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Inside Underwriting: Big Picture Versus Broad Brush


happy treesFor those of you who remember the PBS show, “The Joy of Painting,” you probably remember host Bob Ross’ signature description of the “happy little trees” that make up his forested landscape paintings. This little nostalgic walk down memory lane actually relates to the art of underwriting at ALPS.

At ALPS, we see the forest for the trees, but we also look closely at each individual tree to get the clearest picture of the forest. What do we mean by this? Well, if you’ve filled out our application you know that we assess each individual attorney in a firm as well as the firm as a whole to best determine its risk.

In the Underwriting process, we analyze the individual attorneys in the firm first. We look at the attorney’s area(s) of practice, CLE attendance, maturing rating, etc. This individualized analysis allows us to determine that attorney’s exposure. This is an advantage to your firm because we take into account each attorney’s risk profile, so we’re not pricing your firm’s overall premium based on your “highest risk” attorney.

Next we look at the firm as a whole. Criteria of note are your firm’s loss inclusion date (the earliest possible date upon which coverage may be provided under the ALPS policy for any act, error or omission in professional services rendered by the firm), office management, state relativity and the firm’s claims profile.

Because ALPS is interested in the trees as well as the forest, we also analyze a firm’s claims history as an integral part of our Underwriting process. If a firm has experienced multiple claims, that experience alone does not necessarily mean that the firm no longer qualifies for an ALPS policy or that the premium will increase significantly. Instead, because we don’t take a broad brush approach to underwriting, we take the time to understand the nature and extent of each claim. This allows us to get the most detailed information we can in order to better understand each firm’s risk and more appropriately structure and price a firm’s policy.

ALPS is a direct writer so we work closely with our account managers and business development representatives to learn as much as we can about each attorney we cover to price your firm’s coverage appropriately. If you want to ask specific questions about the ALPS underwriting difference, we encourage you to give us a call at 1-800-367-2577. You’ll speak to a real person who can answer your questions. Because the full picture of your firm is in the details, we believe in providing this level of detail to our customers and potential customers.

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