With effect from October 2010 all law firms were required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance as in accordance with the Bermuda Bar Act 1974 & Bermuda Bar (Insurance) Rules 2009. FMG has established a dedicated scheme providing preferred coverage to Bermuda Law Firms.
An added benefit includes local servicing and support provided by FMG. This scheme utilizes a simplified proposal form format to alleviate the administrative burden normally associated with insurance applications. It is recommended that applications to FMG are submitted 30 days in advance of the law firm’s renewal. To simplify the application process for Practicing Certificate renewals, FMG provides the Bar Association with a list of firms who currently hold insurance with them. It is important that firms be aware that FMG are expected to notify the Bermuda Bar Association when any firm’s insurance has lapsed or non-renewed.
Firms are encouraged to take a moment to check the renewal date of policy as the responsibility remains with the policy holder to hold insurance at all times and in accordance with the rules. Please also ensure that your premium is paid to date as you can run the risk of not having valid insurance coverage. Additionally, it is not recommended that law firms, if taking time out for medical leave, or extended vacation etc., let their Professional Indemnity policy lapse, as the firm will not be covered. If a claim was made against the firm when coverage had lapsed, the firm will not have insurance protection and this could leave your personal assets exposed. If firms elect not to renew the policy, and then wish to pick up where they left off at a later date, the insurer is less likely to participate again as the firm will have increased the risk of liability. It is not common practice to put ‘Claims Made’ policies on hold to re-instate later. Remember, the relationship between the Insured and Insurer is based upon the duty of utmost good faith and it is important that those seeking insurance should provide full disclosure of all material facts to insurers.
FMG created a Claims Procedures document which is a basic 1 Page Guideline for Professional Indemnity Insurance Claims/Circumstances Notification procedures in respect of Bermuda Bar member firms. It’s a document which will be useful to member firms who purchase insurance through FMG. Terms and conditions may vary slightly regarding notifications.