August 21, 2012

How We Work With Law Firms

I am often asked what types of law firms we won’t cover, and my usual response is that there is no law firm that we won’t consider placing in our program. We underwrite law firms on an individual basis, so we don’t reject firms based on their area of focus, size or location. In fact, I think that our open attitude to all lawyers is what makes ProSight Specialty Insurance a great choice for firms across the country. For many insurers it’s just not worth it to step outside of the comfort zone, but we love helping great law firms succeed and grow by providing the coverage they need.

For starters, we don’t have a generalist approach to how we view a law firm from an underwriting standpoint. In practical terms, that means that we don’t put law firms into classes based on their number of attorneys, areas of practice, location, or prior claims history. We underwrite each law firm on its merits alone. The bottom line is that we insure good firms, regardless of any other factors.

The trick, of course, is finding out how good a law firm really is, which requires more than a quick review of the submission and a glance at the firm’s web site. We realize that applications, supplemental applications, and information gleaned from the internet do not always paint an accurate picture of a firm. That’s why we utilize a “high-touch” approach to underwriting that includes having direct communication with the firm either through a conference calls or face-to face meetings.

If a firm has a characteristic that usually places it in the “automatic decline” bucket for other insurers – such as a large claim or frequency of claims from a particular period – we provide the firm’s managers with the opportunity to explain how they have changed their risk-management practices and overall business practices to avoid a recurrence of the circumstances that resulted in the claims activity. That’s because we believe that firms that may have had problems in the past can make meaningful changes that can help improve their risk profile.

Not surprisingly, we have found that law firms fully understand and appreciate our expansion of the underwriting process to include these extra steps. At the end of every call or meeting we thank the firms for their time, and they always go out of their way to thank us for listening to them. Which is really at the heat of how ProSight approaches every aspect of our business.