Along with attorneys not understanding claims-made insurance coverage and the need to protect past acts, more than one attorney has ‘top sheeted’ their policy determining they have 60 days past expiration to renew or get new coverage because of the 60 day ‘Automatic’ Extended Reporting Period (ERP). Nothing could be further from the truth. This mistake will bit you.
The attorney malpractice insurance policy ‘Automatic’ 60 Day ERP provision does not extend coverage and does not provide a ‘grace’ period for renewing coverage. If your policy has this provision the only thing this ERP does is extend the reporting period in cases where no other coverage is purchased. If other coverage has been purchased then this provision is null and void.
Even with this ERP in force, if you have not renewed your coverage by the policy expiration date, there is no coverage for current acts past the policy expiration date. The extension does not allow extra time to find other coverage and maintain your prior acts coverage. If coverage lapses, there will be a gap in coverage. You likely will lose your past acts coverage.
From the Professional Solutions Attorney Malpractice Insurance Policy, the following is typical language for this policy provision:
“1. We will provide to the Named Insured an automatic, non-cancelable Extended Reporting Period starting at the termination of the current Policy Period if the Named Insured has not obtained another Policy of lawyers professional liability insurance within sixty (60) days of the termination of this Policy. This Automatic Extended Reporting Period will terminate upon the earlier to occur of the Named Insured obtaining another Policy of lawyers professional liability insurance or the expiration of such sixty (60) day period.”
Don’t mistake this provision with giving you extra time to renew coverage.