Law firm has a client(s) with business in many states, but their insurance carrier is only licensed in one of those states. We have actually helped law firms having 3 different policies in 3 different states.
This is a particular problem that many Attorney Malpractice Mutual Insurers have. Some are only licensed in their domiciled state. Often times they require the law firm if they are going to accept clients in another state to get a 2nd policy for that state.
This problem is not just limited to the Mutual Insurers. Many Stock Attorney Malpractice Insurers are not licensed in all states and/or exclude coverage for a law firm’s clients in certain states.
In addition to the expense, multiple policies can lead to coverage issues. For clients that do work in multiple states a claim from one of these clients can trigger the ‘Other Insurance Clause’. The “Other Insurance Clause’ found in most Insurance Policies complicates coverage defense and settlement issues. The following is a typical ‘Other Insurance Clause’ from a Wesco Insurance Company Attorney Malpractice Policy:
“E. Other Insurance
If there is other insurance that applies to the claim, this insurance shall be excess over such other valid and collectible insurance whether such insurance is stated to be primary, contributory, excess, contingent or otherwise. This does not apply to insurance that is purchased by the Named Insured specifically to apply in excess of this Policy.”
Having 2 or 3 insurance policies with dissimilar ‘Other Insurance Clauses’; brings a lot of parties to the table. Each insurer’s policy language when it interacts with another insurer’s policy can complicate of insurers responses to the claim. Best course of action is to find a single Attorney Malpractice Insurer to cover the law firm’s legal malpractice needs as well as one insurance agency such as L Squared which is licensed in 47 states plus the District of Columbia to find the appropriate insurer.
Although a topic for another blog, this is also why law firms with inadequate limits from one insurer, need to purchase excess insurance coverage, not another primary policy.