With all the discussions on the Business Owners Policy not covering COVID-19 for business interruptions, we have received a few questions concerning whether the attorney malpractice policies exclude or provide coverage for this peril.
While there are no specific exclusions for COVID-19 in the attorney malpractice policy, in most cases an attorney malpractice policy is not going to provide any coverage beyond legal malpractice.
The intent of an attorney malpractice policy is to cover legal service claims made against you. Whether or not a specific action brought against you is covered would depend on the specific circumstances subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. But even if COVID-19 caused you to not be able to provide the proper legal services, the allegations would still need to state that the attorney did not perform the legal services properly and this caused economic damage to your client.
Now what if your client alleges that while performing legal services you gave the client COVID-19? As part of the definition of damages, most attorney malpractice policies exclude bodily injury:
“Damages do not include:
compensation for bodily injury to, sickness, disease, death of any person, emotional distress or other emotional judgments or awards;”
The intent of most attorney malpractice policies was never to cover bodily injury. If you are concerned on how to respond to COVID-19, Travelers Insurance Company has provided a quick reference PDF.
So does an attorney malpractice policy exclude coverage for COVID-19? It depends.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080