1. What is excess coverage?|
This refers to excess professional liability insurance policy coverage, which is available to Ontario lawyers and law firms in addition to the $1 million per claim / $2 million aggregate limit protection afforded under the Law Society program. Excess insurance affords one or more layers of additional limit protection to better protect against a single large claim or the possibility of multiple claims being made while the excess policy is in force.
Unlike under the Law Society program, where coverage is afforded on an individual lawyer basis, excess insurance is generally sold on a firm-wide basis. The general effect of this is that firm lawyers share the same excess limit (i.e., the excess limit may be eroded by the claims of other firm lawyers) and firm lawyers may find no coverage for their past practice with other firms.
2. Is excess coverage a practice requirement?
No – excess is an optional coverage that lawyers can purchase as a “layer” of additional protection beyond the program coverage required of lawyers by the Law Society of Ontario.
3. Is excess coverage ever required for reasons other than practice eligibility?
Certain clients stipulate, as a condition of hiring a firm to represent them, that the firm show proof of professional liability insurance up to a stated limit (often $5 or $10 million). Firms may want to consider such client requirements when deciding what excess limits to apply for. To attract members to a firm, minimum insurance requirements that are to be maintained may also be included in partnership or employment agreements. The practice coverage limit under the Law Society program is $1 million per claim / $2 million in the aggregate (i.e., for all claims-made while the program policy is in force).
4. Is coverage restricted to lawyers in particular practice areas?
No – excess coverage is generally available and can benefit lawyers in all areas of practice, including areas where lawyers don’t represent clients with stated limit requirements. Even for practices largely involving non-corporate clients (e.g., matrimonial and family law, real estate law, wills and estates law), increasingly real estate and personal property values can mean higher potential losses from a single mistake.
5. How do I know if I need excess coverage?
Want to find out if you need excess coverage? Try our convenient online “stress test” to determine your potential for a high-value claim.
6. Why might my need for coverage increase over time?
As a practice or firm grows, the potential exposure to claims can also be expected to grow. More closed files means there’s a greater possibility that a past error will come to light and result in a claim. Taking on more and larger files, becoming involved in other practice areas, and adding new lawyers and firm staff, all signal the potential for greater risk. Importantly as well, as a lawyer’s client base ages along with the lawyer, clients’ net worth - and the financial risk of working with those clients - can increase substantially.
7. How do I find out if I’m eligible for LAWPRO Excess coverage?
Simply contact LAWPRO’s Underwriting & Customer Service Department at [email protected] or call 416-598-5899 or 1-800-410-1013 and speak to any of our Program Coordinators to receive a no-obligation estimate. The estimate provided will be based on existing information in our database such as firm size, practice circumstance, areas of practice, claims experience and other underwriting criteria.
8. What excess limits does LAWPRO offer and for what premiums?
The following excess limits are above the $1 million per claim / $2 million aggregate limit protection afforded under the Law Society program (which is insured by LAWPRO):
- $1 million per claim/$1 million in the aggregate.
- $2 million per claim/$2 million in the aggregate.
- $3 million per claim/$3 million in the aggregate.
- $4 million per claim/$4 million in the aggregate.
- $9 million per claim/$9 million in the aggregate.
Premiums under the LAWPRO Excess Insurance program are underwritten and rated on an individual firm basis, based on a number of criteria including: the nature and size of the firm; individual lawyers’ areas of practice, practice status and loss exposure of firm members. For an indication of premiums for your firm, contact the LAWPRO Underwriting & Customer Service Department.
9. Where can I review the current LAWPRO Excess policy terms?
Review the current standard form LAWPRO Excess policy wording