LEGAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE COLUMBUS

Legal Malpractice Insurance ColumbusLegal Malpractice Insurance Columbus, Attorney Liability Insurance Columbus: Coverage, Limits, Deductible, and Pre-mium, Optimized for Your Firm

 

 

I. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – How We Serve You

We’re legal malpractice insurance brokers and subject matter experts, who enjoy a strong relationship with AIG, CNA, Travelers, and many other “A”-rated legal malpractice insurers.

Our mission is to obtain the best terms that are available in the market for every law firm.

Here’s an example: in January, 2015, a 3-attorney firm asked us to obtain competing quotes, after it received a renewal quote of $8,194 from its malpractice insurer of many years.

We sent its application to 12 “A”-rated insurers, eight of which offered a proposal. The winning insurer’s proposal was $5,409, for the same coverage, limits, and deductible as the renewal quote.

We renewed the account with the same insurer for a premium of $5,579 in 2016, and $5,731 in 2017.

Thus, the firm’s premium decreased by over 30% compared to its 2015 renewal quote, three years in a row, for identical coverage, because we aggressively shopped its application.

Can we obtain similar results for your firm? The only way to find out is if we obtain proposals for you.

The larger point is that most attorneys don’t comparison shop, and thus often buy inadequate, overpriced coverage, because they don’t know that legal malpractice insurance pricing is inaccurate and highly variable, or that the market is intensely competitive.

The premiums that a legal malpractice insurer charges are essentially guesses, because it doesn’t know how much it will spend to defend and settle claims, which are its biggest expense.

Further, pricing varies widely among insurers, i.e., the highest quote that the firm in the example above received was $8,857, 64% more than the lowest quote, for the same coverage.

This shows how comparison shopping helps firms obtain the best terms. In fact, if a firm doesn’t comparison shop at least every third year, it may not only miss out on better terms, it usually receives inferior terms, because its insurer has no competition for its account.

If you do shop, you’ll find that more than 15 “A”- rated legal malpractice insurers compete in Ohio, 7-10 of which will likely offer your firm a quote, if it’s well-managed.

Click here to see the results we’ve obtained for other firms, including those with 50+ attorneys.

II. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Optimize Your Coverage 

A. “Put your best foot forward”: thoroughly explain your practice and procedures to insurers by submitting a completed application, all required supplements, and if necessary, an addendum.

B. “Shop ‘til you drop”: work with a broker who’ll submit your application to every “A”-rated malpractice insurer that’ll likely offer your firm coverage, based on its risk profile. Maximizing competition is the key to getting the best terms.

C. Avoid quotes, which overemphasize price, and instead request proposals from each insurer, at various limits, deductibles, and coverage options.  Then compare them to your renewal terms.

III. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Next Step

You can complete an application, as explained below, but if you’d rather find out whether or not your firm is getting the best terms before doing so, then send an us email with your firm’s attorney count, primary practice areas, office location, and current malpractice insurance limits, deductible, and premium (for extra precision, provide each attorney’s month and year of hire). 

We’ll review the information, and advise you whether or not we can obtain materially better terms for your firm.

If we don’t think we can, then we’ll recommend that you stay with your current insurer.

If we do think we can, then we’ll recommend that you complete an application. You can download a blank one from our applications page, or send us the most recent application that your firm completed for its current malpractice insurer; we’ll copy it onto a new application, and send it to you to review.

As mentioned above, we’ll send your firm’s completed application to all suitable insurers for proposals, and after every insurer has offered its best proposal, we’ll send you an analysis, highlighting the best ones so you can easily compare them to your current terms. 

If you accept any of the proposals that we obtained, then the insurer that offered it will pay us a commission, i.e., a percentage of the premium. That’s our only compensation – we never charge you a fee to use our services.

We thus have every incentive to find you the best terms available in the market.

IV. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Attorney Feedback

“I recently worked with Curtis…I thought he did an excellent job staying in touch with me and giving me fair advice, without pressure to purchase anything in particular…this is exactly the type of professional I want to do business with.” (Rating: 5 stars out of 5.)

Full review: http://www.yelp.com/biz/lawyers-insurance-group-washington

We received this email from the owner of a law firm for whom we procured malpractice coverage after its existing coverage was non-renewed:
“From beginning to end, you have served us so well, keeping me informed every step of the way. Thank you Curtis! I will recommend you without hesitation to any lawyer in need of a professional insurance broker.”

V. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – A Guide For Attorneys

Few attorneys have time to master legal malpractice insurance. However, it’s an essen-tial risk management tool for every law firm, and a major cost. This guide will help you optimize your firm’s coverage.

A. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Policy Language

There are material differences among the insurance policies of the major legal malprac- tice insurers, which can mean the difference between your firm being covered or not covered, if it’s sued for malpractice.

1. Definition of Legal Services
All legal malpractice policies cover legal work done by a firm’s lawyers, but some law-yers are also mediators, title agents, executors or administrators of estates, etc., and/or do pro bono work, and some policies don’t cover those activities.

