Lawyers Professional Liability Policies are “claims made” policies. Meaning that the covered act claim must be reported (claim made) during the policy period or during the extension of the reporting period. Many Lawyers Professional Liability Policies provide for a “free” retirement or non-practicing extension of the reporting period (ERP) if the attorney has been with the carrier for the required number of years and meets other requirements the policy.
From the current Professional Solutions Lawyers Liability policy, this is typical language describing that right:
“4. Retirement from the Practice of Law
a. If an Insured retires, permanently and totally, from the private practice of law
during the current Policy Period and has been continuously insured by Us for at least three (3) consecutive years and provides written notice to Us of such retirement within sixty (60) days of the expiration of the current Policy Period, then the Insured will be entitled to an unlimited Extended Reporting Period at no additional charge.
b. It is understood and agreed that any Extended Reporting Period will not be construed to be a new Policy, and any Claim submitted during such period will otherwise be governed by this Policy.”
The ERP endorsement is attached to the last in force policy. It only extends the reporting period, but provides no other coverage beyond this.
The problem for the semi-retired attorney is that they will not qualify for this endorsement if they continue to practice law for even one client. And again as discussed previously, if a “retired” attorney starts to practice law again, the extension of the coverage is terminated.