Occasionally we are asked to add an “Additional Insured” to a Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance Policy as the client is insisting. In the world of commercial insurance this is a normal practice. Most requests to add an “Additional Insured” to a General Liability, Commercial Property, Workers Compensation or Business Owners Policy are approved by the insurance carrier as long as there is a good insurance/business purpose for the request. For instance, a bank holds a lien on some business personal property owned by the business or the 3rd party wanting to be named as an “additional insured” is doing business with the entity and wants to make sure that any covered claim made against the entity or the 3rd party for the business that they are doing together is covered for covered losses potentially also against the 3rd party.
The only exception usually is a Title Company that is owned by the attorneys in the law practice, where the Attorney Malpractice Carrier has a specific endorsement just for the Title Company.
So if having an “Additional Insured” is a common in the commercial insurance world why won’t the Attorney Malpractice Insurance Carrier honor such a request?
1. The Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance is written for the attorneys and employees that work for the law firm. The only work that is covered is the work done by the attorneys and the employees on behalf on the named insured law firm where there is an attorney/client relationship and where the 3rd party might bring a claim against the law firm.
2. Even if the 3rd party is another law firm, Attorney Malpractice Insurance Carriers do not want to extend coverage to a law firm other than the one(s) named on the declarations page.
3. In case of a claim, as with many professional policies, the law firm generally has the right to say yeah or nay on settling a claim. Potentially an “additional Insured” could have that right to block a settlement.
4. Lastly and most importantly, if a client is added as an additional named insured or additional insured, policy exclusions may exclude coverage for this very client. Many lawyers professional liability policies have exclusions for one insured bringing a malpractice claim against another insured on the policy. So the very client that is insisting upon an additional insured endorsement for additional protection now has no coverage under the policy.
This blog is not intended to give specific insurance advice. It is only intended to give generally information covering insurance concepts.