How LAWPRO benefits members of the profession
LAWPRO continues to bring to life the mandate the Law Society gave it in 1994. LAWPRO operates differently from other regulated insurance companies, and today, LAWPRO offers many advantages to the bar. It is illuminating to consider what working in Ontario as a legal professional without LAWPRO coverage would be like, especially for sole and small firms. Below are some examples:
- Guaranteed availability of affordable insurance to all lawyer licensees.
- Consistent coverage, terms, and conditions for all lawyer licensees.
- Premiums would vary widely by firm size and area of practice, and for individuals with a history of reported claims
- carriers could simply refuse to insure individual lawyers they felt were too great a claims risk, making it impossible for some lawyers to maintain their practice status
- insurance carriers become the gatekeepers to the profession
- Coverage terms and conditions would vary widely
- Lawyers would have to pay insurance broker fees, adding 15% or more to the cost of insurance.
- Proactive assistance to help prevent claims from crystallizing and repairs on potential claims that may not trigger a deductible or premium increase
- Proactive claims prevention efforts and practical resources to help reduce the risk of an error leading to a claim (practicePRO)
- Commercial providers may only provide claims prevention resources to the lawyers and firms they insure – if at all
- A coordinated and principled approach to handling claims that:
- shapes legal standards of care by making reasonable settlements where a lawyer truly made a mistake; and
- defends lawyers where no clear error was made, or damages suffered
- The public would be at risk as it would be more difficult to know if a lawyer’s coverage had been cancelled
- There would be the potential for gaps in coverage as a new policy would be required if a lawyer changed firms, and a lawyer would likely have to obtain a separate policy to cover claims from work done at a previous firm
- Automatic and free life-time Run-off coverage of $250,000
- More than 38,000 individuals who have left private practice benefit from this coverage
- A premium would likely be charged for Run-off coverage,
- there would likely be separate premiums if the lawyer was at different firms
- A built-to-purpose Excess insurance program with a competitive premium for solo and small firm lawyers
- it provides up to $9 million in excess to the LAWPRO $1 million limit
- there are 3,793 lawyers at 1,587 firms on the LAWPRO excess program
- Coverage for lawyers doing pro bono work in a wide variety of circumstances
- An insurance provider that is financially stable and can therefore be relied upon to pay claims
- Less coverage and support for lawyers wishing to do pro bono work.
- The prospect that commercial insurers could withdraw from the market leaving lawyers with fewer or no options for primary or excess professional liability insurance.
Premiums reflect risk
To meet its mandate to have the premiums reflects risk (i.e., those with greater risk pay a higher premium), several discounts are available to insureds. A total of 10,451 lawyers or 35% of all insureds benefit from significant premium discounts such as the New Lawyer Discount, the Restricted area of Law Discount and the Part-time Practice Discount. In addition, roughly 25% of LAWPRO’s insureds take advantage of the LAWPRO Risk Management Credit, thereby further reducing their premiums by $50 or $100 on an annual basis.
Take the time to learn more about the benefits LAWPRO offers by reviewing the policy and FAQs about the coverage it provides. And remember to take steps to reduce your exposure to a claim. practicePRO.ca has loads of helpful tools and resources to help you accomplish this.