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Surprise! Reporting Potential Claims Protects You Best

February 26, 2018

Professional liability insurance and Potential Claims

 

If you have been following this blog, you know that lawyers malpractice insurance policies are written to provide coverage on a claims made and reported basis, meaning that the policy that is in place at the time the insurance company is made aware of the potential for liability is the policy that determines the existence and scope of available coverage. This differs from property insurance, or even other types of liability insurance, which typically look to the policy that was in place at the time the accident, incident, or damage occurred to determine coverage.

 

Claims Made and Reported Policies

Attorney professional liability insurance is designed this way because insurance companies need some relatively stable reference points to be able to plan for future risks and adequately prepared to pay for covered losses when they come due. This is particularly challenging when trying to protect lawyers, whose matters and representations of clients can span years before their outcome is fully known, and when the attorney-client relationship can continue for long after a mistake has been made. Receiving notice that somewhere down the line the attorney may face an allegation that could lead to the insurer having to pay out funds helps the insurer to develop some idea about the possible extent and time of its future liability, which is enough information for actuaries to come up with a plan to prepare for those possibilities.

 

Reporting Potential Claims and Incidences

What does all that mean for you in practical terms? It means that if you are conscientious about reporting potential claims, or incidences where you realize that you may have made a mistake during a representation or any circumstance that could result in your needing to invoke coverage under your professional liability policy, then over time, you can sleep more comfortably knowing that you will have that coverage available if you need it, and that your future coverage will remain affordable. On the flip side, it also means that, if you fail to alert your insurer to any potential claims, you could find yourself even worse off when someone actually brings a claim against you.

 

Despite this, attorneys—especially small or sole practitioners—often think it is against their interests to reveal any such facts when looking for insurance coverage. Why stir the pot unless something actually boils over? Won’t reporting be held against me, raising my rates, when it might end up being nothing and costing the insurer nothing? This is misguided. It’s actually the surprises that make their lives difficult. Insurers want to know what potential claims are lurking in your firm’s history so they can plan. And when the insurer can plan better, it can price better.

 

So, protect yourself best by promptly reporting incidences, circumstances, and potential claims as soon as you have an inkling about them, and especially when filling out renewal applications or seeking new malpractice coverage altogether.


Protexure Lawyers /// Professional Liability Made Easy

“I found the Protexure representatives to be extremely professional, knowledgeable, and courteous. They found similar coverage for me for a substantial amount less than I had been paying. I have been pleased with Protexure’s service and would recommend it highly.”

- David M. Lipschutz, Esquire

Receiving a quote from Protexure Lawyers is made super easy by the quick response time of their team. The renewal process is different from what I have ever seen, they offer a mostly filled out application which made the process even easier for me!

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It was a pleasure working with you, - you gave me the most competitive price, quick turn around and good follow-up.

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My account representative was very helpful in assisting me to complete my application. He made me feel like my questions and my business were a priority to him.

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When faced with a substantial increase from our existing malpractice carrier, we received the name Protexure Lawyers from a referral. On contact, they were not only very prompt in processing our application, but also responded to several coverage questions we had. So far, the service has been excellent.

- Law Office of Shriver, O'Neill & Thompson

Mr. Dixon contacted me many months ago and I told him I renew my policy in September and that it would be helpful to contact me in July or August of this year. He did that; he was very patient with me and assisted me with the application process. He was extremely prompt in replying to my inquiries. I had been with the same company for many years so I was reluctant to leave them. He made the transition quite simple. I am fortunate that he was the salesman who contacted me.

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Thanks. You guys got my business because (a) your price was great, and (b) you were responsive and on top of things (a number of insurers surprisingly were not).

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I first came in contact with Ryan on a cold call. Usually I am dismissive of these types of calls, but Ryan was brief and to the point - no hard sell or over promising. In the end, I received a less expensive policy than others I researched. I guess not all cold calls are a bad thing.

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Ryan offered to compare my current insurance with what he and his company could offer. I took him up on this, and gave him my pertinent information. I did my own research, and discovered that his quote was lower and the carrier had an A rating. I contacted my existing agent to see if she could match the quote. I had been her customer for a number of years and thought that was fair. She was unable to match Ryan's offer.

- Steve Hunter

I discussed some minor differences in the policies with my account representative, and throughout the process, he was easy to reach and called me back promptly. I value this a great deal. In the end, it was clear to me that I would receive a less expensive policy than I currently have, with the same coverage and excellent customer service.

- Steve Hunter

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