Remember the Abbott & Costello baseball routine. Who is on 1st, What is on 2nd and I Don’t Know is on 3rd ? Well this is a little like that. It can be a little maddening to figure out what is going on.
Once you have made sure that you know all of the entities that should be covered are covered, you understand the insuring agreement and the policy exclusions there is one more important step. You now know some of the What or in the case of the policy exclusions and What not; the Where; and the When; but you still need the Who and the rest of the What. So Who in your law firm is covered by the attorney malpractice insurance and for what acts. And as in baseball you cannot tell Who is playing without a program. And the program you need is the policy definition section. Key terms in the definition section are:
1. Who is Insured
2. Who is the Named Insured
3. What constituents a Law Firm or Organization
4. What is a Predecessor Firm and what is not
5. What are the legal services covered
6. What is a Claim
7. What are considered Claims Expenses
8. What are considered or not considered Damages
9. What is considered a Disciplinary Issue or what is not
Notice that this blog does not attempt to define these terms for you. Many people have their own meaning for these terms, but if they are defined in the policy, it does not matter what you think they are. What matters is how these terms are defined and used in this policy. Remember, there is no standard attorney malpractice policy. Even though the terms used in one policy might be the same as what is used in another policy, the definitions of what they really mean can be very different between policies.
Harmless terms for one law firm may be cause coverage to be excluded for another firm.
So if you don’t know Who is covered, check the What in the definition section.