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Lawyers professional liability claim frequency stabilizes

Lawyers professional liability claim frequency stabilizes

Lawyers professional liability claim frequency stabilized in 2017, but claims severity continued to increase, says a broker survey.

Many feel a strong focus on cutting expenses, adopting new work processes, expanding the use of technology and in many cases reduced headcount have contributed to an expansion of law firm professional liability exposures, says the report by McLean, Virginia-based Ames & Gough, which is based on its eighth annual survey of nine leading insurers in the sector called LPLI 2018 Claims Survey: Legal Malpractice Claims Increase in Severity and Scope as Firms Adapt to Market Realities.

“Yet, despite the perceived heightened risk profile, the leading lawyers’ professional liability insurers saw claim frequency stabilize in 2017.” This was also the case in the 2016 survey.

The 2017 survey was conducted by email in May 2018. 

However, eight of the nine insurers polled participated in a claim payment of $20 million or more, with one participating in a claims payment of more than $150 million, according to the report.

The report said the largest number of claims stem from four key practice areas: business transactions, corporate and securities, real estate and trust and estate work. Conflicts of interest continue to be the biggest malpractice error, according to the report.

The report said four of the nine insurers surveyed saw an uptick in malpractice claims resulting from a data breach, compared with five in the 2017 survey.




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