February 20, 2013

Completing the Lawyers Malpractice Application: Tips on Making a Great First Impression

It has often been said, “You only get once chance to make a first impression.” For lawyers applying or renewing their malpractice insurance, the first impression of you and your firm is represented in the professional liability application.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you make a great first impression and why it’s important to get it right:

Completing the application :

  • Demonstrate your attention to detail. A neat, legible and complete application speaks volumes about your firm.
  • Provide as much additional information as possible. Attach any relevant documentation such as letterhead and company narrative.
  • Consistency is key. Be aware that your letterhead, website or other public information will be identified and compared to your application.

On-time submission:

  • New applications should be submitted at least 45 days prior to the requested coverage date to allow for accurate underwriting.
  • Renewal applications should be returned as soon as possible. Underwriters typically work renewals 90 days out, so don’t make them wait until the last minute.

Act in good faith:

  • Keep it on the level. Remember, any misrepresentations can result in claim denials, gaps in coverage, non-renewals, policy rescission and mid-term cancellation.
  • Be proactive about prior problems. Take advantage of the opportunity to explain background information such as complaints and claims. Be sure to provide information regarding loss prevention measures you’ve taken since.
  • Ethical and non-practice related matters? Full disclosure is critical. Neglecting to report a disciplinary complaint or claim can result in the carrier challenging coverage in the event of a claim or an inadequately defended claim.

The application process has become extremely important when applying for or renewing professional malpractice insurance coverage. Why? Because a good insurer will want to form a partnership with you and your firm, so it’s critical to make the extra effort to begin the relationship on the right foot by fully and disclosing information about your firm. Keep in mind that the more information underwriting has, the better they’ll be able to understand and rate the risk to better protect you and your firm. At ProSight, our underwriters are specialists who take the time to individually underwrite your firm to better manage your unique risk exposure.