When purchasing something, Everyone wants a good deal right? Same is true for your legal malpractice insurance. You want the coverage that you need but you don’t want to overpay.
I’ve been helping lawyers for more than 30 years purchase legal malpractice insurance and I have seen the good and the bad when insureds shop for their legal malpractice insurace.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts when shopping your legal malpractice insurance:
Do use a broker that can shop more than one legal malpractice carrier. Let one broker obtain multiple quotes. Involving more than one broker can be confusing not only for you but for insurance carriers if they receive multiple submissions for the same risk.
Don’t change carriers every year. Lawyers malpractice policies are written on a claims made basis and switching carriers every year can be an issue when it comes to claims reporting.
Do take into consideration your personal circumstances before changing carriers: are you retiring soon? Most carrier require that you be insured with them for 3 consecutive years to qualify for a free retirement tail. Retirement tails can be expensive!
Don’t base your decision strictly on price. You have heard it before I know, but it is true. There is more to it than just the pricing.
Do read the policy before changing carriers. Make sure you are getting what you asked for. Things like prior acts coverage, career coverage, exclusions are often overlooked
Don’t shotgun your application to several carriers or brokers that you know or may have heard of. There are many carriers that don’t have an interest in writing your coverage, so why take the time and apply. Your broker should know what carriers are interested in writing a policy that covers your specific exposures.
Switching legal malpractice carriers is no small matter. Remember it protects your reputation and protects your clients too. If you’re contemplating making a change, do it right.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been telling clients and prospective clients alike that now is the time to buy a stand alone cyber policy. If you haven’t taken the steps to purchase a policy, there couldn’t be a better time than right now.
Claims are increasing: Ransomware, malware, phishing schemes and fraudulent funds transfer just to name a few of the claims issues that seem to be an everyday occurrence. Because of the increasing claims, obtaining a standalone cyber policy is getting a little more difficult.
Carriers are beginning to get a little more selective on who and what industry they want to insure. Policy terms and conditions are beginning to get a little stricter and some carriers are even beginning to exit the marketplace and not offer coverage at all.
Just a few months ago, one of the larger carriers that write cyber insurance did exit the market and no longer writes the coverage. Worse yet, one of the ugly consequences of all this, is that the pricing on cyber coverage has started to increase and let’s not forget that ugly word inflation that also is playing a part!
If you haven’t purchased a cyber insurance policy yet, do it now or at least apply for coverage so you can review the offer and make an informed decision. Keep delaying the process or decision and you may find yourself unable to secure coverage at all and the market has made the decision for you.
Have any questions about the topic discussed in this article? Contact us today! 412-563-2106.
I get asked by most lawyers who are cutting back on their practice hours if and how that will affect their legal malpractice insurance premiums.
Most are surprised when I tell them that it really won’t have much of an impact on pricing this renewal. Or for the next couple of renewals for that matter.
Insureds need to keep in mind that your future workload/hours plays only a part in the pricing and underwriting process of your renewal.
Another much larger part in the underwriting/pricing process is your prior acts coverage/hours. For example if you have been insured for 10+ years, working 50 hours per week, and this renewal you decide you’re cutting back to 30 hrs per week to spend more time at home. Granted you will be creating less exposure for the carrier by working 20 hrs per week less but the 50+ hours per week you worked for the last 10+ years doesn’t go away and that exposure to claims still exists.
Carriers do and will price for that. Overtime, the reduced hours you work will have an impact on pricing but not in the near future.
It is always nice to be in a position to work less hours per week, but don’t expect it to have an immediate impact on your malpractice pricing. Overtime, yes but not immediate.
Did you ever receive a certified letter advising you that your malpractice insurance has just been non renewed? I know that it is not a pleasant feeling, but what should you do?
First thing is don’t panic. You’re not alone. It happens probably more than you realize. Especially in today’s market.
Second, Call your broker if he or she has not already called you. Find out the specific reason why you received the non renewal. Confirm the non renewal is valid. There are many situations where the non renewal occurs: Sometimes it is simply that the current carrier is no longer writing business in this state, sometimes it has to do with your claims history, sometimes it has to do with a certain area of practice you perform or some other type of valid reason.
Third, work with your broker. Create a plan to approach the marketplace, select carriers with your broker to approach that will offer the best options at obtaining renewal terms, order loss runs and update the firm information to provide a clear and updated picture of your firm.
Lastly, do not “shotgun” your application to all carriers that you hear of or know. This could result in confusion in the marketplace, resulting in several declinations from carriers and creating unnecessary delays in securing terms. If you’re with the right broker, he/she should know what carriers to approach that provides you the best opportunity to secure renewal terms.
Navigating through a non renewal can be confusing but following the steps I outlined will make it a little easier.
Are you planning on retirement in the next few years? If so, good for you. I’m sure you’re looking forward to it! However, there are many things you need to complete prior to you closing or selling your office. I want to discuss this issue from an insurance standpoint only.
When you retire or close your office, the exposure from your cases stays with you. Unfortunately that exposure doesn’t retire when you do. You need to be certain that when you do walk out that door for good that your malpractice insurance remains in place so that you are covered for future claims that may be filed against you from past cases or acts.
