How the Attorney Benefits from Using a Specialized Professional Liability Insurance Broker

When a prospective client has a divorce or custody issue they turn to a family law attorney for guidance. The family law attorney has expertise in the field and knows the law in this area. The same principal should apply when purchasing professional liability insurance. You should seek out a professional that understands the intricacies of a claims-made insurance policy.
No two professional liability polices are created equal. They have subtle nuances and fine print that can make the difference if you ever have an incident or claim. Endorsements and exclusions can apply differently to every policy. You want a broker who studies these polices, sells them on a regular basis and has a familiarity with their distinctions. Their value should extend well beyond the sale of the policy. They should help educate you and your staff and provide the very best skilled service possible.

Think beyond just purchasing the policy:

  • What happens if there is an actual claim?
  • Who will you turn to?
  • What will they know about the policies reporting procedures?
  • What about raising the policy limits or adding an attorney to the policy?
  • How about complex issues, such as, purchasing an extended reporting period (tail) policy in case the firm dissolves or splits?

Professional liability brokers can help answer these questions and many more. They can help answer and assist in filling out complex applications that can make the difference in the underwriter’s evaluation of the risk and the eventual determination of the premium.

The specialized broker has relationships with specialty insurance carriers who only underwrite lawyers’ professional liability policies and the broker can in-turn advocate on the firm’s behalf. Over time, they develop these relationships with specific underwriters and they can discuss your application and submission on a one-on-one basis. If your firm has a complex claims history, this advocacy can be a determining factor in whether an admitted or non-admitted carrier will accept your application. This ultimately can be the difference in thousands of dollars and what is actually covered in your firm’s policy.

Hirsch Insurance Brokerage has dedicated itself to professional liability insurance for lawyers. We’ve spent the last decade listening and getting to know our lawyers and law firms, while continuing to educate ourselves. We have built strong underwriting relationships and pride ourselves in providing a hands-on approach. We understand what’s at stake. Your professional reputation and business needs protection. Why not treat your firm to the guidance and counseling it needs when purchasing professional liability insurance? We believe in relationships, reliability and results.

Seven states now require lawyers to disclose directly to clients that they do not carry professional liability coverage.

In February 2014, the Supreme Court appointed an ad hoc committee to address the questions of whether attorneys should disclose to clients and report on the annual registration statement whether they carry professional liability insurance; whether such a client disclosure requirement would unfairly burden small firms and solo practitioners; whether such a disclosure requirement is even necessary if there is no mandate to maintain professional liability insurance; and whether mandatory insurance itself would unfairly burden small firms and solo practitioners.

After extensive review and discussions of material contained in its 170-page report, the committee concluded that professional liability insurance should not be mandatory for New Jersey attorneys because it would be unworkable in the marketplace and unfairly punitive to small firms, solo practitioners and attorneys engaged in the part-time practice of law. Except for Oregon, other jurisdictions studying the question have determined mandatory malpractice coverage is neither practical nor necessary for attorneys to serve their clients competently. This conclusion has been echoed by the American Bar Association after study of the subject.

The ad hoc committee also concluded that a mandatory insurance requirement might well place the decision as to who is able to practice law in the hands of private insurance carriers, few of which write policies in this state, and those who do have strict underwriting criteria and detailed application processes. Unlike Oregon, which has guaranteed coverage, New Jersey attorneys might be unable to obtain liability coverage for any number of reasons, many of which are unrelated to attorney claims history, competence and integrity, or practice in what are believed to be high-risk areas of the law.

In 2003 the ABA charged one of its standing committees to consider if attorneys should be required to disclose whether they carry professional liability insurance coverage and, if so, the form of that disclosure. The ABA committee recommended a model court rule requiring lawyers to inform the highest court in their jurisdiction, or a designated entity, whether they have coverage. The thought was that consumers of legal services would then have access to this information and decide whether to hire a lawyer who does not maintain coverage. The ABA, however, rejected the recommendation that lawyers be required to disclose directly to clients whether they are covered by liability insurance. A minority of the committee contended that such a proposed registration rule does not truly help the public make fully informed decisions because it depends on prospective clients seeking out the information.

