Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is a lawyer’s safety net against mistakes and malpractice claims. It is important to have sufficient coverage over the course of your career (and beyond) because everybody makes mistakes. Ensuring that you have adequate coverage begins with carefully completing the insurance application.
Handle with Care
Insurance applications may seem like a mere formality, especially when you’re renewing, but they need to be handled with effort and care because failure to do so can have major consequences down the line.
When completing the application, answer every question as accurately and thoroughly as possible; anything less can render portions of the policy void. Misrepresentations—even unintentional ones—can impact your entire firm, including innocent partners who were uninvolved and unaware of any omissions.
Taking the time to address some of the most common missteps is a great way to avoid problems in the future. Some of the common pitfalls include
- Failing to include work done on the side, such as mediator/arbitrator services, contract work, and pro bono work
- Failing to report any potential claims, such as a former client who has emailed you to complain that you messed up a case but hasn’t taken legal action. It’s important to include this kind of situation in your application to ensure it’s not excluded from coverage.
- Neglecting to include all of the lawyers in the firm with their positions and a complete list of their areas of practice. This list should be kept up to date.
People come and go in every industry.
When it comes to legal E&O insurance, it’s imperative that you keep your insurer up to date on staff changes as well as any changes other in your practice that could impact your policy. This includes new areas of practice and newly discovered claim risks.
It’s safer to err on the side of over-reporting than excluding something that should have been reported.
Managing a Mistake
Naturally, mistakes happen. If they didn’t, there would be no need for E&O insurance in the first place.
If you are concerned that you might have made an error on your application, check with your insurance carrier about how best to handle the situation. It’s likely that they have a system for asking questions anonymously so your policy isn’t affected. Using such a system may provide you with solutions to correct your mistake and avoid costly problems.
If you have questions about your E&O insurance and want to know whether you’ve covered all of your bases, contact the experts at ProDefender to have your current policy reviewed.