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Willis Launches New Lawyers Professional Liability Program

Source: Willis


Posted on 16 Dec 2009

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Willis Programs, a unit of Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, announced today that its LawyerGuard unit has launched a new insurance program designed to address the professional liability coverage needs of law firms with one to 20 attorneys in general practice areas. The underwriter for the LawyerGuard program is Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., rated “A” XV by A.M. Best and a subsidiary of Catlin Group Limited, a leading global specialty insurance and reinsurance group. The program will be offered on an admitted basis in all available states and the District of Columbia. To date, form and rate filings for the new program have been approved in 37 states.

The program offers numerous coverage enhancements, including mutual choice of counsel, a reduction in deductible for claims settled through mediation, high limits for disciplinary proceedings and loss of earnings coverage, express malicious prosecution coverage, and free unlimited extended reporting periods for the disability or death of an individual attorney. The program also allows for individual attorneys to purchase a retirement tail at very attractive rates.

The policy also provides coverage for activities not only taken as an attorney, but also as a member of a professional association, as an arbitrator/mediator, notary, lobbyist, title agent or as a publisher of research papers. Punitive damages also are covered under the policy unless deemed uninsurable in a particular jurisdiction. In certain situations the insured law firm is also eligible for crisis event coverage to offset the costs of a public relations firm to lessen the potential adverse impact on its reputation from covered events.

“We are very excited about the launch of this new lawyers’ professional liability insurance program for non-defense attorneys,” said David Hampson, President of Willis Programs. “This is a significant complement to our existing lawyers’ professional liability program designed for defense firms of all sizes, which is sponsored by DRI, the largest international membership organization of defense attorneys. The combination of these two programs will make LawyerGuard an even more significant player in the national lawyers’ professional liability market.”

In addition to underwriting the new Willis program, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc. will become the new carrier for the existing Willis-DRI program beginning on January 1, 2010.

“We expect to achieve significant growth as a result of our new policy enhancements and competitive pricing structure in both programs,” said Stephen van Wert, Program Manager for the LawyerGuard program. “Catlin is looking to increase its presence in the US lawyers’ professional liability marketplace and we are delighted that they decided to work with Willis to help them achieve that goal.” Mr. van Wert has significant experience in the lawyers’ professional liability field, having run a $40 million lawyers program for most of the last ten years, as well having prior experience as a practicing attorney himself.

Additional information and applications for the new program and the Willis-DRI program can be obtained at the LawyerGuard website at www.lawyerguard.com or by contacting Mr. van Wert at (813) 712-7032 or at steve.vanwert@willis.com.

Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 20,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

Catlin Group Limited is an international specialist property/casualty insurer and reinsurer writing more than 30 classes of business worldwide. Catlin US, headquartered in Atlanta, encompasses all of the Catlin Group’s operations based in the United States. Catlin US underwrites a wide variety of specialty property/casualty insurance and reinsurance products from a network of offices throughout the country. Additional information can be found at www.catlinus.com.

DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar, is the national organization of more than 22,500 defense trial lawyers and corporate counsel. DRI provides numerous educational and informational resources to members and offers many opportunities for liaison among defense trial lawyers, Corporate America, and state and local legal defense organizations. DRI also has an international presence, seeking to enhance understanding of the law among members of the defense community who have reason to be concerned with the expanding globalization of litigation defense. The organization can be reached at www.dri.org.


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