The New Jersey State Bar Association has filed comments to the ad hoc committee report opposing both mandatory coverage and disclosure.

Seven states now require lawyers to disclose directly to clients that they do not carry professional liability coverage, although 17 states require that lawyers make known to authorities the existence of liability insurance on some form of an annual registration statement.

On the premise that liability insurance coverage is a material fact that a prospective client has the right to know at the time of representation, without searching registration filings, the ad hoc committee recommended that the court require attorneys to provide liability insurance information, including the limits of coverage, on annual registration forms and that the disclosure be communicated to clients because of the need for transparency in attorney-client dealings, even though a professional liability policy does not, of itself, speak to an attorney’s ability, experience or competence.

In reviewing the comprehensive, well-documented and fully developed arguments for and against a mandatory disclosure system set forth in the report, we believe that the committee in its client disclosure recommendation has reached the right result in solving this difficult problem of weighing client interest with the interest of attorneys in terms of fairness and practicality.

We would, however, offer one caveat to the committee’s recommendation. The issue of whether failure to abide by a registration or disclosure rule should create a standard for civil liability or the basis for a malpractice claim has been left by the committee for development “through common law in the ordinary course.” Because there is an absence of evidence linking competence and integrity of attorneys to professional liability insurance, the failure to appropriately make disclosure by registration or to directly advise the client might have a disproportionate adverse impact on jury decisions, rather than the jury concentrating on the only salient liability determinant: deviation from an accepted standard of legal practice. Therefore, we would recommend that a violation of the disclosure requirements be barred from use in civil trials where deviation from accepted legal standard is the key to the verdict.


What is Covered in a Lawyers’ Professional Liability Policy (LPL)?

Most lawyers’ professional liability policies cover the attorney for financial loss suffered by third parties arising from wrongful acts, errors and omissions in providing legal services. Claims such as negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, as well as inaccurate advice are typically covered in LPL policies. Remember to visit the legal services definition in your policy, as every policy has a different definition of what’s covered. This insurance also usually provides coverage for ancillary services regularly provided attorneys as a natural offshoot of their regular practice, such as:

  • Services as a notary public
  • Services as a title agent and or title agency
  • Acting as a trustee or executor of an estate in connection with representation of a client
  • Acting as an officer, director, or member of a legal professional association
  • Mediating legal disputes

Pay particularly close attention to what is NOT covered or excluded in a lawyers’ professional liability policy. Fraudulent, criminal, malicious and dishonest acts are excluded from the policy. In addition, bodily injury and property damage are not covered. Make sure you pay close attention to those exclusions in the policy.


Lawyers: Why Purchase Professional Liability Insurance?

The answer might seem obvious, but there are many reasons why a lawyer should purchase professional liability insurance. You spent so much time and money investing in the opportunity to become an attorney. You went to law school and then all the time you spent prepping for the Bar. You passed and became a practicing attorney. Why not protect that professional investment with peace of mind?  After all, that’s what professional liability insurance is: security and protection of your assets from the financial devastation of a claim, grievance or inquiry.

Malpractice insurance serves many purposes. Typically, malpractice policies are designed to provide coverage for claims that arise from “wrongful acts” committed in the rendering of legal services (sometimes called professional services) in your capacity as a lawyer. Generally, they provide both indemnification coverage and claims expense coverage, subject to specified deductibles and endorsements.

Let’s explore some of those reasons for coverage:

  • While you always do your best, maintain professionalism and do everything in your power to get the very best outcome for your client, you can never be certain of your client’s expectations or satisfaction level.  After all, human beings can be very difficult to please!
  • The reality is that NO attorney is perfect. Even if you practice excellent risk management techniques, you may make a minor mistake that results in a claim.
  • Receive objective advice should a malpractice claim arise;
  • Minimize the time and money you spend to defend yourself;
  • Have the satisfaction of knowing an expert attorney in handling professional liability claims is defending your claim;
  • Reduce the chance that a claim will result in a severe financial hardship;
  • Ensure a prompt and reasonable settlement or dismissal of a claim;
  • Save time and reduce the frustration of dealing with frivolous claims;
  • Provide protection for your professional reputation;
  • Ease the financial burden of possible settlements and judgments against you;
  • Protect your clients from significant financial losses;
  • Allow you to protect the interests of your clients as you deal with claims.

