Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance  

OVERVIEW

It is prudent for every law office to purchase lawyers professional liability insurance coverage through a reliable provider.

 

As a busy professional, you don't always have the time or the resources to research the insurance marketplace to compare all malpractice programs available today.

 

The NSBA has done the legwork for you so you don't have to worry if you've made the right choice. After careful review of all the major insurance carriers writing in Nebraska, the Insurance Committee chose to endorse Mercer Consumer and Berkley Select on behalf of Berkley Insurance Company.

 

This is the only lawyers professional liability insurance program sponsored by the Nebraska State Bar Association.

Forms

These form(s) are in Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) format and are available for downloading and printing.

Tell Me More

The Nebraska State Bar Association-sponsored Lawyers Professional Liability Program covers you for negligence claims as a lawyer, as well as activities as an arbitrator, mediator, trustee, fiduciary or notary public. Mercer Consumer provides one of the broadest policies available. The table below gives a general overview of what the Mercer Consumer program can offer your firm.

 

Highlight Advantage

Endorsed by the Nebraska State Bar Association

Your state bar has already done your homework, and researched the competition to find a plan with the best balance of price and coverage.

Affordable premiums and finance options

When determining the rates, the program underwriters look for a number of factors that can help you keep the cost affordable. Finance options allow you to spread the premium over the year, rather than being forced to make one large payment.

Wide range of limits of liability and deductibles

A variety of coverage options allow you to tailor your individual policy to your firm's specific needs.

Optional claims defense coverage inside/outside policy limits*

You can choose to have a claim's legal defense costs come from your liability limits (inside) or from a separate coverage (outside).*Subject to underwriting review and approval.

Prior acts coverage available

When you hire new attorneys or change carriers, this important coverage lets you secure protection for claims that occurred before they were hired, or before your policy became effective.

Administered by Mercer Consumer

The Mercer Consumer representatives in Nebraska specialize in lawyers professional liability, and bring with them a wealth of expertise. Mercer Consumer has been serving the NSBA since 1999. They provide professional liability coverage to over 17,000 law firms nationwide.

 

Product Specifications

Limits of Liability

 

Per Claim

$100,000 to $5 million

Aggregate

$300,000 to $5 million

Deductible

$1,000 to $100,000

Claims Expense

 

Defense Inside Limits

Included

Defense Outside Limits

Available, subject to underwriting review and approval.

Other Coverages and Benefits

 

A separate Aggregate Supplemental Coverage Limit of Liability with no deductible for:

  • Disciplinary Proceeding including from a Privacy Breach
  • Subpoena Assistance
  • Pre-Claim Assistance
  • Loss of Earnings for Attendance at Trial

 

25 percent up to $100,000

Career Coverage/ Full Prior Acts Coverage

Available, subject to underwriting review and approval.

Optional Extended Reporting Periods

1, 2, 3, 6 years or unlimited periods

Non-practicing Extended Reporting Periods

Free unlimited Non-Practicing Extended Reporting Period Endorsement provided after three full years insured with Mercer or Berkley Select.

Coverage available for capacity as a public official

 

Deductible reduces by 50% up to a maximum of $10,000 for early Mediation of Claims.

 

Definition of Legal Services includes coverage for services performed as the member of a bar association, ethics, peer review, formal accreditation, licensing, or similar professional board or committee related to the legal profession.

Definition of Legal Services considers coverage for services as an author of a publication or presentation of research papers of the fee, royalty or revenue is not greater than $10,000.

 

This coverage overview is not part of an insurance contract and does not supersede the policy. Please read the policy form for complete terms, conditions and exclusions.

 

Contact Us

We're here to help! Please contact us in whatever manner is most convenient for you.

Existing Customers:

 Address
Mercer Consumer
12421 Meredith Drive
Urbandale, IA 50398
 Phone
1-866-236-6582
 Hours
 M-F 8a-5p CT
 Fax
212-948-5442
 Email
plsales.service@mercer.com

 

New Customers:

 Address
John Collentine, Associate
Mercer Consumer
12421 Meredith Drive
Urbandale, IA 50398
 Phone
Office 1-612-642-8642
 Phone
Toll Free 1-800-328-4671
 Hours
 M-F 8:30a-5p CT
 Email
john.collentine@mercer.com

FAQs

Answers about the plan, including eligibility, options, enrollment, customer service and more.

