Attorney Lawyer Insurance Massachusetts Policy Information
Attorney Lawyer Insurance Massachusetts. As an attorney, you're the last person who probably needs to be told to protect your legal practice with a business owner's policy. This type of policy is essential to running a successful legal practice of any type. Even though you might be courtroom often, it doesn't make you immune to the types of liability suits that can be brought against you as you conduct your business - such as having clients to your office etc.
Lawyers and attorneys are professionals entrusted by a client for advice in handling legal matters They may draft contracts and other legal documents, represent the client in a legal action, or defend or prosecute criminal matters in court. While some lawyers work in their own private practice, many work for businesses as staff attorneys.
Their responsibilities may include the drafting or approval of contracts, product descriptions, and similar materials, negotiations with unions or government regulators, or work as lobbyists. Lawyers and attorneys are held to a high degree of professional knowledge and skill. A lawyer must pass a bar exam to practice in a particular state and those states which allow reciprocity.
An attorney lawyer insurance Massachusetts policy can be a true godsend if you find yourself on the receiving end of a claim.
Attorney Lawyer insurance Massachusetts protects your practice from lawsuits with rates as low as $77/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
What Is An Attorney Lawyer Insurance Business Owner's Policy?
A standard business owner's policy, often abbreviated to just BOP in the industry, serves the needs of most small legal practice owners. This attorney lawyer insurance Massachusetts provides a trio of coverage types into one policy, making it easy to bundle your insurance needs for simplicity and total coverage. Small law firms can purchase BOP policies on their own or with other insurance products they need for a more comprehensive insurance solution.
Standard BOP policies include:
- Business liability coverage. This coverage protects your legal business from liability claims from the financial fallout of several types of lawsuits. For instance, if a client becomes injured on your property while visiting your office or if an employee visiting a client at home causes property damage there, this insurance pays for claims against you. However, it shouldn't be seen as a professional liability policy, since it will not cover damage caused when you render professional service to a client.
- Business property coverage. The building that houses your law firm and the equipment, furniture, office supplies, and other items are protected from loss by business property coverage in most BOP policies. For instance, if your office furniture is damaged due to a storm, this policy kicks in. It pays for both leased and owned items.
- Business income insurance. With this type of policy, your business is protected from financial business income loss in the event that a covered peril causes you to be unable to keep your business open. For instance, if a tornado blows through, taking your roof with it, you may be able to recoup lost income while the business is closed for repair.
Who Needs An Attorney Lawyer Insurance Massachusetts BOP Policy?
Although BOP purchase is not a requirement under any state or federal rules, there are a number of professionals and small business owners who stand to benefit from BOP policies. Essentially, you need a BOP policy if you:
- Face the potential of being sued in your line of work.
- Have assets that can be damaged or stolen, including customer data, digital information, furniture, and equipment.
- Do business in a physical location, including home offices and rented office space.
Other Insurance Types to Consider for Small Legal Practices
While a standard attorney lawyer insurance Massachusetts BOP policy provides much of the coverage your business needs, there are other types of coverage for attorneys. Some of these include:
- Professional liability coverage. The advice you give is important to your clients, but if taking your advice leads to damage for a client, they may have grounds to sue you. With professional liability coverage in place, you can worry less about the financial aspects of paying claims.
- Accounts receivable coverage. You likely store important records and data for clients. If your ledgers are damaged, and you're required to research to find the data again or hire someone else to do so, this coverage pays for it.
- Computer breach. The sensitive information you store on your computer is confidential, and clients expect you to protect it. If a data breach occurs, you can handle claims against you and pay out any monetary award granted as a result.
- Worker's compensation coverage. If you have people working for you, then purchasing a worker's compensation policy is essential. This attorney lawyer insurance Massachusetts policy covers loss due to physical injury or sickness that is deemed job-related.
- Employee dishonesty coverage. Because the nature of your business puts clients' confidential information in your hands for safe keeping, it is important to protect your clientele from dishonest employees who might gain access to the information, resulting in your clients' loss.
- Commercial auto insurance. If you own a car, truck, SUV or other vehicle used in your line of work, this vehicle must have commercial auto insurance. For instance, if you drive to a home or hospital to visit an accident victim, the car you drive should have commercial auto insurance coverage, since it is used for work-related travel.
Massachusetts Attorney's And Lawyer's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is often minimal since most operations are conducted off premises and most of the client contact is electronic or by mail. If clients visit the premises, they must be kept in designated areas so they cannot view or overhear conversations regarding other clients' confidential information.
To prevent slips, trips, and falls, all areas accessible to clients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. Procedures must be in place in case mediations or conferences become emotional or violent.
Off-premises exposures arise from meetings at the customer's home or business premises, as well as from court appearances.
Professional liability exposure is extensive depending on the services the lawyer provides, the firm's credentials and experience, and the ratio of professional versus clerical employees. The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials, education, and licensing, permits clerical workers to carry out tasks that only the professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval.
Workers compensation exposure is generally limited to that of an office. Since much of the work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Some firms have significant off-site work for client visits, court appearances, and similar activities. Employees can be injured in an automobile or aviation accident, or from encounters with unruly clients.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. The storage of reference materials and clients' records adds to the fire load. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty, which can be serious as lawyers and their staff possess unique access to customers' property and personal information, including bank accounts. Potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access.
All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Receipts should be issued for any cash payments received. Bank deposits should be made on a timely basis to limit the buildup of cash on premises. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures are accounts receivable if the firm offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for clients' information and law libraries. The law library should be inventoried, with that information stored off site. Wills, deeds, and other customers' papers are typically originals and are difficult to recreate.
A morale hazard may be indicated if the insured does not keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water, and fire. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. Duplicates should be kept off-site to allow for restoration in the event of a loss.
Commercial auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained, and records kept in a central location.
Find out more about attorney lawyer insurance Massachusetts BOP policies by speaking with a licensed MA agent now. A professional agent can help you select the right policy for your needs and custom tailor any add-on riders that you may need to protect your business from loss at all angles.
Massachusetts Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are thinking about starting a business in the Massachusetts, it's important that you have an understanding of the economic trends and commercial insurance requirements in the state before you set up shop.
Economic trends are important, as they indicate whether or not the area offers a strong economy that will be able to support your business. You also need to know what type of commercial insurance you'll need to carry so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that you are complaint with the law.
To help you determine if the Bay State is the right location for the business you are thinking about opening, below, you'll find an overview of MA's current economic trends, as well as the types of insurance policies you'll need to carry.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Massachusetts
Unemployment rate is a good indicator of a state's economy. The lower the rate, the more job opportunities there are, which is direct reflection of the health of businesses.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 2.8% in December, 2019. That's 0.7% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% in December, 2019. This indicates that the state offers a strong workforce and that there are enough jobs to support the residents of the state.
While regions throughout the area are seeing business growth, there are certain areas in particular that are seeing more growth than others. This includes large metropolitan areas and the regions that surround them, including:
- New Bedford
Several industries are doing very well in the state of Massachusetts; however, there are particular sectors that are seeing more growth than others and are truly thriving in this part of the country. These industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Commercial fishing
- Financial services
- Hospitality tourism
- Information technology
- Medicine and life sciences
If you are thinking about starting a business in any of these industries, chances are good that you will find the success you are looking for in the state of Massachusetts.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates insurance in MA. Massachusetts mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Massachusetts requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors, but employees in domestic service must be covered if they work at least 16 hours a week.
Massachusetts also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- Financial Planner
- HR Consultant
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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