A Valuable Asset for Lawyers
Professional liability insurance is a major component of any attorney’s long-term business strategy. Like other types of insurance, lawyers professional liability insurance manages risk by protecting you from potential cases that could harm your practice. No one is perfect of course, and there are costs associated with defending even unfounded lawsuits or disciplinary complaints.
A professional liability insurance policy can protect you from losing assets, paying high legal fees, and potential business failure. Litigation costs in malpractice cases are often greater than the cost of legal malpractice insurance. The relatively low cost of professional liability insurance provides valuable protection, as well as, peace of mind. No practicing lawyer should ever be without legal malpractice insurance.
How is Professional Liability Cost Determined?
There are many factors that go into determining the cost of professional liability insurance, therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of insurance can vary widely from one attorney to another.
Areas of practice is a significant driver when determining professional liability insurance premiums. Certain practice areas generate a higher frequency or severity of loss, and insurance companies consider this when setting their premium rates.
Lawyers practicing in the following areas typically see higher premiums:
- FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
- MASS TORT / CLASS ACTION PLAINTIFF
- MED/MAL PLAINTIFF
- PRODUCT LIABILITY PLAINTIFF
- RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
To establish malpractice coverage rates, insurance companies evaluate their loss experience to determine practice areas that impact the frequency and severity of losses. In addition to practice areas, there are many other factors that are considered in determining premium. Other factors include:
Firms with claims on file should expect to pay more than a firm that has been claims free. Firms that have had no claims on file are viewed favorably by the insurance company and are more likely to receive discounts.
NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED:
The likelihood of a claim occurring goes up with each individual attorney added to a policy, therefore, the insurance premium typically increases as well.
Similar to the number of attorneys, as annual revenue goes up, so does insurance premium. With more business coming through the door, there are more opportunities for a claim.
LENGTH OF TIME THE FIRM/ATTORNEY HAS MAINTAINED COVERAGE:
Due to the industry wide practice of step ratings, premium is less when a firm initially obtains insurance, and increases gradually over the years. Once a firm is considered mature, the premium will level out to a consistent rate after about 5 to 7 years.
Where a practice is located can affect the cost of coverage. Locations that typically see higher claims activity tend to have higher premiums.
COVERAGE LIMITS AND DEDUCTIBLE:
The limits of liability and deductible chosen for a professional liability policy has a significant influence on premium. More insurance means a higher premium.
One of the most effective ways to save on legal professional liability insurance premium is by implementing the proper practice management protocols to mitigate the potential for a claim.
What Can I Do to Lower My Professional Liability Insurance Premium?
Implementing and following strong practice management procedures can lower your cost of insurance. In addition to evaluating claim activity by area of practice, companies also look at what caused the claim to be made. What did the attorney do or not do that resulted in the clients filing a lawsuit for malpractice? Similar to areas of practice influencing the frequency and severity of loss, how you manage your practice also impacts the likelihood of a claim arising.
As you fill out your insurance application you will see questions pertaining to engagement/disengagement letter usage, docket control, and conflict of interest checks. Having sound protocols in these areas will be viewed favorably by insurance companies and should result in a lower premium.
Another effective way to save on professional liability insurance is by choosing a carrier that specializes in firms like yours. Small law firms and solo practitioners do not have the same legal malpractice insurance needs as the larger firms. The risks and types of legal malpractice claims are much different, requiring alternative and specific coverage.
All too often, small firms and solo practitioners are insured by large insurance companies that also insure large firms. This means that the small firms are absorbing some of the large firm’s loss experience by paying premium rates based on claims that include claims by large firms. The most effective way for small law firms and solo attorneys to save money on professional liability coverage is by choosing an insurance carrier that specializes in serving the needs of smaller firms.
Why are Protexure’s Rates Competitive?
There is no catch. Legal malpractice insurance rates are typically determined by the loss experience of policyholders insured by an insurance company. Our program is designed to meet the needs of small law firms. Rates remain competitive because our underwriting philosophy excludes large firms which have higher risk and greater claims volatility. Those savings are passed along to you, the policy holder.
Our goal is to provide small law firms the professional liability insurance they need. The Protexure Lawyers program is designed with small firms in mind, coverage additions and changes are made regularly to serve the ever changing needs of the small law firm.
- Focused on serving the unique needs of small law firms with comprehensive lawyer insurance
- 24/7 internet access to apply for or renew coverage
- 24/7 internet access to apply for or renew coverage
- On call licensed professional liability specialists
Average Cost of Legal Malpractice Insurance
Average Cost By Policy Limit for Solo Attorneys
One of the primary factors in determining premium is the “amount” of insurance selected. As limits of liability increase, so does the premium. Below is the average premium for small law firms in low risk areas of practice broken down by policy limit.
Before selecting limits of liability, it is important to carefully evaluate how much coverage you and your firm needs. A professional liability specialist at Protexure can assist you in picking the appropriate limits for your firm.
What Small to Mid-size Law Firms Pay Per Year with Protexure
Protexure Lawyers is able to keep their premium prices low and affordable by specializing in small to mid sized law firms. Over 60% of Protexure insureds pay less than $3000 in premium each year.