These are just some of the many reasons to purchase malpractice insurance. As you consider different providers and policies, make sure you understand the all the possible benefits of professional liability insurance, the various acts that lead clients to make claims and the restrictions and requirements that apply to your policy. Your professional reputation and financial security may depend on the legal protection of professional liability insurance.

At Hirsch Insurance, we are here to steer your through those troubled waters. Our expertise and dedication to lawyers’ professional liability insurance can help you find the coverage your firm needs to protect those assets.

Post- Hurricane Harvey: Helpful Tips to File a Property Insurance Claim

If your personal or professional assets were damaged during Hurricane Harvey, it’s likely that you have started the process of filing an insurance claim to cover the replacement of those items. Beyond calling the insurance company to get started, there are many things you need to know and strategies you can put in place to make sure your claim is processed in a timely manner.

1. Understand Your Policies and Coverage

The starting point should be learning what policies you have that may “cover” any damages to your property. Do you only have a dwelling-based policy? Do you have a separate policy for wind-damage, perhaps through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Program? Do you also have a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) backed policy through one of the carriers to protect against flooding? Report a claim to ever carrier under each policy that may apply.

Then find out how much coverage you might have and for what. You may have coverage for “living expense” to pay for lodging while your home is repaired. If your business was damaged, you may have coverage for lost revenue. Can you get a rental car? And for the purpose of repairs, you and your contractor must know how much is allotted to rebuild and repair.

If you have an agent, call them up. Or call the carrier itself to speak with a representative. Either way, read the policy! There is no substitute for educating yourself.

With this information, you can then do your best to maximize the total in your own pocket.

2. Report the Claim and Meet All Deadlines

Waste no time. Report the Claim ASAP to any carrier whose policy may cover the damage your property sustained. Many policies have strict timelines to report and for good reason. The carrier might wish to dispatch its adjuster to assess the damage while it is still fresh, or before secondary damage occurs (e.g. You do not need to wait to report a claim until you have all of the information. The claim can always be supplemented later with photos, reports, and an estimate for repair from your preferred contractors.

Then figure out all other deadlines that your policy might impose. Calendar them and never miss one. You do not want to give your carrier an excuse to reject your claim and blame you for it.

3. Inventory Damaged/Destroyed Contents

Your immediate impulse might be to throw out all of your ruined furniture onto the curb. But first, please inventory EVERY item that is destroyed. This is critical to later making your claim for reimbursement for each of these items. Pictures are good. A list with pictures is better.

You may then throw it all out. With adequate documentation of what was lost, a carrier or a future adjuster cannot demand or expect for a property-owner to save the damaged content. Similarly, a property owner need not have evidence of the original purchase.

4. Keep a Record of All Communications and Actions

Make sure that all your communications with the insurance company & contractors is IN WRITING. If you speak over the phone or  meet with either, send a polite email after restating the important decisions, topics covered, or plans made.

Just as importantly, keep a journal/diary of all events, dates, actions, costs, decisions, etc. that occur. Write down notes alongside each of these events that will serve as a log of what occurred. This will be critical for multiple reasons, not least of which to help you stay organized. Should there ever be litigation later on in the process, this will make your lawyer’s job that much easier.

5. Find Yourself a Contractor and Perhaps Your Own Adjuster

The adjuster can be your best friend, or biggest impediment to maximizing your claim. Some adjusters have all the experience in the industry, and will do you justice. Others have never held a hammer, but instead attended three days’ worth of a crash-course education. Yet, despite their zero experience in construction or even simple home maintenance, they are tasked with assessing the wide array of damage done to your property.

