Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lawyers Professional Part II (Areas of Practice)

I never realized that some attorneys specialize in dog bites - until one of our dogs bit someone. Who knew that areas of practice can be so specific? For the dog lovers among you, Molly is a pit bull mix on the left and Annie is the lab on the right.

In the previous post I mentioned that you need to know the attorney's areas of practice (AOP) and this post will explore that a little more. Everything that follows is based on actual day to day experience with carriers and accounts I work with, but there may be some slight differences in carrier's and their underwriting depending on geography, etc.

Whether you're writing a policy for one attorney or more than one, you need area of practice information in detail. As far as I know any new business application for Attorney's E&O will have an AOP grid; not so much on renewal apps. Make sure that grid is complete and the percentages for all practice areas total 100.

Some responses on the application will require more info. If any reference to claims a separate claim supplement with details will be needed, and a current loss run will allow your client to be rated as favorably as possible. Most of the time an underwriter is going to apply max debits to the rating process if they know there's been a claim but don't have any info to justify using a low debit, or no debit. Unfortunately many of your clients think the less the carrrier knows the better for your client, and it's usually the the other way around.

As to AOP's that require more info, these are the most common: Real Estate, Plaintiff and/or Estate-Probate-Wills-Trusts. If there's any percentage of work done in these areas you'll need to get additional information from the client. We have a four page form that includes all three of these areas, and if your client only practices in one area that's all they need to complete. Almost every carrier has had some issues with adverse loss experience in these areas, so they need to drill down and obtain more info to determine how to rate the risk. If you need more information to help with your discussion with your client call one of the TuscanoPro underwriters.

Other areas that will require more information include tough classes to write, like Mass Torts/Class Action, SEC, Entertainment (think high profile clients) and Intellectual Property. Most of these have their own supplemental forms that need to be completed. Also don't assume that Intellectual Property means the same to every carrier. Some have a problem writing patent work but not copyright/trademark, some can do up to 5% or 10% of the firm's revenue, some can't write these at all. If it can't be written admitted, Tuscano has some great non-admitted markets to use, so the best advice here is to contact us and talk about the risk.

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