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Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance

The adage “You can be sued for anything these days” may be all too familiar for attorneys. However, many in-house attorneys fail to purchase Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance to protect themselves against potential lawsuits. Even though most claims are brought on by clients, employed lawyers are also subject to suits from third parties, such as employees, shareholders, government agencies, etc. So, what’s an organization to do? Well, it is imperative that a successful organization and its legal staff recognize their real legal risks and then purchase coverage to protect against those risks.

 

Risks Facing In-House Attorneys

  • Attorneys at private companies face exposures when performing contract negotiations, giving advice to Human Resources professionals, assisting with mergers, reviewing contractual language, etc.
  • Since electronic information is discoverable, it must be stored and preserved just like paper documents once were. In-house attorneys should work with IT professionals to ensure compliance with this rule.
  • Clients may sue over a contract that did not work in their favour which the attorney had a hand in writing.
  • Termed employees may sue the employer and name the attorney for negligence.
  • Attorneys are at risk when performing moonlighting services or pro-bono work.

 

Insurance Protection

To protect against these risks, it is wise to purchase Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance coverage. Typical policies may feature the following:

  • Protection from demands, suits or proceedings for damages or injunctive relief.
  • Policy may be written as either a “claims made” or “claims made and reported” and on a “duty to defend” or “non-duty to defend” basis.
  • Responds to licensing proceedings for in-house attorneys to practise law.
  • Provides defence against claims alleging wrongful acts.
  • Wrongful acts and claim definitions are expanded and broad.
  • Extends to pro-bono or moonlighting work done by in-house lawyers.
  • Includes full-time on-staff attorneys and contract and independent contract lawyers and support staff members.
  • Advance of defence costs, even if allegations are found to be groundless.
  • Coverage extends globally.
  • Coverage for non-client claims.
  • Coverage for regulatory claims.
  • Punitive damages coverage.
  • Covers claims from coworkers that arise out of the attorney’s work at the organization.
  • Covers costs for claims brought by the employer, board of directors and officers.

 

In-house counsel should make sure they are protecting themselves from risk while they work to protect their employees from risk. Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to learn all about Employed Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance.

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Professional Liability Insurance in a Down Economy

Professional liability insurance covers liability for damages arising from the rendering of or failure to render professional services. With claims increasing during this economic downturn, the need for professional liability insurance coverage is even greater. Protect yourself and your business from claims not covered by commercial general liability coverage.

Professional liability insurance, also referred to as professional indemnity insurance, protects professional personnel against negligence claims made by their patients or clients. Professionals who commonly turn to this type of liability insurance for coverage include architects, home inspectors, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers and accountants – among others. Specific professional liability insurance carries different names depending on the profession. For example, professional liability insurance in the medical profession may be called medical malpractice insurance, while real estate brokers fall under errors and omissions insurance coverage. Because claims become more frequent in a struggling economy, protect yourself with professional liability insurance.

Professional Liability Considerations

The need for professional liability coverage developed due to typical general liability insurance policies only responding to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or an advertising injury claim. Because professionals such as architects, lawyers, physicians, real estate brokers, technology consultants and others can cause claims without bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, or an advertising injury claim, additional coverage is needed to fill this gap.

Common claims made on these policies include negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing and inaccurate advice. For example, if a Web design platform fails to perform properly, it would not cause bodily injury, property damage or advertising injuries. Because of this, the general liability policy would not be triggered. But because the Web design platform not performing correctly could directly cause financial losses, and may be attributed to a misrepresentation of the platform’s capabilities, the professional liability coverage would be triggered.

What Exactly Does Your Business Need?

When buying professional liability coverage, there are considerations that will help you determine exactly what you need.