It is best to have your contractor there for the adjuster’s inspection. The hope is to assure that the adjuster sees the same damage as your contractor and concludes that your contractor’s list of recommended repairs (and price tag to do so) is accurate. If the adjuster reports to your carrier the same repairs recommended by your contractor, you’re doing great.
There may be more than one adjuster from the different carriers. And there may be a different one to assess your loss of contents.

6. Meeting the Adjuster

The adjuster can be your best friend, or biggest impediment to maximizing your claim. Some adjusters have all the experience in the industry, and will do you justice. Others have never held a hammer, but instead attended three days’ worth of a crash-course education. Yet, despite their zero experience in construction or even simple home maintenance, they are tasked with assessing the wide array of damage done to your property.

It is best to have your contractor there for the adjuster’s inspection. The hope is to assure that the adjuster sees the same damage as your contractor and concludes that your contractor’s list of recommended repairs (and price tag to do so) is accurate. If the adjuster reports to your carrier the same repairs recommended by your contractor, you’re doing great.

There may be more than one adjuster from the different carriers. And there may be a different one to assess your loss of contents.

7. After the Meeting

Remember Tip No. 4 above! After the adjuster leaves, send an email thanking him for his visit, and restating the key points/issues discussed and agreed upon (or the disagreements between you).

This contemporary, written log of what occurred, what was said and what was agreed upon will make it all the more difficult for either the adjuster to backtrack, or for the carrier to later disagree, deny, or under pay.

Then learn what will happen next and when and what is expected of you. Are you expected to take action? When will the carrier issue the first payment and for how much? Will the payment be made to you or your mortgage company? If the latter, then you will need to speak with your mortgagor.

8. Follow Up! Follow Up! Follow Up!

Do not expect this process to be on auto-pilot. And do not expect anyone besides you to care as much about your own property as you. Follow up with the adjusters, the contractors, the insurance representatives, etc. as needed. Do not drive them nuts. But remember the old adage: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

9. Do Not Jump to Hire an Attorney

Read this article following the 2015 Memorial Day Flood in which it is advised to not hire an attorney too soon into the claims process.

In it, I strongly advise policy-holders to avoid involving an attorney in their claim for as long as possible. A solid attorney with experience in “First-Party Insurance” litigation can best help once you are at the end of the line with your claim, yet still facing problems from your carrier (e.g. underpayment, non-payment, late payment, wrongful denial of coverage, etc.). But you must first live up to all your responsibilities.

Involving an attorney before the insurance company denies your claim, or underpays it or otherwise wrongs you ensures that a portion of the carrier’s eventual payment will go to the attorney, rather than towards your recovery.

But should your insurance carrier fail to live up to its commitments under the policy (which is a contract!), then you should immediately speak to an attorney. You should never accept anything less than 100 cents of every dollar you are owed (well… perhaps I’d advise you to accept 95ȼ or more of every dollar if that’s what you were offered).

This article is re-purposed with permission from The Goldberg Law Office, PLLC.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Filling Out a Lawyer’s Malpractice Insurance Application

Do’s, Dont’s and Nuances You May Not Be Aware of Whether you are a solo practitioner or managing partner at a law firm, you’ve made the wise decision to purchase lawyers’ professional liability (LPL) insurance, often referred to as malpractice insurance, to protect your firm from suits arising from your professional services as an attorney. […]


Recovery and Healing in Houston

The rain has subsided and the sun is back in the Houston sky, but there is so much work to be done in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The recovery and healing process has just started; we know it will take months to put this great city back together. Hirsch Insurance is committed to that process, because we know the strength and generosity of the citizens of Houston. We have already seen so many selfless acts by incredible Houstonians.

Hirsch Insurance Brokerage has teamed up with some great partners to collect donations on behalf of the citizens of Houston and do our part. Please consider donating to our youcaring page. While some of the immediate needs of our neighbors have been met, our support is needed long term.

