professional liability
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Protecting Those Who Represent Others

Designed for, and sponsored by the State Bar of California

It is prudent for every law office to purchase proper Lawyer's professional liability insurance coverage through a reliable provider.

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

The State Bar of California has done the legwork for you so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ve made the right choice. After careful review of all the major insurance carriers writing in California, the Board of Trustees chose to endorse Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services LLC, and the Arch Insurance Company (A+ S&P Rating).

This is the only Lawyer's professional liability insurance program endorsed by the State Bar of California and has been designed for sole practitioners as well as large firms.

How to Apply

First, request a quote by completing our Online Application.

A Mercer representative will contact you to provide a premium quotation and assist with completing the purchase of your Professional Liability Insurance policy. Why wait? Request a Quote today!

Eligibility
Notes All licensed attorneys practicing in the state of California are eligible to apply. 
At a Glance
Type of Insurance  Lawyer's Professional Liability  
Designed for  Sole practitioners and law firms  
Insurance Company Arch Insurance Company 
Policy Form Claims-made policy  
Product Specifications
Limits of Liability   
Per Claim  $100,000 to $5 million 
Aggregate  $300,000 to $5 million 
Deductible  Zero to $100,000 
Claims Expense 
Additional Claims Expense Limits Available   1/2 of the per claim policy limit to $1,000,000 
Claims Expense Coverage Included at No Charge  $50,000  
Other Coverages and Benefits 
Loss of Earnings Reimbursement  $500 per day, up to $10,000 
Prior Acts Coverage  Available 
Appearance Investigation or Defense Coverage  $5,000 
Extended Reporting Period Coverage (tail)  Automatic 60 Day Extended Reporting Period Option
Optional Extended Reporting Coverages (tail)  12, 24, 36 month or unlimited 

This disclosure is an outline of coverage and a summary of the policy. The policy should be consulted to determine terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations.

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

Professional liability insurance covers a lawyer and/or entity (such as a professional corporation) for monetary damages resulting from claims made by clients (and in some circumstances other third parties) based upon the rendering of, or failure to render, professional services as an attorney.

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.

Because many insurance companies require voluminous applications to be completed in order to offer a binding premium quotation, attorneys often seek a premium estimate before they commit the time necessary to complete the application.

But the Arch application form is so simple (two pages, six questions) that there is no faster way to get a quote.

Although completing the application does not guarantee that a quotation will be offered, once you get a quote from us, all you have to do is sign the acceptance and send us your down payment!

This is a difficult decision for each lawyer and firm and is often based solely on cost. Please take into consideration the value of the matters handled by the firm. Please also remember that defense costs are part of, and reduce, the policy limits. This reduces the funds available to pay a judgement or settlement. Insurance companies will normally allow you to adjust your limits, within parameters, each year. Under claims made policies the limits of liability in force at the time a lawyer becomes aware of and reports a claim are the applicable limits for coverage. The average limits of liability purchased by small firms in California are $500,000 Per Claim / $1,000,000 aggregate.

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. Mercer offers a free booklet titled "Understanding Your Claims-Made Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance Policy", which briefly describes some key issues and invites you to contact us with questions.

The program administrator, Mercer, 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.

Following are some key points of comparison:

Financial security

Is the company admitted in California? Is the 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 good and bad times?

Claims 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 Arch Insurance Company. Arch is rated Excellent by A.M. Best Co. Features of the Arch plan include:

  • claims expense coverage of $50,000 in addition to the limit of liability
  • prior acts coverage available to qualifying firms
  • reduced deductible for claims resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • free 60-day Extended Reporting Period coverage
  • up to $5,000 coverage for defense of disciplinary proceedings
  • up to $10,000 reimbursement for loss of earnings

If you practice as a shareholder of a professional law corporation, a partner in a firm organized as a Limited Liability Partnership ("LLP"), or as a Registered Foreign Legal Consultant, statutes and The State Bar rules require you to carry malpractice insurance or establish other financial responsibility arrangements. In addition to statutory and State Bar requirements, some clients may require you to carry and furnish proof of coverage as a condition of your engagement.

Current 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.

According to surveys conducted on behalf of The State Bar, over 90 percent of California attorneys in private practice are covered by malpractice insurance.

Mandatory Disclosure Rule - Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 3-410 Disclosure of Professional Liability Insurance requires a lawyer to disclose to a client in writing if they do not have professional liability insurance if they anticipate working more than 4 hours for the client.

The Lawyer's Proliability Program offers an optional, convenient premium financing plan, subject to credit approval. The plan requires an affordable down payment at the inception of coverage, with the balance payable in nine equal monthly installments of principal and interest beginning 30 days thereafter. Full details are provided at the time of quotation.

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

Program Administrator:

Richard O'Regan, Principal
Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services LLC
345 California Street, Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA 94104-2679
Phone: 415 983 5658
800-343-0132
Fax:  415 983 5696
Email:  CalBarProliability.service@mercer.com

Application Mailing Address:

Mercer
P.O. Box 14438
Des Moines, IA 50306-9277
Fax: (515) 282-8324

The material in this site, other than descriptions and related material pertaining to specific insurance products sponsored by The State Bar of California, has been provided by Mercer, which is responsible for its content, and has not been reviewed or approved by The State Bar of California.

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