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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

  1. Can gaps in coverage be created when switching carriers?
  2. How can you avoid creating a gap in coverage?
  3. Is this a new program for Chicago Insurance Company?
  4. Why has Chicago Insurance Company non-renewed my law firm?
  5. In which States is the ProAccess/CIC policy available for lawyers malpractice?
  6. Is there any size of firm restrictions?
  7. What limits are available?
  8. Why have carriers reduced the limits of liability they had been offering?
  9. Why must I find another carrier to purchase higher limits?
  10. How is an excess premium calculated since I do not need to complete an application?
  11. What limits are available?
  12. Are there many carriers available to write lawyers?
  13. What limits are available?
  14. Will they cover prior acts?
Can gaps in coverage be created when switching carriers?
Yes. When switching to a new insurance carrier, under a claims made policy, you need to be aware of potential gaps in coverage. If you report a claim to your new carrier, they will be concerned about your “prior knowledge” of the circumstances surrounding the claim. There is a potential that your claim may be denied because it should have been reported to your prior carrier. However, because you switched your coverage, you no longer have a contract with the prior carrier, creating a gap.

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How can you avoid creating a gap in coverage?
There are three ways to avoid a coverage gap in a claims-made policy.

a. Purchase an extended reporting period from your existing carrier before switching coverage. This is typically an expense option because the extended reporting period (tail coverage) can cost 225% of the expiring premium. When added to the first year policy with the new carrier, this approach is cost prohibitive.

b. Obtain a waiver of the prior knowledge exclusion from the new carrier. This is the language in the contract that allows the carrier to deny a claim, based on circumstances you knew or should have known. This waiver is rarely provided by the carrier because they may be picking up claims they did not intend to cover.

c. Maintain continuous coverage with your existing carrier. Unless the carrier has solvency issues (rated lower than B+ by AM Best) or is withdrawing from the market, the safest way to avoid a gap is to maintain continuity of coverage. The longer you have been with one carrier the less likely they can deny coverage because of circumstance you knew or should have known resulting in a claim.

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Is this a new program for Chicago Insurance Company?
No. Fireman’s Fund Interstate has been writing lawyer’s liability since 1995, using its Chicago Insurance Company (CIC). They have demonstrated a dedication to the lawyer’s of the Northeast – and have achieved an enviable reputation for broad coverage. CIC has also earned well deserved praise for the claim services which is located in New York State to ensure the highest degree of efficient and expert claim response should the need arise. CIC continues its commitment to the legal malpractice market and is available through ProAccess, LLC, as their General Agent in the Northeast.

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Why has Chicago Insurance Company non-renewed my law firm?
Chicago Insurance Company severed its agency relationship with Bertholon-Rowland and as a result of a contractual relationship needed to non-renew existing insureds. However, Chicago Insurance Company will continue coverage and renew firms, subject to an application review.

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In which States is the ProAccess/CIC policy available for lawyers malpractice?
ProAccess has binding authority on behalf of CIC in the following states – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

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Is there any size of firm restrictions?
NONE – CIC has the ability to write any size firm, which falls within its underwriting parameters

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What limits are available?
Up to $20M.

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Why have carriers reduced the limits of liability they had been offering?
The insurance marketplace is experiencing a “capacity” shortage. There is less insurance capital, or dollars available to write risks. As a result many carriers have reduced the limits of liability they are willing to offer.

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Why must I find another carrier to purchase higher limits?
As the insurance capacity has shrunk it is necessary to spread your coverage among several carriers. Some carriers will only write excess coverage. The prefer to be further removed from the frequent losses, but will pay severe losses if they happen.

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How is an excess premium calculated since I do not need to complete an application?
The excess underwriter is evaluating the primary carrier. They are concerned with the financial strength of the primary carrier, as well as, the premium and coverage offered by the primary carrier. The excess premium is a percentage of the primary or underlying policy.

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What limits are available?
Most carriers will only offer matching limits of liability. Meaning they will not offer a greater limit then the underlying carrier. So if the underlying is $1m the excess carrier will only offer $1m excess of the $1m. Most carriers are only putting out $10m of limits as a maximum.

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Are there many carriers available to write lawyers?
Typically it is the smaller firm, under 6 attorneys, that has the most difficulty. The larger firms can get terms, the firm may not like the price for coverage offered.

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What limits are available?
For firms that have a hazardous Area of Practice or claims history $1m is the maximum carriers are offering?

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Will they cover prior acts?
In some cases we can get prior acts coverage. However, if the firm has a claims history coverage will be offered with the retroactive date at inception.

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