Insurance policy

Five Things To Know About Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance

Your law firm has made the wise decision to purchase lawyers’ professional liability insurance, or as it’s commonly referred to LPL coverage.  Now it’s time to get acquainted with that coverage.

I often hear clients and prospective clients say, “Mr. Hirsch, why do I need to get acquainted with my policy? They’re all the same, or I’m never going to need it.”

After quietly cringing, I usually retort; you wouldn’t purchase a new vehicle without test driving and researching it, would you?

The short moral of the story is no two lawyers’ professional liability policies are created the same. They are built by a group of humans usually consisting of lawyers, underwriters, financial gurus and other experienced insurance professionals.

Every insurance carrier has its own expert create a policy form by putting in features they feel will help sell that policy, but also make the program profitable.

The important part is knowing some of the important features in the policy so that you can use them when it’s absolutely necessary.

Let’s take a look at my top five features of the typical Lawyers’ Professional Malpractice Insurance policy.

1.  Pre-Claims Assistance:

I’ve had numerous clients over the years email me and ask me for advice about a situation, incident or potential claim that has arisen with a lawyer in the firm and whether they should report that as a claim?  Here’s my advice to the firm.

First, I’m always going to make sure you refer to your actual policy about what triggers your policy’s claims made coverage. It’s important that you have read the definitions and familiarized yourself with what’s in your policy.  You can usually find the Pre-Claims Assistance under the insuring agreement, coverage or supplemental coverage portion of the policy.

The second bit of advice, and something that’s often over looked in professional liability policies, is that almost every reputable carrier selling LPL insurance now offers free risk management hotlines, where the insured law firm can call a 1-800 number and speak with a insurance defense lawyer about your firm’s situation or incident before the actual claims reporting process.

Generally, the insurance carrier hires an outside law firm or will have in-house staff counsel available. These on-call attorneys will give free legal advice about your firm’s situation or potential incident. These defense lawyers are experienced in lawyer’s professional liability attorneys, and more importantly, are familiar with your firm’s LPL policy. Some of these risk management hotlines offer continuing legal education hours for your firm’s lawyers, as well.

There’s a lot of incentive for an insurance carrier to provide this type of pre-claims assistance. The sooner the insurer learns of the client’s problem, the more likely the chance of a better resolution. Even where circumstances later become a claim, early involvement can help mitigate and prevent mistakes that might increase the cost of settling a claim and can create a chain of documentation that assists in the ultimate resolution.

To encourage the use of pre-claims assistance, most insurers do not include expenses related to pre-claims assistance within an insured’s loss history. This eliminates the risk of a premium surcharge for using the service.

Often the expenses the insurer incurs in providing legal or other assistance to resolve a problem get paid out of the policy limits and not subject to a deductible.  Please make sure you refer to your policies risk management hotline features to get a full understanding of the features available to your firm.

2.  Disciplinary Coverage:

In 2011, the State Bar of California reported 16,156 new complaints against California lawyers. Use this blog as your friendly reminder of the great risk a grievances present to your law firm. They can often be messy and the severity can sometimes resemble a legal malpractice claim in total defense costs.

While it seems fairly straight forward, different LPL policies have different coverage limits and different types of coverage for which they will provide defense costs. Make sure you understand how the limits of the disciplinary hearings coverage work in your policy.

Limits for disciplinary hearings coverage are most often a sub-limit, which does not affect or erode your actual limits of liability of your LPL Policy. However, there is most often a per proceeding limit within that sub-limit and an aggregate limit for total proceedings.

The amount of disciplinary coverage can range from $10,000 – $100,000 depending on the policy and generally not subject to a deductible.

Since it’s likely a reimbursement by the insurance carrier, the law firm sometimes can pick their defense counsel. The reimbursement usually provides for attorney’s fees and reasonable costs, expenses, or fees paid to third parties, resulting from any one disciplinary proceeding.