  • What exactly is meant by ‘professional liability insurance’?

    Simply stated, the term, "professional liability insurance" insures a person and/or an entity (corporation, partnership, etc.) against claims made by third parties (clients, customers, etc.), alleging an act, error, or omission in the rendering of, or the failure to render, professional services.

     

    Professional liability insurance is also often referred to as "errors & omissions" or "E&O" or "malpractice" insurance. These are just different ways of saying the same thing.

  • Do I have to carry professional liability insurance?

    No, but it is highly recommended by the NSBA.

     

    Statistics show that in any given year, a minimum of five to six insured lawyers out of every 100 in private practice will experience a malpractice claim. Statistically, this means a firm of 20 lawyers could be the recipient of a claim every year. Since the exposure to legal malpractice is greater now than ever before, it is a prudent part of law office management to establish meaningful loss prevention practices including the purchase of proper lawyers professional liability insurance coverage.

  • How much does it cost?

    The annual premium per attorney can vary widely depending on limits of liability, deductible, length of time in practice, claim history, areas of practice, and a number of other factors.

  • How do I compare policies?

    There is no such thing as a "standard" legal malpractice insurance policy. While all policies address the same basic coverage issues, there are differences in approach that can be very important in some circumstances. The program administrator, Mercer Consumer, can assist you with policy comparisons. In all cases, you should read the policy (including any endorsements) carefully and be sure you understand it before you order coverage.

  • How do I compare insurance companies?

    Following are some key points of comparison:

     

    Financial security
    Is the insurance carrier admitted in Nebraska? Is the insurance company rated by A.M. Best & Co., Standard & Poor's and/or Moody's?

     

    Experience
    How long and how successfully has the company written legal malpractice insurance?

     

    Long-term commitment
    Has the company demonstrated a commitment to this line of insurance through both good and bad times?

     

    Claim handling
    Does the company respond promptly, appoint qualified defense counsel when necessary, and actively pursue a fair and speedy resolution?

     

    The State Bar Approved Program is underwritten through Berkley Select. Features of the plan include:

    • Broad range of limits of liability
    • Optional defense costs in addition to the limits of liability
    • Optional first-dollar defense coverage
    • Career coverage / full prior acts coverage, subject to underwriting review and approval.
  • How much coverage do I need?

    There is no single way to answer this question. Under most policies, the "each claim" limit of liability defines the company's maximum total obligation for settlements, judgments and defense costs (including attorney’s fees) in connection with a single claim, so you should keep in mind that costs can consume a significant part of the limit.

     

    One common benchmark is to select an each-claim limit that would cover all or most of the firm's liability for a claim (plus the cost of defense) arising from a "typical" engagement, assuming the firm was found to be 100% responsible.

  • What deductible should I choose?

    That depends on how large a check you can write without seriously disrupting your finances, and how much you can save by choosing a larger deductible. Many companies require a deductible of at least $1,000 each claim for a single attorney, while $2,500 or more each claim per attorney is considered a more typical deductible as the firm's size increases. Companies may also set a maximum deductible per attorney. Increasing your deductible will lower your premium, but you should be realistic in weighing the value of minor premium savings compared to the additional risk you are assuming, since you will have to pay your deductible before the company begins to pay for costs.

     

    A good way to evaluate this tradeoff is to request several quotations that "bracket" the deductible you feel most comfortable with. Remember, also, to consider whether the deductible applies separately to each claim, or applies on an annual aggregate basis regardless of the number of claims in a policy year.

  • Can I pay the premiums in installments?

    Yes. Premium financing is available upon request. Premiums below $750.00 must be paid in full.

  • How do I apply?

    1. Click on the “Forms” tab at the top of the page
    2. Download the appropriate application and any supplements you may need
    3. Complete and fax back the materials to 212-948-5442 or mail back to:

      Mercer Consumer
      PO Box 10302
      Des Moines, IA 50306-0302