Attorneys Malpractice Insurance
These are policies specifically written for, and targeted at, attorneys. The policies generally cover, as an "insured," the named firm, individual attorneys, secretaries, clerks, bookkeepers, anyone employed by the firm, and provides coverage only if that person is doing some act identifiable as a professional service related to servicing a client. What constitutes providing client-related services may be a gray area.
These policies, like the Commercial General Liability policy, are intended to provide a general source of coverage for the attorney. It may provide some premises liability coverage should, for example, a client trip on that expensive Oriental rug in the lobby. And, some policies will pay for the defense of criminal or administrative actions, but certainly not any fines or penalties.
With these policies, the insured can not only select the amount of coverage desired, but also whether he wants the defense costs to be deducted from, or included within, the indemnification limits [CEIL - "claim expenses inside limits], or not [CEOL - claim expenses outside limits], and the premium is so based.
Some policies allow the attorney insured to select counsel from a list of approved attorneys. In others, the attorney may actually be allowed to select his own counsel.
The insured may also be allowed the right to approve a settlement.
These policies are also ripe with traps for the insured. If the insured knows of a claim, or even a fact or circumstance which he believes may reasonably give rise to a claim, he must disclose. And, this disclosure is not limited to renewals or disclosure on applications. Generally, whenever such situations arise, the attorney must contact the insurer and advise. The consequence may be denial of a claim.
If you have any questions of what your policy provides, or whether you should report a matter, we can help. Please contact us, immediately. You have very little time to waste.