Pay special attention to the definition of a “disciplinary hearing” in your LPL policy. Definitions often include, but are not limited, to state or federal licensing boards, peer review committees, courts, bar associations, or a regulatory body. You can always find any definition you need clarification on in the definitions portion of the policy. This will lay out exactly who or what is covered.

The very definition might determine whether this coverage would apply to your specific proceeding. One caveat – make sure you follow your policy’s procedure to disclose the grievance proceeding in writing to the carrier. Remember your firm’s LPL policy is the controlling document, so make sure to follow its reporting procedures accordingly. Never deviate or you run the risk of voiding coverage altogether.

3.  Punitive & Exemplary Damages:

Punitive or exemplary damages seem to be a very hot button topic in the legal field. Punitive damages are intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit.

The purpose behind punitive damages is to punish the defendant for outrageous misconduct and to deter the defendant and others from similar misbehavior in the future. While some states refuse to award punitive damages in any action and some have limited those damages, they certainly exist.

There has been a significant increase in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) actions against lawyers in recent years. This has become a leading cause of claims in LPL the last few years. It’s important to determine whether your LPL policy covers awards arising under the FDCPA. Make sure to check your state’s laws on punitive damages, as well.

Most older LPL policies exclude punitive and exemplary damages in the definition of damages.  Some polices do not specifically exclude coverage for punitive and exemplary damages, however there is no direct language as to whether they are covered in the policy.

You should consult with your broker, if no such language exists in the policy. However, I’m seeing a trend of newer LPL polices including punitive and exemplary damages, where insurable by law, in the definition in order to differentiate that policy form from the others.

It’s an excellent selling point, and these policies do exist because I sell them. You should consult with an expert broker in LPL about finding those particular policies that do include punitive and exemplary damages.

Depending on the types of cases your firm handles this could be a huge difference in covering the type of liability the firm might be exposed to.

4.  Mediation Incentive Deductible Clause:

Mediation Incentive Deductible Clauses are a relatively new supplemental coverage or incentive that I’m seeing in LPL policy forms, and it’s certainly a great selling point, if the firm carries a larger deductible.

The mediation incentive clause usually states that if mediation of the claim takes place either without institution of an arbitration proceeding or service of suit, or within a set period of time (ie., 60, 90 or 180 days) of the institution of such proceedings or service of suit, and such claim is ultimately resolved for an amount acceptable to the insured and the insurer by the process of mediation, the insured’s deductible is reduced by (50%) or some other amount.

Generally you can find this clause in the settlement portion of the LPL policy or possibly in the supplemental coverage. The rationale behind offering this clause is that both indemnity and defense costs will be typically lower when claims are settled by mediation, which can save the carrier significant amounts of money in quickly dealing with a variety of LPL claims.

Make sure to carefully review the LPL policy forms under consideration for the broadest provisions that give you the best opportunity to take advantage of this incentive.

5.  Extending Reporting Options:

What are extended reporting periods (“ERP’s”) better known as tail coverage? I strongly recommend you get intimately familiar with this provision in your policy.

I often get the following question. “What does the law firm or individual lawyer do when the firm dissolves or the lawyer leaves the firm?”  This is where tail coverage comes into play and will ultimately help the firm decide on their next move.

Tail coverage extends the period of time during, which an insured lawyer can report a claim based upon an act or commission that occurred after their retroactive date, if any, and prior to the effective date of the tail coverage.  There will always be an extended reporting period option portion of the policy detailing the different options available to the firm.

Remember the firm can only purchase tail coverage through its current insurance carrier, it is not sold, as a stand-alone product.

If the firm dissolves, generally LPL polices offer a 30-60 day period to purchase tail coverage after that policy cancels or expires. Once that window expires you can no longer purchase the tail coverage and the firm can go unprotected from claims that arise later.

In addition, some LPL policies offer individual lawyers the option to purchase tail coverage upon leaving the firm, but I would suggest you review the LPL policy to see, if such a provision exist.

Most, if not all, LPL insurance carriers offer tail coverage for lawyers that retire or cease the private practice of law.  Some carriers offer these (retirement or cessation of practice) lifetime tails for free after you have had three years of continuous coverage with that carrier.

