Posts Tagged ‘Cyber Liability’

How does Cyber Security Impact Your Law Firm?

October 4, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security has declared October National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  Unfortunately, cyber security can have more impact on your firm than you might like to admit. From international organized crime’s perspective, your law firm is a soft target. Depending on your areas of practice, there can be substantial amounts of personally identifiable non-public information in your files that may be extremely valuable to the criminal organizations that hack and hijack American computers. Family, estate, business, securities and intellectual property firms are particularly good targets.

What can you do?  Ask your network support people about encrypting data at rest, encrypting mobile devices and a hardware firewall. Many firms imagine they have a real firewall when all they have is firewall software. Some studies indicate firewall software is less than 10% effective. Most firms have bad security because they don’t know what to ask for and network support services hesitate to recommend upgrades that would make their services less price competitive.

Does professional liability insurance cover your risk? While some professional liability policies include network security/data breach in the professional liability limit, there are problems with this approach. While such coverage is definitely better than nothing, the scope and breadth of the coverage is extremely limited compared to a good stand alone cyber security policy. For firms that have the resources to afford the modest cost of a specialty policy, I highly recommend it, even if the professional liability or general office policy includes a cyber coverage feature.

For more information about the coverage provided by your current policies and options that may be available, talk to your agent or give me a call at 732-223-6611 ext. 108.

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC is the Professional Liability Program Manager with John B. Wright Insurance. He has been interviewed by the national press (most recently National Underwriter, October 2013) and has been featured expert on nationally syndicated radio. You can check learn more at www.LawFirmInsuranceExpert.com.

Advertisements

What Are They Asking?

September 12, 2012

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC

This question came in from a firm administrator, “On the Real Estate Practice Supplement, when they ask for the average value on real estate transactions, do they mean  the value of homes bought & sold or value of fees that we charged for the closing we handled?”

The insurance company wants the value of the property. Professional claims in the Real Estate Area of Practice generally relate to the value of the property in question. Real Estate attorneys in areas with substantially higher home values (Alpine, NJ, Sagaponack, NY, Greenwich, CT and so forth) represent a higher risk to the insurance company.

For more information or to ask a question of your own, contact me at www.LawFirmInsuranceExpert.com.

The Client Wants to be Named on Your Policy

April 12, 2012

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC
Professional Liability
Program Manger,
John B. Wright Insurance

If a client asks to be named additional insured on your firm’s professional liability policy, don’t just say okay and have the office manager call your agent.   Making a client an additional insured allows the carrier to invoke the insured versus insured exclusion. The following policy wording is typical:

 

EXCLUSIONS

This insurance does not apply to claims:

4. Made by one insured under this policy against another insured under this policy.

 

The additional insured endorsement is normally used to make an over contractor an insured on a subcontractor’s policy, to protect the over contractor from claims made by third parties, where the over contractor may have vicarious liability for the subcontractor’s negligence. In the attorney client relationship, the client (rather than a third party) is by far the most likely claimant. Further, most clients are not attorneys so they have no professional liability exposure. The additional insured endorsement serves only to exclude coverage for the most likely claimant, the client.

 

Each situation is different. If you have specific questions contact your agent or give me a call.

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC is the Professional Liability Program Manager with John B. Wright Insurance. You can check him out at http://www.LawFirmInsuranceExpert.com. For a consultation call 732-223-6611 ext. 108.

Is Our Firm Covered if Somebody Hacks Our Files?

December 7, 2011

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC

While most professional office policies include coverage to reconstruct paper or electronic records, there are bigger risks they don’t insure. Every day there are stories in the news about a business being hacked or exposing client or personnel information through human error. Most firms don’t process credit cards or collect social security numbers; but, identity thieves can piece together seemingly innocuous information to commit fraud. Privileged and confidential information can be used for cyber extortion.

A data breach can compel the firm to report the incident to government agencies, provide notification and credit monitoring to all victims whose data may have been compromised and the firm may be required to set up a web-site and phone bank to assist those whose identities are at risk. This applies even if the records did not include credit card information or social security numbers. The cost of notification and credit monitoring is about $200 per identity. This cost does not include the firm’s liability for damages based on release of client data.

Though most insurance policies don’t cover what is referred to as data breach, cyber liability or privacy liability; it doesn’t mean you can’t secure coverage for your firm. Policies are now available at a wide variety price points to address the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands.

For more information about the coverage provided by your current policies and options that may be available, talk to your agent or give me a call at 732-223-6611 ext. 108.

Kelan J. Vorbach, CIC is the Professional Liability Program Manager with John B. Wright Insurance. You can check him out at www.LawFirmInsuranceExpert.com.