In 1989, I left my job with the Frank B. Hall Agency and opened what became First Indemnity Insurance Group. Over the years, I’ve forged strong relationships while protecting and defending thousands of attorneys in firms of all sizes. I’ve enjoyed some great successes and learned plenty along the way.
Based on my 30 years of insuring attorneys, here are five key insights I share with potential clients when discussing professional liability insurance for lawyers:
1.Look past the premium. The joy of a “cheap” premium turns sour quickly for attorneys if they learn they’re not covered for a particular event, or if they find legal fees have quickly eroded what they thought were generous policy limits.
2.Focus instead on the carrier’s definition of covered services. Seek a broad definition of covered services in any professional liability product. Ask these key questions: Am I covered if I’m sued while working as an arbitrator or mediator? Am I covered if a real estate deal goes bad and I’m working as a title insurance agency or notary public? Am I covered if I’m acting as an executor guardian or escrow agent?
3.Consider what will happen if you face a liability lawsuit after retirement or death. Will an extended reporting period cover you? While most policies offer them, they often come with conditions, such as needing a minimum of consecutive years of coverage to qualify. Look for policies that offer free unlimited tails on extended reporting periods.
4.Review your deductible options. Does your policy include any opportunities to receive a full deductible waiver? For example, some policies allow a 100 percent deductible waiver if your liability claim is settled early.
5.Make sure your coverage includes cyber. According to the Q1 2017 Law Firm Cyber Security Scorecard from Logicforce, 4.2 billion records were compromised across 4,169 publicly confirmed law firm data breaches in 2016. And about 40 percent of law firms didn’t know they were breached. Yet only 23 percent of law firms carry cybersecurity policies. Data breaches can and will happen to your firm. Make sure your professional liability coverage includes a broad cyber liability endorsement so you’re covered in the event of a breach.