorers to make insurance coverage part
of the cost of doing business. Like those first fur traders, businesses
may reap great rewards, but they also face a host of unknown risks.
With all that cutting edge labor, it is well worth it to check out
the available protection. After all, anyone’s canoe can get upset.
— Bart Jackson
It’s tempting to say "It’s not personal, it’s just
business," but J.D. Rockefeller knew the real truth: All business
is always personal. "Know the man; then you’ll know his selling
price," the tycoon would mutter to his cronies.
Nowadays, the stiff-necked businessman who backs up his commercial
relationships with a battery of attorneys frequently ends up paying
dearly and unnecessarily. Increasingly, business folk are seeking
not so much victory as solutions among people. Now in some cases facilitators
and mediators are providing firms with swifter, cheaper — and
often more farsighted — solutions to employee claims and business
The fifth annual Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference,
"Beyond the Basics: Strategies for Practitioners and Neutrals,"
on Friday, June 15, at 8:30 a.m. at the Sheraton in Iselin is an all-day
event for mediators, and for those who are interested in becoming
mediators. Sponsors include the New Jersey Association of Professional
Mediators, the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), the
American Arbitration Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association,
and the Society of Certified Public Accountants. Cost: $210. Call
One thing making this ADR seminar so timely is the recent U.S. Supreme
Court decision concerning Circuit City. By a narrow 5 to 4 vote, the
court upheld that employees who previously agreed to the firm’s policy
of submitting claims to a binding arbitration process must abide by
the outcome. Claimants cannot run to court asking for a second bite
at the apple after binding arbitration (U.S. 1, May 16).
"Mediation has been the true sleeping giant for the past 20 years
and this undoubtedly will arouse it," says seminar host and attorney
Hanan Isaacs. From his offices at 601 Ewing Street, Isaacs has
labored to ward off unnecessary litigation for two decades. Accredited
and active in both the American Arbitration Association and the Association
of Professional Mediators, as well as an adjunct professor of ADR
for Seton Hall Law School, Isaacs says "mediation is older than
written history." When Agamemnon and Achilles arrived at an impasse
before the gates of ancient Troy, they took their case to wise old
Nestor. Such tribal counselor roots, Isaacs says, guide mediators
into humanizing a dispute. "Arbitration serves a definite purpose,
but it is still a win or lose situation," Isaacs says. "It
can give you a single Pyrrhic victory at the cost of a potentially
Even in a strong, straightforward dispute, Isaacs says mediation provides
a broader scope of methods. In a typical case, a buyer might complain:
"I’ve been cheated, you sold me a defective product and now won’t
stand behind your own junk." The vendor might snarl back: "It
was not defective. If your clumsy oafs on the production line had
used it properly, it would have lasted for years."
Amid these glowers and invectives enters the mediator. Mediators are
selected by agreement by both parties from among the New Jersey Association
of Professional Mediators’ 200 accredited members. They have a minimum
of 18 hours of training (the average is closer to 100) of training,
and have apprenticed with seasoned mediators.
The mediator can call upon a creative panoply of techniques not available
to a judge, and often not even to an arbiter. These techniques include:
the in-house facilitator or mediator is to have both sides write out
some basic rules of engagement. This pre-negotiation Geneva Conference
generates spokespeople and eases each side into working together.
Rules might include that the initial brainstorming ideas must remain
unfettered and uncriticized.
"is to discover what each of the disputants really wants out of
this relationship." The buyer probably does not want to gain a
swift and withering settlement that will kill the vendor as a future
supplier. "Tell me how you guys first got started in business
together," Isaacs may ask casually. Then, in an atmosphere of
relaxed nostalgia, come the old stories and hopefully a realization
that the true goal is to get rid of this bad blip and let the relationship
flow profitably on.
Thus seeking the goal beyond the immediate dispute becomes primary
in employee claims, says Isaacs. So often the employee seeks a little
more respect or recognition of his extra efforts. The cash from a
quick fix settlement may temporarily symbolize that respect, but it
won’t solve the problem or fill the employee’s hidden need.
a great advantage over formal litigation. While a judge is not permitted
to speak with either client without attorneys for each side present,
the mediator can meet with one side and quietly delve beneath the
various layers and side issues of a dispute. "Family-held companies
are incredibly riddled with inner fractions and splits," says
Isaacs. "Sometimes if I can spend five hours sewing up the rift
between father and son co-owners, we can return and hammer out a solution
with the original disputants in an hour."
All business is personal. If it opens doors of discovery in marital
counseling, role playing can work just as well in arguments between
a buyer and a vendor, or an employer and his worker. "Get out
of the box," says Isaacs. "Seek that human solution."
like training one’s self out of a job, a good mediator will aid the
disputants, particularly in employee/employer cases, to establish
a set program for handling similar claims when they arise again.
is in no way easy. Staying neutral, but becoming involved enough to
actively seek a creative solution, requires a facile wit and a certain
John Linden, communications chair for the NJAPM, says "I
will never forget standing in an office in Phillipsburg, and watching
the mediator chasing one disputant down the hall and screaming at
the top of his lungs." Apparently he was not quite the right man
for the job. But if you think you can work out a clever solution while
staying aloof from the passions around you, mediating could be the
career for you. You do not need to be an attorney, although many mediators
are, and no license is necessary in New Jersey. Mediators do not need
to be members of the Association of Professional Mediators, but those
who do seek this group’s accreditation must have a minimum of 18 hours
of training — offered at Rutgers and other colleges, and must
serve an apprenticeship. Many members are attorneys or psychologists.
