Filling out applications for Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance is about as appetizing as eating that fruit cake your great Aunt Reitha sent you for Christmas. While well meaning, and a “good” source of fruit, for me at least, it’s never what I was hoping for.
Regardless of fruit cakes, applications are a necessity. Below are three tips on how to make the best of a “not your favorite type of activity” situation.
1. Foremost, neatness and completeness count. If we have difficulty reading your handwriting or if multiple questions are not answered, this can make the process difficult for all involved. You will be asked a host of questions about the blanks and not providing that information may create a sense of doubt about the rest of the application in the minds of the people who will generate your premium.
2. Just as important, when asked about significant dates in work history (i.e., when you passed the bar; insurance history; who you’ve worked for as an attorney and when your firm started), it is imperative that these dates add up chronologically. Gaps are not good things in the insurance business, unless they can be easily explained. Most of the time we are trying to put together a “story” about your career. Gaps that don’t fit the overall story line can stop the evaluation process dead in its tracks.
3. A large part of your final premium is based on the areas in which you practice. Be specific. Don’t suggest you “might” practice in a certain area. We are in the business of assessing actual and potential risk, and we are best able to do that when we know what you are doing - not what you might be doing in the coming year. It’s also important to understand that certain areas of practice are traditionally a higher risk, so adding an area of practice because you feel you may someday want to do that type of work could affect your premium negatively. You may still take whatever work comes in the door after securing your policy; it’s just very important that you understand that you will need to report it on the next year’s application and you should ask if that one case is worth the additional cost to your security.
If you have questions while completing your ALPS application, need more information on our policy features, or just want to discuss your current situation, please feel free to call or email.
Happy New Year! And, I’ll try to appreciate Aunt Reitha’s fruit cake. Maybe I’ll re-gift it to my sister in Oklahoma.
Stan Anglen is a Business Development Representative for ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company and has been with the company since 2011. He’s also a fly fishing enthusiast and guide. When he isn’t helping new ALPS customers navigate the insurance process, you’ll likely find him on a Montana river with a fly rod in hand. Stan can be reached directly at: 406.523.3844 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with Stan on LinkedIn.