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Attorney Malpractice Insurance PolicyAlways hate to have to tell someone no.  This is an actual e-mail, minus names, places and insurance carriers that came in recently. 

Question from Attorney:

I have been an attorney for almost 30 years.  I handle personal injury and workers' compensation cases for plaintiffs/petitioners (95% of my work).  I am currently an associate at my current Firm.  I started here around 6 years ago.  Prior to becoming a full time employee at my current Firm, I had my own solo practice for about 8 years.  I was insured during that time.  Once I came over to my current Firm, I kept all of my files from solo days.  Any new business I generated was signed up under my current Firm.  I am given a "referral fee" for all business I bring in to the Firm.

On occasion, I am hired by other firms to handle appellate work and other litigation assistance (averages out to one or less appeals per year).  I do that on my own time and keep 100% of the fees.  

Since I closed my last file under my own practice several years ago, I have continued to maintain my insurance.  I assumed this policy would cover me for any work I personally did at my current Firm.  Apparently, that is not the case.

I would like to purchase my own liability insurance that covers any work I perform whether as a Firm employee or on my own.  The work I have done as a solo practitioner and now as an employee is the same-PI and WC with some very rare side work.

I am fine with the policy stating it is excess to any insurance the Firm has, as long as that policy provides coverage.  However, if for any reason the Firm’s insurance is denied (I do not control any of that), I would like my policy to kick in as providing primary coverage.

Please let me know if I can obtain a policy that covers me as indicated and if so, the cost.  I have never had a claim filed against me.

Answer from L Squared:

Unfortunately we would not be able to write a policy that would cover you based on the criteria requested.  If you believe that your current Firm’s malpractice insurance limits are inadequate, need to get your firm to increase their policy limits.  Also I am not aware of any insurance carrier that would be willing to write a policy for what you are asking for.

Reasoning:

Attorney Malpractice policies are written ‘on behalf of the named insured firm’ for all of the attorneys and employees that work for the firm.  If a claim is brought against the firm one of the first requests to the firm will be for copies of all of the malpractice policies that cover the firm.  At the very least the insurer of this ‘individual’ excess policy would have to provide a defense and/or worst case share damages.  Given that it can be difficult to tell which attorneys at a firm might have ‘touched’ a file malpractice insurers are not willing to carve out individual insurance coverage.   Insurers do not want to be put in situation that they are rating for ‘one’ attorney but covering ‘many’.  Finally, there is no such thing as an ‘All Risk’ attorney malpractice insurance policy.

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