More for less: LAWPRO(R) expands coverage, reduces premiums for 2003

Base premium reduced by $200 to $2,500 per lawyer

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2002 – Ontario lawyers will pay $200 less for expanded insurance coverage next year, Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO)announced today.

Base premiums for 2003 will be $2,500 per lawyer — $200 less than in 2002, and significantly below the $5,600 paid by lawyers in 1995, when LAWPRO assumed responsibility for the administration of the liability insurance program. This marks the seventh consecutive year in which LAWPRO has been able to reduce liability insurance premiums for the Ontario bar.

Many lawyers will pay lower premiums still, depending on variables such as options selected, years in practice and practice areas. For example, part-time practitioners, those who restrict their practice to criminal and/or immigration law, and lawyers newly called to the bar could pay a premium of $1,500 or less in 2003.

As well as reducing premiums, LAWPRO is enhancing the insurance coverage provided to lawyers in 2003, at no additional charge:

Coverage for pro bono law: A number of program changes will be made to facilitate the Pro Bono Law initiative and expand the potential pool of lawyers who provide pro bono legal services. Lawyers who are exempt from having to pay the insurance premium will be provided with standard Run-Off Insurance Coverage for their approved pro bono legal services. They will not have to pay an insurance deductible in the event of a claim arising out of these services. For practising lawyers with ongoing insurance coverage, no insurance deductible or insurance levy surcharges will apply for pro bono legal services provided through approved programs associated with Pro Bono Law Ontario.

Defence cost protection against statutory penalties: Lawyers will be reimbursed up to $100,000 for costs they incur in successfully defending themselves against certain penalties assessed under either the Income Tax Act or Excise Tax Act. In some cases, LAWPRO may fund the first $100,000 in investigation and defence costs, as they are incurred.

Full Run-Off insurance coverage for lawyers’ estates for 90 days LAWPRO will provide a lawyer’s estate with the full Run-Off Buy-Up limit coverage of $1 million per claim/$2 million in the aggregate for the first 90 days after the death of a lawyer carrying the standard insurance coverage. The 90-day grace period provides the estate with time to assess the ongoing liability of the deceased member’s practice, and decide what level of insurance coverage is appropriate.

Exempt status of legal aid lawyers recognized A new exemption category has been established to ensure lawyers employed through Legal Aid Ontario (but who are not direct employees of Legal Aid Ontario) can exempt themselves from paying the standard insurance premium.

Lawyer mobility supported

Additional insurance coverage changes will be implemented if and when a national mobility protocol is adopted by the Law Society. As well, LAWPRO has amended its “occasional practice” criteria to enable lawyers from outside Ontario to provide legal services in Ontario for a maximum of 10 matters over not more than a total of 20 days in any 12-month period. Previously, occasional practice had been defined as “not more than 10 real estate transactions or not more than 80 hours for work usually billed on an hourly basis.”

Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) is a wholly Canadian-owned insurer providing a diverse range of insurance-related programs, services, and resources, including title insurance, to support the legal community in various jurisdictions across Canada.

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Indemnity Company.