Strong business experience, while considered very much of an asset,
takes a second chair to exhaustive training for the APM Board.
As more and more companies seek to avoid the cost of litigation, it
just might prove a wise move to catch the coat tails of the wakening
mediation giant. All you have to do is stick out your shingle and
start soothing. Good luck.
— Bart Jackson
Imagine creating a 2,000-person business to operate
just one day of the year. Outside. In any weather. That business,
of course, is the Fete, the annual fundraiser held for the benefit
of the Medical Center at Princeton. This year the Fete, one of Princeton’s
most enduring traditions (although it is actually held in West Windsor),
takes place on June 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Princeton University
fields off Washington Road.
Begun in 1954, the Fete is run entirely by volunteers. This year 2,000
people are lending a hand under the direction of co-chairs Carolyn
Spohn of Skillman and Dee Shaughnessy
and Shaughnessy, June 16 will be the culmination of a solid year of
work, during which they have coordinated the efforts of 75 committee
The Fete, now in its 48th year, is a marvel of coordination any business
would admire. Year after year, sometimes despite ankle-deep mud, endearing
regulars, including pony rides, an arcade of sports games, a series
of tents selling everything from badminton racquets to antique cups,
and booths tempting passersby with fresh strawberry shortcake and
charcoal broiled hamburgers are staffed and ready for business.
In addition to the main event, which truly signals the coming of summer,
the Fete’s organizers put on a dinner dance for up to 680 revelers
on the evening before the fair, sponsor a 10K race, and raffle off
a classy car. (This year a Mercedes SLK convertible with a sticker
price of $46,000.)
Among the tasks: Send out 3,000 invitations to the dinner dance; get
4,000 parking spots ready; print and distribute 7,000 programs; erect
35 tents; and install 35 refrigerators.
The Fete’s take is never revealed for security reasons, but, given
the crowds that materialize no matter what the weather, it is reasonable
to assume that the Medical Center gets a big boost from the all-volunteer
effort. Pulling off the Fete is no mean feat in this I’m-just-too-busy
era of long work days and over-scheduled kids.
There are still fields of corn and soy beans just a
few minutes drive from Route 1, but the Route 1 corridor in no way
resembles "a sleepy farm town in Iowa," says Dr. Nupur
Lahiri. Day after day Lahiri, director of Princeton’s Life Enhancement
Institute, treats central New Jerseyans who have maxed out on stress.
"New Jersey is a hot spot for large, large corporations,"
Lahiri says. "People have high stress jobs. The expectation for
performance is so high." Even the kids are strung out on stress.
"Schools here are very high performing," she says. "Everybody
is in high gear."
Lahiri gives a free talk on "Generalized Anxiety Disorder"
on Monday, June 18, at 7 p.m. at the Life Enhancement Institute at
10 Jefferson Plaza on Raymond Road. Call 609-924-0912.
Lahiri, who trained in general psychiatry at Upstate Medical Center
in New York, and in child psychiatry at UMDNJ, has been practicing
in Princeton since 1987, and founded the Life Enhancement Institute
in 1999. The Institute takes an integrated treatment approach, offering
general medicine, psychotherapy, fitness counseling, nutrition counseling,
yoga, diagnostic services, disease prevention, and more. This approach
is the result of Dr. Lahiri’s perception that "today’s medicine
is very compartmentalized."
In looking only at the organ in which a patient identifies pain, Lahiri
says, doctors frequently miss a diagnosis. "Amongst my friends,
many people have been to the E.R. two or three times," she says.
Complaining of chest pains, they go through "a million dollar
work-up." When advanced diagnostic tests turn up nothing wrong
with their hearts, her friends, suspecting stress, often turn to psychiatrists.
Before stress gets to the level of chest pain, a serious symptom that
often does call for an extensive medical work-up, Lahiri says it often
manifests itself in a less dramatic way. She lists some common symptoms
as "a little muscle ache, a strained face, dry mouth, clammy hands,
stomach cramps, and just feeling a little anxious all the time."
Insomnia is another common sign that stress is building to an unhealthy
level, as is a tendency to startle easily or to be hypervigilant.
Sometimes, Lahiri says, some training in relaxation techniques is
all that is needed to get the stressed-out executive — or his
child — to calm down. In other cases, psychotherapy or medication
may be indicated.
Lahiri has these suggestions for multi-tasking professionals who want
to avoid succumbing to generalized stress disorder:
gives a seminar called "Sleepless in Princeton," says good
sleep hygiene is key in keeping stress at bay. Go to bed at the same
time every night, she says, but don’t expect to fall right to sleep
if you are all keyed up. "Develop a fixed bedtime routine,"
she suggests. Take a shower, or listen to music — but not, presumably,
anything that will get you dancing.
of relaxation exercises in the morning allows you to start the day
at a lower level of adrenalin," she says.
a week keeps stress at bay. Consider building exercise into the work
day, says Dr. Lahiri.
hard for corporate man — or woman — to go through two pots
of coffee a day, and the caffeine takes a toll, Dr. Lahiri says. Cut
back, and watch alcohol consumption too.
sooner rather than later. For while she has seen that corporate life
takes a toll on the nervous system, she is now seeing that being tossed
from corporate life is no picnic either. Her office is now seeing
a fair number of stressed-out downsized executives. If working in
Central Jersey is stressful, living in Central Jersey without a job
can be even more of a challenge. Now, take a deep breath. . .
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.