More Bang for your Buck! Supplementary Payments Under ALPS Premier LPL Policy
ALPS PREMIER Lawyers Professional Liability Policy provides four supplemental payments for an insured for specific situations. Many insureds do not realize these benefits exist. Do you know what benefits your policy provides?
ALPS Premier Policy provides supplemental payment for Loss of Earnings, Disciplinary Proceedings, Subpoena Assistance and Public Relations Event. Put your policy to work for you.
1. Loss of Earnings
If ALPS requests an Insured attend a trial, hearing or arbitration in writing, the Company shall pay up to $1,000 per day to the Named Insured for such lost fees or other earnings demonstrated to the Company as a result of such attendance. This provision applies to each full or partial day of attendance. The maximum amount payable by the Company during the Policy Period and Extended Reporting Period is $50,000 irrespective of the number of attorneys. This Supplemental Payment does not trigger your deductible. It is applied against and will reduce the Claim Expense Allowance.
This is a potential benefit of $1,000 per day/per attorney for attendance at trial, hearing or arbitration in which the presence of an Insured is going to be required by the Company. Please note, this benefit is only available with ALPS PREMIER Policy.
2. Disciplinary Proceedings
If an Attorney identified in Item 3 of the Declarations first receives notice during the Policy Period of a proceeding brought against the Attorney before a state licensing board, peer review committee or disciplinary agency or official to investigate allegations of professional misconduct by the Attorney, and that would otherwise fall within coverage under the policy, the Company shall reimburse the Named Insured for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred by the Named Insured in relation to such proceeding, subject to the following conditions:
(a) The maximum reimbursement amount for any one Attorney involved in such proceeding shall be $50,000 without regard to the number of such proceedings involving the Attorney during the policy period;
(b) The maximum reimbursement amount shall be $150,000 per Policy Period and Extended Reporting Period, if applicable, without regard to the number of such proceedings or the number of Attorneys listed in item 3 of the Declarations; and
(c) The Company shall have the right to appoint legal counsel in the Company’s sole discretion after consultation with the Attorney that is the subject of the proceedings.
This benefit provides reimbursement of up to $50,000 in costs and fees the Named Insured incurs per Attorney/per Policy Period and a maximum benefit of $150,000 per Policy Period or Extended Reporting Period. If you have never had to defend against a bar complaint, this amount may seem excessive. However, ALPS has unfortunately seen examples where very good attorneys have had their character and professional reputations vigorously and ruthlessly attacked. The costs associated with responding to the bar complaints have been significant. In our current world, politics can play a role in these proceedings. They can take on a life of their own with an agenda that seems to have little to do with alleged ethical violation or protecting the public. Responding to bar complaints through a full investigation is costly not only in costs and fees, but the time taken away from your practice.
Anyone can file a bar complaint against any attorney and throw up the kitchen sink to see what may stick. Unlike civil litigation, it costs nothing to file a bar complaint. If it happens to you, don’t you want an experienced attorney responding to the allegations clearly, succinctly and without emotion to get the complaint dismissed immediately? ALPS Premier Policy provides this significant benefit. In fact, ALPS Preferred Policy and Basic policies also provide a similar benefit but at reduced amounts and terms.
3. Subpoena Assistance
ALPS Premier Policy provides a supplemental benefit if you receive a subpoena during the policy period for the production of documents or testimony as a fact witness arising out of or related to professional services. ALPS Claims Attorney, Martha Amrine discusses this specific benefit in detail in a previous post. This benefit is only provided with ALPS Premier Policy.
4. Public Relations Event
The Company agrees to reimburse the Named Insured up to $40,000 for Public Relations Expenses incurred by the Named Insured, arising from or in connection with a Public Relations Event first occurring and first reported to the Company during the Policy Period. Prior to the Named Insured incurring any Public Relations Expenses, and as a condition precedent to reimbursement of any Public Relations Expenses incurred by the Named Insured, the Company shall have the right to review and approve the terms and conditions upon which any public relations firm renders consulting and counseling services to the Named Insured. No Deductible shall apply to any such payment. Any such payment shall be applied against and reduce the Claim Expense Allowance.
So what is a Public Relations Event? It is defined in the Premier ALPS Policy as the occurrence of any of the following events, but only if and to the event that the Named Insured reasonably believes that such event will have a material adverse effect upon the Named Insured’s business reputation:
- The sudden and unexpected death or permanent disability of an Insured Attorney who is a partner, shareholder, member or other owner of the Named Insured;
- Indictment or charge of a felony criminal offense against an Insured Attorney who is a partner, shareholder, member or other owner of the Named Insured; and
- An act or incident of violence within the Named Insured’s business offices.
Public Relations Expenses are the reasonable fees, costs and expenses incurred by the Named Insured for consulting and counseling services rendered by a public relations firm to the Named Insured in direct response to a Public Relations Event.
In the current world of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, ”no comment” likely will not suffice in diffusing a situation. If you find yourself in a ‘Public Relations Event’ you may need to hire a public relations firm and decide how best to get in front of the situation and handle the narrative.
We all know attorneys are prone to stress, do not take enough vacations and work excessive hours to keep up with billable hour requirements. Heart attacks and strokes happen unexpectedly to some of the seemingly healthiest individuals; sometimes to the rainmaking partner. How will the firm handle the media and address immediate client concerns to avoid a mass exodus to your rival competitor? Saying “Everything will be just fine” or “Business as Usual” will not cut it in today’s fast paced global economy. Clients will want to know who is taking over and how you are going to fix their problems … yesterday.
If you are an ALPS policyholder and would like more information about the ALPS Premier Policy, please contact your firm’s dedicated Account Manager for additional details. If you are in the market for legal malpractice insurance and would like to speak to a Business Development Representative, please email email@example.com. Please note that the three new ALPS Policy forms (Premier, Preferred and Basic) are still pending approval in Alaska, North Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Authored by: Kobi L Gibbs Senior Claims Attorney
Kobi L. Gibbs is a Senior Claims Attorney with ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company responsible for managing complex high exposure legal malpractice claims, coverage litigation, cyber and employment liability claims. Kobi has been with ALPS for 14 years and has conducted extensive risk management visits at law firms around the country. Kobi routinely presents to attorneys on professional liability risk management. Before joining ALPS, Kobi worked in private practice focusing on tax and estate planning and at the Yellowstone County Public Defender’s Office in Billings, Montana, where she tried felony criminal cases. Kobi received her Bachelor of Science in Economics with Honors from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana and her Juris Doctorate and Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon.