This video will give you the answer!
For more information on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, give us a call 310-373-6441.
This video will give you the answer!
For more information on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, give us a call 310-373-6441.
This is our introduction to several blogs that will focus on the pricing mechanisms for lawyers’ professional liability insurance; from the basics to some more subjective items underwriters take into consideration. Essentially, we are going to review the application as it impacts the final cost of your insurance with the hope that you will know the impact of your answers and what information you can provide to help underwriters offer their best pricing; they really do want to write your law firm’s insurance. We will also touch on a few questions that can qualify or disqualify your firm from some of the ‘preferred’ programs.
The first, and I believe the most important, consideration for law firms to consider when you complete your lawyers professional liability insurance applications is the attitude brought to the process; why are you doing this? The application is your opportunity to tell the story of your law firm; why should an underwriter want to insure you and why should they offer you the best pricing they have available? Many of the applications we see include the basic answers but no additional details; especially for mid to large size firms, firms with higher hazard areas of practice or claims, the subjective picture we paint can be as important as the objective answers in the application. Why are you different? Every principal or firm administrator I meet is very proud of their firm; yet that often does not come across in their application. This is the information we want to provide to underwriters.
We will include this ‘attitude’ consideration in each of the sections that follow. Some things to keep in mind are; you started your firm for a reason, let’s explain that reason. You hired your attorneys and non attorney staff for a reason, let’s explain that. You manage your firm and its’ structure the way you do for a reason, again let’s explain that. If you have claims let’s explain why. Yes, this takes some time but it pays dividends in the number of insurance offers you receive and the premiums and terms of insurance you will have to consider.
Beginning with the basics, APPLICANT INFORMATION; your firm’s name, is it correct in the application? Most of the lawyers’ professional liability insurance policies available state; ‘we shall pay on behalf of the insured’. Insured is typically defined as the Named Insured, which will be listed on the policy’s Declarations page. This seems obvious but it is not unusual to see the Named Insured listed incorrectly. This becomes more important as we look at the definition of insured which will typically insure principals, employed attorneys, attorneys ‘of counsel’ and independent contractors among others and will include the limitation ‘for legal services on behalf of the Named Insured’.
Also requested in APPLICANT INFORMATION, your contact information; address, phone number, contact name, email and often year established. Most importantly, this is the information the insurance company will use to issue legal notices they are required to mail directly including; notices of non renewal, coverage changes among others. However, they also impact your premium. Most insurance companies have some form of territory rating; metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco are often rated with a higher premium than outlying areas. Your year established is used as one factor along with your insurance history in the consideration of prior acts coverage. This date should be the establishment date of the earliest entity to which the current Named Insured is the majority successor in interest to ensure the policy will include the necessary prior acts coverage.
The next few blogs on pricing lawyers professional liability insurance will take us through the remaining application questions and several of the key supplemental applications. If you have any questions about any of the issues raised here please feel free to call me at any time. I would also appreciate any comments or feedback you would like to share.
(Courtesy of Swett & Crawford Professional Services Group)
Record Number of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Claims:
What Does it Mean for Insureds?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently reported that for fiscal year 2010, it received nearly 100,000 new private sector charges of employment discrimination. This is the most ever in the agency’s 45-year history and a 7.2% increase over the number of charges filed in 2009. For more information, click here.
The EEOC attributed the increase to easier filing procedures, improved customer service and expanded authority related to the ADA Amendment Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Some observers also note that the rise may also reflect a shift in mission under the Obama administration. Rather than viewing its role as being geared to counseling employers about how to make their workplaces discrimination – and harassment-free, some believe the current EEOC is more focused on educating workers and conducting more investigations. In addition, most experts agree that in a down economy, the opportunities for employment practices liability (EPL) claims increase – employers are more likely to have to make hard employment termination decisions, and with fewer alternatives available to them, employees are more likely to pursue legal remedies.
Employers facing difficult budget decisions may be tempted to reduce or eliminate their Employment Practices Liability insurance coverage. However, as the surge in EEOC claim filings shows, the risk to employers may now be greater than ever.
T’was the night before Christmas (12:01 A.M. PST 12/25/10) and all through the house (single family, stucco frame, 2 story, 2400sqft territory 61, PC 2)
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse (pride of ownership, excellent maintenance). The stockings (flame retardant) were hung by the chimney (contractor installed) with care in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there. (in spite of dead-bolt locks and central station alarm, certificate on file).
The children (ages 4,8,14 &16) were all nestled snug in their beds (check on 16 year old – possible undisclosed driver) while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. (check for substance abuse)
Mama in her kerchief (scheduled heirloom) and I in my cap had just settles down for a long inters nap. (check employment status)
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter (check condition of premises/housekeeping), I jumped out of bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, threw back the curtains and tore open the sash (intentional destructive act – no coverage)
What to my wondrous eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer. (note to check if sleigh rated business use and corporate owned or maybe mobile equipment) With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick (order medical on older driver, notify life underwriter for possible table rating)
More rapid than eagles (check mvr) his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted (possible aggressive driver) and called them by name: Now Dasher (turbo?) now Dancer (classic?) now Prancer (check lifestyle) now Vixen (definitely check lifestyle) on Comet (possible muscle deer) on Cupid (lifestyle again) on Donner (4X4) and Blitzen (drinking problem?)
To the top of the porch to the top of the wall (check for structural damage also look into height exposure and CGL PD deductible?), now dash away, dash away, dash away all. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas to. (check for possible retail delivery classification)
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. (check for shingle damage also classification of operations; roofing is a prohibited class) As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur (scheduled item?) from his head to his foot and his clothes were tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back (Check to be sure there is a safety manual and that there has been lifting training) and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry, his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. (order medical report) The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth (note-not eligible non-tobacco discount) and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. (check smoke alarms to be sure operational) He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf (overweight for height – additional table rating) and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread (home invasion, stranger enters past alarm and insured not worried? Possible moral risk) He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk (review work place ergonomic compliance) and laying his finger side of his nose and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. (Chimney sweeps is a prohibited class?)
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like a down of a thistle. (check GVW for proper classification – light/service/local seems unlikely) But I heard exclaim as he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night” (check hours of operation?, seasonal risk? and limits of liability?)
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and the countdown for Christmas has officially begun, although retailers have been counting down since the end of September. We are officially 24 days away from the big day and that means it’s time to get out and find yourself that perfect Christmas tree. For most people, decorating the Christmas tree is their favorite part of the holiday. Although fun and decorative, natural and artificial Christmas trees start an average of 250 structure fires each year according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires cause approximately 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage yearly.
With this being said, the National Safety Council offers some Christmas tree safety tips to make sure a mishap doesn’t spoil your holiday season.
Take these Christmas tree safety tips very seriously. Check out how fast this dry tree burns:
30 seconds might be too late!
(Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. I don’t assume responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of this information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances!)
From the Insurance Journal
There are an estimated 2,000 fires in residential buildings in the United States each Thanksgiving Day. That’s more than double the number on a typical day.
Like any fire, Thanksgiving Day fires can be deadly — five people die on average each Thanksgiving Day from fires– and they cause injuries to occupants and emergency responders.
What’s more, they cost an estimated $21 million in property losses. The typical loss is about $8,840— which is about half of non-Thanksgiving Day fire losses.
The statistics come from a report by the U.S. Fire Administration based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking.
Thanksgiving Day fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m. Smaller, confined fires account for 71 percent and larger, nonconfined fires account for 29 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.
According to USFA, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.
Electrical malfunctions (14 percent), carelessness or other unintentional actions (14 percent), and open flames (13 percent), are the leading causes of the larger, nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in homes.
Be sure to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!!!
The internet has changed the world over the past 15+ years. Almost daily, I am amazed about some cool new website or program that comes along which affects the way we do things in our lives. People and businesses alike are being transformed by technology and the internet. It’s an amazing progression, but as businesses continue utilizing new technology-based processes, they may not be aware of the emerging risks that could potentially threaten their bottom line. The Internet has yielded a whole new assortment of liability exposures which means anyone with a website now has additional legal liabilities to be concerned about. Creating a website is simple in comparison to the exposures that come along with having one. Companies on the web face liability exposures that are emerging, evolving, and complex.
Consider the following scenarios:
These are just a handful of examples of where your business could be exposed. Although you may have a general liability insurance policy to protect for company from bodily injury or property damage claims, traditional liability policies do not address internet exposures and the risks involved with internet business. That is why you must consider Cyber Liability Insurance.
Cyber liability insurance can be tailored to the needs of your business. Cyber liability insurance policies may include:
Businesses that get drawn into claims often have to deal with crisis management after the fact, so a cyber liability policy may also extend supplemental coverage for costs incurred in connection with a data privacy wrongful act to pay for a public relations firm, law firm or crisis management firm to maintain or restore confidence in an insured.
The bottom line is this: like it or not, the internet is here to stay. Some experts believe cyber liability insurance will become the norm for businesses, along with other common insurance types, such as property, general liability and workers compensation insurance. If your company is on the web, strongly consider making Cyber Liability insurance part of your insurance program.
Most vehicle burglary crimes occur because people leave car doors unlocked or leave valuables in plain sight. The most likely targets for theft are briefcases, purses, wallets, expensive sunglasses, watches, camera gear, MP3 players, PDAs, gym bags, sports equipment, auto parts, CDs, speakers, power tools, spare change, and mail.
Vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and carelessness often results in vehicles being broken into; however, residents can minimize their chances of being a victim by taking a few simple steps thanks to The Manhattan Beach Police Department:
These simple steps should be used whenever you park your car, whether you are just “running in for a minute” or parking for the evening.
In addition to protecting your own property from criminals, you can be a good neighbor by watching out for suspicious persons or activities in your area. No one knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there, so the Police Department depends on the assistance of concerned, responsible residents to report suspicious persons or activity. If you see something that looks suspicious, call 9-1-1. Suspicious activity may include:
Residents are encouraged to call 9-1-1 immediately about all suspicious activity. Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed if your suspicions are wrong; think instead about what could happen if your suspicions are right and you don’t call. It is the Police Department’s job to investigate suspicious matters, and any assistance in spotting suspicious persons or activities is appreciated.
We are already a few weeks into Fall, but here is Southern California, that doesn’t mean much. In fact, looking at the current weather, it’s 95 degrees in Torrance right now! To say we’ve seen some funky weather this year is an understatement. However, before Winter arrives, now would be the perfect time to make sure your house and heating system are geared up and ready for the cooler months ahead. Here is a brief checklist to guide you through some basic tasks before the Winter season:
AROUND YOUR PROPERTY
ROOF (you may want to hire a professional)
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue!
-The ISU-Olson Duncan Insurance Team
First off, what’s an endorsement you ask? As defined by the Insurance Information Institute, an endorsement is a written form attached to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage, terms, or conditions. When an insurance policy is endorsed, the premium paid for the policy can change. However, not by much considering the additional coverage provided.
The following four endorsements are not typically part of a regular property or general liability insurance policy, but they are a must if they apply to your operations.
To reiterate, it’s never more than a few hundred dollars annually to add any of these endorsements to your existing property or general liability insurance policies. In fact, it’s usually less than $100 in many cases for small businesses. With the amount of coverage provided by adding them, this is pocket change! Be sure to reviewyour policies today to see if you carry these endorsements on your current policies.