What work does my professional indemnity insurance coverage cover?
Here at LAWPRO, it’s professional indemnity insurance renewal time, and Ontario lawyers are being asked to make decisions about deductibles, innocent party coverage, run-off coverage buy-up, and many other insurance issues.
With all of the information to consider, it can be easy to lose sight of one of the most important issues of all: which services performed by lawyers does the LAWPRO policy cover?
The short answer: your professional indemnity insurance covers only professional legal services performed in your capacity as a lawyer. The 2013 policy defines professional services as follows:
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES means the practice of the Law of Canada, its provinces and territories, and specifically, those services performed, or which ought to have been performed, by or on behalf of an INSURED in such INSURED’S capacity as a LAWYER or member of the law society of a RECIPROCATING JURISDICTION, subject to Part II Special Provision A; and shall include, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, those services for which the INSURED is responsible as a LAWYER arising out of such INSURED’S activity as a trustee, administrator, executor, arbitrator, mediator, patent or trademark agent.
Occasionally, lawyers provide services to clients (for example, facilitating an investment without giving legal advice) that fall outside this definition; should a claim arise from these kinds of services, coverage will not be available under the policy.
For a fuller explanation of our definition of professional services, and for examples of activities that fall outside the scope of the policy, see our article: Danger signs: five activities generally not covered by your LAWPRO insurance policy.