Condo Media - May 2014 - (Page 52)

by Nena Groskind FEATURE Providing Professional Advice C ondominium boards hire managers or management companies to provide the professional experience and expertise they lack but need to oversee the operations and finances of their communities. Boards turn to managers for advice on large and small issues, and they use that advice to inform and help guide the decisions they must make. That's generally how things are supposed to work. Problems can arise, however, when boards ask managers to provide advice they aren't qualified to give. The obvious examples are questions dealing with insurance coverage, legal issues, or structural problems - all areas in which managers have some knowledge and are often well informed but not necessarily experts. How do managers respond when boards insist on advice the managers don't (or shouldn't) feel comfortable giving? And what are the implications for boards, associations, and the managers themselves when they succumb to that pressure? We asked two managers and an insurance professional to share their perspectives. 52 Condo Media * May 2014 Jared McNabb, CMCA, PCAM, Crowninshield Management Corporation, AMO "Managers are generalists," McNabb says. "We're a jack of all trades." Managers need to understand insurance, legal issues, construction, and other technical areas well enough to discuss them with professionals in those fields, he says. "We need to be able to talk the talk with them," ask the right questions, and help explain the answers to board members and owners. "We need to understand a contractor's explanation of why the roof is leaking and the solutions different contractors are recommending; we need to understand how the insurance deductible works." But managers shouldn't be writing specs for complex construction projects, McNabb says, and they shouldn't be deciding what kind of insurance coverage a community needs. All managers have areas they particularly like and about which they may be particularly knowledgeable. For McNabb, it is insurance. "It makes the job easier if I can emphasize the importance of HO6 policies for homeowners," he says, or explain generally how the deductible structure works. But when it comes to comparing different policies or determining the coverages the community needs, he's going to bring in an insurance professional to have that discussion with the board and possibly with the owners as well. Years ago, he notes, he might have offered to draft an amendment or to shop for insurances but not anymore. "It's not in the manager's or association's interest to do that. You're just asking for trouble. Any time you're dealing with issues that involve potential liability - and these days, it seems, almost everything involves potential liability," McNabb cautions, adding, "managers have to recognize their limitations." And they have to make sure boards recognize their limitations, too. "Part of being a good manager is admitting when you don't know something," McNabb says. Equally important is finding the professionals who can provide the information and advice the board needs.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - May 2014

Condo Media - May 2014
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
And the Winners Are ...
Vendor Spotlight
Industry Perspective
Volunteer Spotlight
CAI-NE Legal Directory
Classifi ed Service Directory
Advertisers Index

Condo Media - May 2014