The Merits Of The Case For Legal Malpractice Insurance Cost
Legal malpractice, two words that no attorney wants to think about. However, the statistics say that all practicing attorneys will be sued at least once over the course of their careers. Certain factors will even increase the likelihood of being sued and have a profound effect on the financial particulars. The geographic area of your practice, your specialty, the size of the firm in which you work, the political climate of the day and your background will all have an impact on your legal malpractice insurance cost. Also known as liability insurance, it is coverage you cannot afford to be without. If and when your insurance is needed, you will quickly appreciate its worth.
Whether you are looking for first time insurance or simply renewing an existing policy, there are some facts you should consider to keep your legal malpractice insurance cost under control while still maintaining sufficient coverage. If your practice is related to high-risk areas such as banking, real estate or securities you will most certainly have higher premiums and may even be charged an extra premium for your specific coverage. Keep this in mind as you factor in costs for services to your clients. The higher the deductible, typically, the lower the premium, so consider this also and go with as high a deductible as you can afford.
Your geographic area is also relevant as is the litigation atmosphere of your region. Even such things as your local “risk pool”, that is the other attorneys in your city may cause you to be viewed as a greater risk than you actually are. You may be a small town country lawyer but if you are grouped with attorneys in a neighboring city it can adversely affect your risk factors. Discuss this with your insurance agent and be aware. Likewise, if you are a big city attorney in a large firm, your risk factor may reflect their records. The upside is that more attorneys can also mean a lower overall premium and if the firm has a stellar record, you could catch a major savings. Weigh all the merits of your legal malpractice insurance company before signing, such as how long they have been in business, their industry reputation, and track record for protecting their insured.
If your office has an effective docket control system or other malpractice prevention checks and balances in place, tell your agent. Discounts are usually available for any precautionary steps taken by a firm to minimize the risk of a lawsuit. Keeping your legal malpractice cost down is often simply a matter of asking your agent for a list of underwriting criteria and then taking the proper steps to comply as closely as possible. Most underwriters will take a look at all previously filed claims against you or the firm even though a lawsuit did not result. They will always weigh the anticipated cost of a claim against your particular firm versus the amount of the premium you are paying.
A rejection or refusal to renew by another insurance company is a red flag so do your research going in so that you are more likely to be accepted the first time you apply.
Obviously state bar proceedings or an attorney who tends to sue clients for fees are both factors that are viewed as detrimental to an underwriter. Adhering to a policy of strict integrity and diligence in all matters will save you substantially when the underwriter does her due diligence, which she certainly will. Be thorough when choosing a company to represent your interests and as in law, weigh the merits of obtaining the best insurance coverage you can afford against the potential cost of cutting corners. Practicing your craft with peace of mind and adequate protection will allow you to enjoy the life you have worked so hard to attain.