More than a few attorneys forget to take advantage of Disciplinary Coverage until it is too late. Attorney Malpractice Insurance policies that offer this coverage can be ‘Duty to Defend’ or ‘Reimbursement’. Even though the CNA Insurance policy’s malpractice coverage is ‘Duty to Defend’, the disciplinary coverage is ‘Reimbursement’. Policy wording for disciplinary coverage and reporting differs by carrier. The disciplinary reimbursement is not subject to the policy deductible.
2. Disciplinary Proceedings
The Company will reimburse the Named Insured up to $50,000 for each Insured and all Insureds in the aggregate, for attorney fees and other reasonable costs, expenses or fees (the “Disciplinary Fees”) paid to third parties (other than an Insured) resulting from any one Disciplinary Proceeding incurred as the result of a notice of such Disciplinary Proceeding both first received by the Insured and reported in writing to the Company either during the policy period or within 60 days after termination of the policy period, arising out of an act or omission in the rendering of legal services by such Insured. Except as set forth below, the amount payable hereunder shall not exceed $100,000 despite the number of such proceedings.
In the event of a determination of No Liability of the Insured against whom the Disciplinary Proceeding has been brought, the Company shall reimburse such Insured for Disciplinary Fees, including those in excess of the $50,000 cap set forth above, up to $100,000. In no event shall the amount payable hereunder exceed $100,000 despite the number of Insureds hereunder or the number of such proceedings.
“Disciplinary Proceeding” means any pending matter, including an initial inquiry, before a state or federal licensing board or a peer review committee to investigate charges alleging a violation of any rule of professional conduct in the performance of legal services.
Not taking advantage of this policy coverage does not make sense. Firms have a fear that reporting disciplinary complaints can impact their attorney malpractice insurance premiums. While too many disciplinary reported complaints that do not result in an issue can cause problems. Not reporting issues that may lead to a proceeding may impact your malpractice insurance should the same issue turn into a malpractice claim at a later date. The other issue is that once a year you may need to attest on the renewal application about disciplinary issues.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080