Run-Off Insurance Coverage
Provided to lawyers who qualify and apply for exemption from paying the annual insurance premium for one of the following reasons:
- Not practising in Ontario
- Engaging in only occasional practice in Ontario
- Lawyer employed in government or education
- Lawyer employed as in-house corporate counsel
- Lawyer employed or volunteering in a legal aid clinic
- Mobility – resident and practising in reciprocating jurisdiction
- Estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, attorney for property
For detailed information on the criteria that apply to each exemption category, see Types of Practice.
Premium: None for base Run-Off Coverage (includes Innocent Partner Coverage)
To apply: To be eligible for exemption (and qualify for no-charge Run-Off Coverage) complete the Exemption form.
Coverage details: $250,000 per claim and in the aggregate coverage applicable to claim expenses, indemnity payments and/or costs of repairs. If you feel this basic coverage may not be enough, read about Increased Run-Off Protection.
Run-Off Coverage provides limited protection, as follows:
- The coverage limit of $250,000 per claim and in the aggregate is a one-time limit and is not re-instated annually. You are covered to a maximum of $250,000 for all of the claims made against you while exempt, including the year you leave active private practice, past years in which you were exempt, and all future years while exempt (except for lawyers eligible for the mobility exemption).
- This $250,000 per claim/in the aggregate limit is applicable to claim expenses, costs of repairs, pre-judgment interest and indemnity payments for each claim made against you. All such amounts incurred to resolve a claim further reduce the funds available under the policy to respond to all other claims made against you.
- The coverage limit is subject to a $5,000 per claim DEDUCTIBLE, applicable to claim expenses, indemnity payments, and/or costs of repairs together.
- Run-Off Coverage applies only to claims that arise out of PROFESSIONAL SERVICES that you provided while you were in private practice or maintained the full ongoing practice coverage, except as otherwise noted below.
- Run-Off Coverage does not provide coverage for claims that arise out of professional services that you provide while exempt from paying the insurance premium. You are not covered for any professional services you currently provide. The only exceptions to this are with respect to pro bono services provided through an approved pro bono professional services program associated with Pro Bono Ontario, and where application is received and additional coverage specifically purchased for certain services yet to be provided as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property. For more information, see Increased Run-Off Coverage protection.
- You are provided with this Run-Off Coverage only for as long as the Law Society of Ontario maintains insurance coverage with LAWPRO
Innocent Partner Coverage
As part of the $250,000 Run-Off Coverage you receive free of charge, you are provided with run-off protection against innocent partner claims.
This means that if claims are made against you once you leave private practice, for the dishonest, malicious, criminal or fraudulent acts of a former partner or associate, your Run-Off Coverage provides you with sublimit coverage of up to $250,000 per claim and in the aggregate for repair costs, claim expenses and indemnity payments. This is subject, however, to any erosion in this limit as a result of all other claims reported by you under the Run-Off Coverage.
Pro bono services
Run-Off Coverage provided to lawyers who provide pro bono services through a pro bono professional services program approved by Pro Bono Ontario differs slightly. For details see our pro bono page.
Run-Off insurance coverage for lawyers’ estates
One of the issues an estate trustee should consider when dealing with a lawyer’s estate is the estate’s potential exposure to claims from the deceased lawyer’s past practice. Recognizing that it takes time to settle matters after the death of a lawyer in practice, LAWPRO provides a lawyer’s estate with the full Run-Off Coverage protection of $1 million per claim/$2 million in the aggregate for the first 90 days immediately following the death of a LAWYER carrying the standard insurance coverage at no charge.1
If at the time of death the lawyer was exempt from payment of insurance premium levies,2 the standard Run-Off or Increased Run-Off Coverage protection would continue in force.
Understanding that the estate may remain liable for claims arising out of the deceased LAWYER’S past practice for many years to come, the estate trustee should assess the potential liabilities of the estate for the deceased lawyer’s practice before any current coverage expires. Consideration should be given to applying for additional insurance protection beyond the standard Run-Off Coverage limit of $250,000 per claim and in the aggregate.
The reasons an estate should consider increasing the insurance coverage and the types of questions that should be asked in assessing insurance needs are not unlike those facing a retiring lawyer. Our Insurance matters: Retired lawyers, estate trustees, judges, in-house counsel, government lawyers and others no longer in private practice booklet can help you assess your insurance needs.
In considering these types of questions though, it is important that the estate trustee first take steps to become familiar with the deceased lawyer’s former practice to assess any potential exposures that may exist. As a practical matter, this may mean meeting with those familiar with the deceased lawyer’s past practice, including former partners, associates or staff of the deceased lawyer. Their insights may be very helpful in considering the general nature and specific details of the deceased lawyer’s practice, which are necessary in assessing insurance needs.
LAWPRO invites the estate trustee to err on the side of caution in assessing the insurance needs of the estate. We also invite the estate trustee to consider the prospect of any excess insurance being maintained by others that may benefit the estate.
1Lawyers claiming exemption on the basis of mobility or temporary leave of absence are also provided with the benefit of this 90-day coverage, but only as it relates to professional services already insured under the policy.
2Other than for those claiming exemption based on mobility or occasional practice.