Before you retire or sell your practice, you should contact your broker and make sure that you have the right under the policy to purchase tail coverage or what is called an extended reporting provision. Exercising this right under the policy allows you to report to the carrier any claims that may arise against you after retirement provided the alleged error occurred during the time you were insured or after any retro date that was listed on your policy.
This tail provision usually comes with several options with regards to the length of the tail or how long the tail will last. Depending on the policy, time frames can range from 1 year to an unlimited time frame. The longer the time period of the tail coverage the more expensive the cost. It is important to keep in mind that the time in which to exercise or purchase these extending reporting provisions are short.
Usually in Pennsylvania, you have 60 days from the expiration date of your current policy or from the date you retire and or sell your practice. You cannot purchase the extended reporting provision after the time frame expires. Basically it is a one shot deal.
Lastly, most policies now contain a “retirement provision” where if you satisfy certain policy requirements, the tail coverage can be free of charge. Otherwise there is usually a charge associated with it. This should be discussed with your insurance guy before you retire.
Whether free of charge or not, tail coverage when you retire and or sell your practice is a vital step in that process. Do not walk away from your practice without first making sure you are covered for your past professional acts. Having tail coverage will help to ensure a happy retirement.
Have any questions about legal malpractice insurance? Contact INF today at 412-563-2106.
Although it can be quite a depressing subject to discuss, life insurance is something that everyone needs to consider. Life insurance is a necessary tool when it comes to financial planning.
Life insurance can be used for a variety of purposes, including paying for funeral expenses, paying off a mortgage, paying for a child’s college tuition, and providing a significant sum of money to your surviving spouse to help pay for everyday expenses for years to come.
There is no better time to consider it than now, especially since it is the start of a new year. We commonly make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, read more, improve our relationships, and a variety of other things.
Make reviewing your life insurance portfolio, if you have one, one of your New Year’s resolutions.
Is the amount sufficient, or do you need more? Have you bought a new house, sold a house, have a child, or become empty nesters in the last year? All of these factors will have an impact on your need for life insurance and the amount you need. If you don’t have a life insurance portfolio, you should ask yourself the same questions and make adjustments accordingly.
I remember not that long ago at Christmas time, we used to go shopping at the mall and we were always worried about someone breaking into our cars and stealing the gifts we just purchased. We had to make sure that when we went back out to the car to put the gifts away so we could continue shopping, that we put the packages in the trunk or worse yet put them in the back seat and cover them up with a blanket or something else.
Although I still think you have to be careful at the mall, most of us shop online and we have different types of worries, online and cyber threats. Be careful when you’re shopping online, make sure you’re on a secure site when checking out, to who and when you provide your confidential information and be wary of bounceback emails advising you that your credit card was rejected or not recognized and you need to re-enter it.
I know you have heard it a million times, BUT be careful with your confidential information. The hustle and bustle is still a big part of the holidays, it is both online and at the shopping malls….be alert, don’t let someone steal your purchases from your car or your computer!
Throughout the month, we will be posting videos to answer some common life insurance questions.
This week, we are discussing the right time to look into Life Insurance
If you don’t have Life Insurance, the correct answer is right now.
You are never going to be as young as you are today, and in many cases, never as healthy as you are today. This will help obtain your optimal price. Also, certain life events are appropriate for taking the time to review your current coverage and or consider adding more coverage.
These events include:
Birth or adoption of a child
Purchase of a new home
Start of a business
Change in income
If you have any questions about life insurance, or any other type of insurance, call us at 412-563-2106.
For those of you who don’t know, September is Life insurance Awareness Month.
Throughout the month, we will be answering some common life insurance questions.
This week, we are focusing on the purpose of life insurance.
Life insurance can serve many different purposes. Here are two of the most common:
1. Final expenses
At one time or another, we will all pass away. Regardless of what our wishes are post life, there will be some costs. Many of us will have a formal funeral with viewing services preceding it. Others will choose to be cremated. Purchasing life insurance coverage to cover these costs eliminates the financial burden on those costs from your loved ones.
2. Family protection
Many of us have children, spouses, or others who rely on our income to survive. Without you and your income, these people may suffer significant financial hardship. Life Insurance is a tool you can utilize to ensure that your loved ones have the financial resources to carry on.
If you have any questions about life insurance, or any other type of insurance, call 412-563-2106 or click the button below to get in touch today.
For those of you who don’t know, September is life insurance Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we will be answering some common life insurance questions.
Question number one: Is it difficult to obtain a life insurance quote?
This question has a simple answer: not at all. The initial process of quoting life insurance is quite simple.
A handful of questions giving a general idea of your overall health and the type of coverage you’re looking for will get the process started. Here’s a list of the general information you will need to obtain a quote:
Your date of birth
Your height and weight
Whether or not you use tobacco products
Any medications that you may be taking, or any health problems that you may have
From there, your life insurance agent shouldn’t be able to provide you with quotes for the amount of insurance coverage that you wish to see pricing for.
If you have any questions about life insurance, or any other type of insurance, contact us at 412-563-2106.