TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2015
Questions and answers about lawyers professional liability insurance by Larry Freudenberg.
1. Which type of attorneys don't need malpractice insurance?
None. Any attorney in private practice is at risk of being sued for malpractice. Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company says that established attorneys today can expect at least three malpractice claims of the course of their careers. Experience is no protection. A 2007 study by the ABA showed data that the lions share of claims come from lawyers in practice 11 to 20 years. A third of all claims are from firms with two to five lawyers.
2. Does a lawyers professional liability policy cover defense cost even for a groundless claim?
Yes. One of the best reasons to buy a policy is that it affords the lawyer with defense by attorneys who are specialized in defending lawyers against these types of claims. The claims people at the insurance company have the best resources available to handle any claim even if it is frivolous. The cost of hiring a lawyer to defend you could be substantial and these type of policies provide coverage for this.
3. What does lawyers malpractice cover?
Insurance policies vary, but many will provide additional or a sublimit of coverage for pre and post judgement interest, disciplinary proceedings (bar matters) and even compensation for the time to attend a hearing.
4. Tail? What's this?
The tail is an extended reporting period. Most lawyers professional liability policies like most professional liability policies are written on a claims made basis and not occurrence. With claims made the policy must be effective when the claim is made unlike a general liability policy that is occurrence based and will respond to a claim even if the policy is not active but the claim occurred during the policy period. The attorney may not expect to retire or close his/her practice, but if this happens the tail provides for coverage beyond the expiration of the policy. The policy will show the cost to purchase tail coverage. Some policies will even give a free tail if the attorney has been with that company for a certain number of years and the attorney is retiring.
Please refer to your policy for the benefits, exclusions, limits and coverages that will apply for your lawyers professional liability insurance policy. These are not standard policies so we highly recommend reading your policy and meeting with your insurance advisor to discuss any questions. Triest Agency specializes in lawyers professional liability insurance for lawyers in South Carolina and Georgia. Established in 1903, Triest Agency is one of the the oldest family owned insurance agencies in the country.
Posted 2:55 PM