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Avoiding coverage potholes


Brokers say one way to plug any potential insurance coverage gaps for a company's general counsel and other in-house counsel is through an employed lawyers professional liability policy, which is designed to eliminate ambiguity about general counsel being covered in an official or unofficial capacity.

The coverage--which is widely available and offered by most major D&O insurers--can be purchased as an attachment to a traditional D&O policy or as a stand-alone policy, brokers say.

To some degree, investigations into corporate stock option practices are prompting corporate lawyers to encourage their employers to address any potential gaps in insurance coverage.

"Absolutely, more lawyers are asking about lawyers are more attuned to their own potential liability now in a post-Enron world, and there are more questions being asked about whether existing coverages, primarily D&O, is sufficient," said William A. Boeck, senior vp, insurance and claims counsel at Lockton Financial Services in Kansas City, Mo.

"I'd say it's being purchased with greater frequency today than it was five or six years ago," said Nicholas Conca, managing principal and head of the New York management risk practice for Integro Ltd.

Regardless of employed lawyers coverage, policyholders should ask for more detailed language in their D&O policies to specifically cover general counsel, recommended Mark Keenan, an insurance attorney and shareholder at Anderson Kill & Olick P.C. in New York.