While it is one of the more boring things to do, properly completing the Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance application is very important. While this process takes away from billable hours, if done incorrectly it can lead to having claims denied, the law firm being non-renewed, or if the error is material enough coverage rescinded.
It is perfectly permissible to have an “assistant” complete the application, but the partner that is signing the application needs to thoroughly review the application for accuracy. Many times the assistant completing the application just uses the answers from the prior year’s application to complete the new application. Problem arises if the prior year’s application is incorrect. The error that was made on a subsequent application continues to propagate itself year after year. Too often, the only time the error comes to light is when a claim is made with the malpractice insurance carrier.
If the information is deemed material, the law firm can learn the hard way that they have no coverage. The statement by the attorney that signed the application blaming the assistant for the error does not usually sway the claims department. It is the attorney’s responsibility that signs the application to make sure that the application is accurate and properly reflects the operation of the law firm.