Have you actually read the policy and attached endorsements or just assume by the title the policy does what you think it does? This is an important question if you expect your malpractice insurer to provide coverage as you expect. Not properly insuring yourself will cause a claim denial. Attorney Malpractice Insurance policies are normally written to cover the Law Firm. By extension the policy covers all of the attorneys and employees that work for the firm past and present. So you can rest assured that everyone that works on behalf of the ‘named insured’ firm is covered, right?
Axis provides insurance coverage for part time attorneys and attaches the following part time attorney endorsement to give the firm part time rates. This reduces the cost of coverage but can be at the cost of the of coverage. Here is the endorsement:
“PART-TIME ATTORNEY ENDORSEMENT
Solely with respect to policies issued to a named insured who qualifies as a sole practitioner, it is agreed that the definition of you is deleted in its entirety and is replaced by the following:
a. the named insured;
b. any non-lawyer employee who was, is, or becomes an employee of the named insured, but only while acting within the scope of employment on behalf of the named insured at the time of such employment.
All other provisions of the Policy remain unchanged.”
Since you’re a part-time attorney this endorsement provides exactly want you were looking for providing you have never had any other attorney work at the firm in any capacity.
According to AXIS, this endorsement modifies the policy to only include work done by the named attorney. In return, AXIS provides a significant discount for this endorsement. But if the attorney is using any other attorneys as an ‘Independent Contractor’ or ‘Of Counsel’ there is no coverage under this policy for that work.
Better yet, if that policy’s prior acts had covered other employed attorneys, partners in the past, once this endorsement is attached to the policy, that prior acts coverage is now gone.
This is just one example how coverage can be dramatically different, even from the same insurer. All attorney malpractice policies have slightly different wording. And the endorsements do matter. What may be appropriate for one insured law firm is not necessarily appropriate for another law firm. Read your policy carefully and completely.
Contact Me Today
Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080