How insurance companies investigate claims
What do insurance companies investigate before issuing an error of law policy?
A client who is not satisfied with the legal representation of her attorney may decide to sue her former attorney for misconduct. Many lawyers buy legal protection insurance to protect themselves in these situations. The legal error insurer defends the lawyer against the claim for damages and can decide to pay the claim if the facts justify the payment. Because attorneys operate in different locations, work environments, and areas of law, the chances that such claims will arise vary. An insurer needs to study an attorney's practice to understand the risks it covers.
Area of practice
An attorney's practice can materially affect the number of claims expected and the value of those claims. Insurance companies that specialize in infringement of the law know that some areas of the law, including intellectual property law and personal injury law, lead to more claims. Other areas such as criminal defense and older law result in fewer claims.
Insurance companies require lawyers to fully complete applications describing their areas of activity so that insurers can better predict the number of future claims. The insurer charges an insurance premium that should still bring the company a profit.
Lawyers must adhere to the rules of the bar associations and court systems. When attorneys do not adhere to ethical standards, a client's case can suffer, and this can lead to potential wrongdoing. Insurers often investigate and review the disciplinary history of attorneys handling the bar exam. A lawyer who has not come into contact with clients in the past or has not worked diligently on client matters is more likely to be sued for abuse and therefore poses a higher risk to the insurer.
As with other insurance, a lawyer’s claims history can determine whether the insurer approves the application. The claims history also influences the premiums collected. Many lawyers explain these previous claims in relation to the insurance application and describe risk management measures they have put in place to prevent similar claims in the future. For example, an attorney with a willful malpractice claim based on a lack of communication with the client may describe the attorney's new electronic client management system.
Solicitation of the lawyer
A transportation company also examines the attorney's advertisements, including the company's website, to review the information contained in the application and use excessive experience and expertise to determine whether the company is appealing to customers. Since the insurer receives the vast majority of attorney information directly from the attorney, he needs to feel that the information is correct. If there is a discrepancy between the application and the website, questions about the veracity of the lawyer may be asked, which will affect the insurer's decision whether to insure the lawyer or not.
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