  • Is the insuring agreement broad enough to capture all of the current and future work of the policyholder? Determine whether the policy covers the scope of your organization’s professional tasks and services by reading the definition of the covered services in the policy. For example, in a medical professional’s professional liability coverage, the operative definition would be “medical services” or a comparable phrase. KRG Insurance Brokers can help you determine if all professional tasks would be covered under the operative definition or if additional clauses would need to be added.
  • What if there is a sale, merger or change in position at your organization? There are many changes going on during this down economy. Discuss what these possible changes in services mean for your coverage. Is there approval needed to continue coverage?
  • Are there any exclusions? Look at the list of exclusions that resist coverage. Review the list to make sure it does not preclude coverage for any professional services or tasks that you need covered.
  • Is an extended reporting period an option under the policy? These provisions offer extensions of time to report claims that would otherwise fall outside the policy period – as long as the act or omission resulting in the claim occurred during the policy period. Find out what extended reporting period options are available and discuss how much time the policyholder may need to report a claim.
  • Can the policy be customized or modified? Can extensions be added? Common additional coverage includes disciplinary proceedings or reduced retentions and may be of importance to your business.
  • Have there been any past tasks or activities at your business that could potentially result in a claim? Have there been past instances where a claim was filed? What was the result? Discussing the specifics of these with KRG Insurance Brokers can help determine what coverage you need now to prepare you for the future.

 

Other Ways to Protect Your Business, in Addition to Professional Liability Insurance:

  • Establish a high standard for product and service quality control at your organization.
  • Keep all company records up to date and accurate.
  • Train employees thoroughly and properly.
  • Ask KRG Insurance Brokers for safety and compliance information.

 

Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to learn how professional liability insurance can be used as part of your total risk management program.

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Professional Liability Insurance for Design-build Firms

Design-build is a project-delivery method that provides an owner with one point of contact for both the design and construction elements of a project. This process has gained popularity in recent years largely due to its simplicity, affordability and speed.

While the design-build method has many benefits, it can expose firms to risks they wouldn’t otherwise experience during the traditional design-bid-build method. As such, it’s essential that design build firms understand all of the risk associated with the design-build process.

Professional Liability Insurance Has You Covered

Unlike the more traditional design-bid-build project-delivery method, there isn’t a clear distinction between the firms performing the construction work and the architects and engineers offering their professional services. This means design builders are accountable for the accuracy of the plans, the execution of construction and the safety of the job site.

As such, design-builders can be held liable for workplace accidents, specification errors, material failures, construction errors and delays. Essentially, by taking on the design elements of a project, firms inherit more professional liability. These liabilities can result in severe financial losses.

When it comes to managing all of the new risks the design-build process brings, general liability policies are simply not enough. Under most commercial general liability policies, professional liability exposures are excluded from coverage.

In particular, claims related to the act of preparing blueprints, reports, surveys, field orders, change orders, specifications and other professional services could all be excluded from coverage. Professional liability policies are designed specifically to fill in gaps caused by general liability limitations.

For design-builders, the most effective way to protect against exposures is to secure unique insurance tailored to the sector. Specifically, professional liability policies provide coverage for design-build firms.

These policies provide coverage for claims stemming from an actual or alleged act when performing a professional service. Working in conjunction with other policies, professional liability insurance is a critical component to a design-builder’s risk management program. What’s more, working with a qualified insurance broker, these policies can be tailored to meet the unique needs of design-build firms.

More Information

Design-build construction is an increasingly popular approach with many benefits. However, using this method increases professional liability exposures and creates a variety of risk management challenges. When taking on design-build projects, firms have a lot to consider, including performance guarantees, licensing requirements and appropriate coverage. Learn about your firm’s identification options, review your exposures and bolster your risk management options. Contact KRG Insurance Brokers today to find out more about Professional Liability Insurance.

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Coverage in Action Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance

After a hectic work week, Jim Marshall was looking forward to a relaxing weekend with his wife and daughter. He was just a few blocks from home when his cell phone rang. He glanced down to see who was calling. That split-second distraction was all it took for him to miss the approaching stop sign.

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