James (Jim) Roorda of the California-based firm Roorda Piquet & Bessee, Inc. (RP&B) has been a client of CPA Mutual for more than 20 years. Roorda happened to receive a flyer about CPA Mutual services right before insurance renewal time for his firm. What caught his eye was that CPA Mutual exclusively represents CPA firms for professional liability policies and risk management.
Roorda founded his firm in 1985 and founded American ESOP Advisors LLC in 2004. He is currently a Shareholder Emeritus of RP&B CPAs.
Due to their audit practice, RP&B naturally has a higher risk for professional liability claims. Over many years, the firm has only had two major claims, but CPA Mutual was immediately there to help navigate the claim and defense process, Roorda says.
“CPA Mutual was very proactive and very responsive at even the hint of a claim, and they were quick to assign an attorney,” Roorda says. “They have been forthright as to when it’s time to double down and when to fold. We’ve prevailed more than settled.”
In one case, a client claimed that Roorda’s firm was too close to management and didn’t have the necessary independence to perform the audit. The client sought $12 million, but CPA Mutual’s attorney was able to prevail against the plaintiff’s counsel for lack of evidence. “They dropped the case against us, which shocked everyone and pleased us very much,” Roorda says.
In an earlier case, CPA Mutual’s referred counsel advised Roorda to settle. It turned out that the client’s controller was on probation for embezzlement but was hired anyway. The audit team at that time didn’t know about the controller’s background and didn’t note any red flags during the audit, but the controller was later caught embezzling. “When you’re the defendant, it’s hard to settle but it was the right move in this case,” Roorda adds.
Through these experiences, Roorda appreciated that CPA Mutual does not “penalize” firms for claims. He experienced only modest increases over the years and noted high value from CPA Mutual and its risk management guidance to successfully grow and transition the firm.
“They are forthright and flexible to cover related CPA entities, and they offer good advice on management letter language and engagement terms. I feel like they’re very accessible beyond coverage renewal periods,” Roorda says.
Roorda considers CPA Mutual a partner in the growth and good reputation of RP&B CPAs over many years. If he could use one word to describe their service, he would say it’s diligent. “That’s exactly what you want from your insurance provider,” he says.