Tail coverage pricing is almost always listed in your LPL form under extended reporting coverage. The premium for the tail coverage will depend on the length of the extended reporting period purchased.

Generally, ERP’s are calculated as a multiple of the regular policy premium for that period, (e.g., 100 percent of the annual premium for a 1-year ERP; 175 percent of the annual premium for a 3-year period; or all the way to an unlimited option, although not every carrier has an unlimited ERP option.

When determining the right length of an ERP for your firm, here are my suggestions to consider.

  • The most critical factor is the area of law your firm practices. This will determine the types of statute of limitations that may arise in cases the firm handles, which can lead to longer periods for a claim to arise and become known.
  • How many claims the firm has had in the past might also service as a good measure of the likelihood of a future claim.
  • Also, consider the firm’s caseload. How many files the firm has handled in past? How many closed files are there in that last 2 or 3 years?  This might be a good opportunity for the firm to review its file closing procedures and other firm risk management practices in the wind down.

Finally, if you’re still looking for coverage, complete our lawyer coverage indication form and we will connect with you shortly to answer questions you have, as well as provide another quote to consider.

Glossary of Legal Malpractice Insurance terms

Before you buy your malpractice insurance policy, you must understand common malpractice insurance terms. While many of these terms may be familiar to you from other insurance policies, certain terms are unique to malpractice insurance.

Here’s FindLaw’s Glossary of Insurance Terms to help you out.

Glossary of Insurance Terms

  • Best’s Capital Adequacy Relativity (BCAR):
    A measure of an insurance company’s capital strength. Each company is assigned a letter grade derived from proprietary methods developed by Best’s, a rating and analysis company. This letter grade is a good indicator of an insurance company’s monetary strength.
  • Broker:
    Insurance advisor representing the insured when shopping for insurance. In some cases, a broker is affiliated with a particular insurance company. An independent broker represents two or more insurance companies. Brokers earn commissions on selling and servicing insurance policies.
  • Claims-Made Policy:
    A type of policy that covers claims that are made during the policy period. If a claim occurs after the policy period, it is not covered even if the event occurred during the policy period.
  • Coverage Period:
    The duration of coverage.
  • Declaration Page:
    The part of the insurance policy that discloses the basic terms of the policy.
  • Defense Costs:
    The cost of defending the claim.
  • Endorsement:
    An amendment or exception to the policy terms.
  • Eroding Limits:
    Type of coverage that includes the cost of defending a malpractice claim in the total policy limits. Sometimes referred to as self-consuming policy.
  • Experience:
    A record of losses.
  • Insured:
    The consumer of the policy. Also known as the policy holder.
  • Limits of Insurance:
    The total amount past which an insurance company is no longer required to pay.
  • Managing General Agent:
    An intermediary between the insurance company and the broker, representing the insurance company. In certain cases, a broker contacts an insurance company via a managing general agent. This practice is more common when the broker does not represent a specific company.
  • Occurrence Policy
    A type of policy that covers claims relating to an occurrence during the policy period. If the event occurs during the policy period, it is covered even if the claim is brought after the policy is no longer in effect.
  • Policy:
    The contract defining all the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage.
  • Policy Limits:
    The maximum coverage offered by the policy. It may be set in an aggregate basis or in a per-claim basis.
  • Policy Period:
    The time between the start or inception of the policy and the end or termination of the policy.
  • Premium:
    The cost of the insurance policy.
  • Prior Acts Coverage:
    Coverage for acts undertaken before the policy start date.
  • Settlement Approval:
    The right to approve settlements for any malpractice claims.
  • Tail Coverage:
    Coverage for acts undertaken after the policy end date. Sometimes referred to as extended reporting endorsement.
  • Underwriting:
    The process by which an insurance company evaluates your risk.

– See more at: http://practice.findlaw.com/practice-guide/a-glossary-of-legal-malpractice-insurance-terms.html#sthash.3rW5dU9V.dpuf