Your firm’s broker should ask if any of its lawyers acts in any of these or other capacities, and if so, procure the proper coverage.

2. Intentional Acts
Legal malpractice plaintiffs often allege that a lawyer has committed a dishonest, inten-tionally wrong, or illegal act, in order to pressure them. Legal malpractice policies ex-clude coverage for claims that allege such conduct, but some policies will defend an accused lawyer(s) until a verdict or court ruling is issued, while others won’t, in which case either the lawyer or firm must pay for his/her defense. Further, some policies cover any innocent partners who are named in the suit, while others don’t.

Your firm’s broker should tell you if its current policy has a broad or narrow exclusion, and the firm should consider this when evaluating competing policies.

B. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Policy Limits

Legal malpractice insurers offer policy limits on a per claim/annual aggregate basis. For example, a limit of $1M/$2M means the insurer will pay up to $1,000,000 for defense and indemnity costs for each claim that’s made against a firm during the one-year policy period, subject to a maximum of $2,000,000 for all claims that are made against it during the policy period. Limits start at $100K/$300K, followed by $250K/$250K, $250K/$500K, $500K/$500K, etc., up to $5M/ $10M; each higher limit raises the premium about 10% – 15%. Limits above $5M/$10M can be bought via an excess policy.

The right policy limits for your firm depend on its attorney count, practice areas, the av-erage value of its cases, etc. Your firm’s broker should review the firm’s practice every year, and tell you if its limits are adequate; if they’re not, have your broker solicit quotes for higher limits, and then decide if they’re worth the higher premium.

C. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Claim Expenses

Most legal malpractice claims generate substantial legal fees and related costs, which are called “claim expenses”. A key factor in choosing policy limits is whether the under-lying policy pays claim expenses inside or outside of the limits:

Claim Expenses Inside the Limits (CEIL): the insurer deducts legal fees and costs from the policy’s per claim limit as it pays them, which reduces the amount available to pay any settlement or judgment. Most firms have this type of policy, which is also called an “eroding limits” policy. If a firm’s per claim limit is used up before a malpractice claim against it has been resolved, then it must pay all additional legal fees and any judgment or settlement out-of-pocket.

Claim Expenses Outside the Limits (CEOL): the insurer doesn’t deduct legal fees and costs from the per claim limit, so the entire limit is available to pay any settlement or judgment; further, there’s no limit on claim expenses. Insurers are reluctant to offer this coverage, so relatively few law firms have it, and it costs more than CEIL coverage.

Your firm’s broker should solicit quotes for CEOL coverage, and tell you if the quotes you receive are for CEIL or CEOL coverage; if they’re for CEIL, consider buying a higher limit to offset the “eroding limits”.

D. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Policy Deductible

A deductible applies to every claim.

The minimum is $1,000; higher options are $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, etc. The higher a firm’s deductible, the lower its premium, but insur-ers will offer only as a high a deductible as they believe a firm can afford to pay, based on its annual revenue, etc. There are three types:

1. Loss & Expense Deductible: applies to indemnity payments (loss) and claim expen- ses, i.e., legal fees; most legal malpractice policies have this type of deductible. The firm must pay all losses and claim expenses until the deductible has been fully paid; the in- surer won’t make any payments until then. Most firms satisfy their deductible by paying legal fees, because they’re usually the first expenses that are incurred on a malpractice claim.

2. Annual Aggregate Deductible: applies to loss and claim expenses, which the firm pays until it has reached the annual aggregate. No further deductible applies during the policy period, even if the firm incurs more claims.

3. Loss Only Deductible, a/k/a First Dollar Defense: applies to indemnity payments, but not claim expenses, which the insurer pays from the first dollar. Claim expenses are us- ually incurred on a malpractice claim before any indemnity payment is made, and often no indemnity payment is made, because the law firm prevails. Thus, a law firm that has this type of deductible usually doesn’t pay anything, which is why insurers charge extra for it.

VI. Who We Serve

We optimize legal malpractice insurance for:

  • New law firms, including solo practices
  • Established firms of all sizes and in all practice areas, including high-risk practice areas like Securities, Sports/Entertainment, Real Estate, IP, and Personal Injury/ Medical Malpractice/Class Actions.
  • Special situations: law firms that have had their legal malpractice insurance can-celled or non-renewed; are merging or disbanding; are in or emerging from bankruptcy; etc.
  • Independent Contractors

VII. Legal Malpractice Insurance Columbus – Further Reading

 

Legal Malpractice Insurance Maryland

Legal Malpractice Insurance Virginia

Legal Malpractice Insurance Washington, DC

Legal Malpractice Insurance Baltimore

Legal Malpractice Insurance Richmond

Legal Malpractice Insurance Norfolk

Legal Malpractice Insurance Virginia Beach

Legal Malpractice Insurance Ohio

Legal Malpractice Insurance Pennsylvania

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