Do you know who your insurance carrier is? As an attorney, not much seems worse than facing a claim against you or your firm. Having a financially sound and dependable carrier, however, can make all the difference during such a stressful time.
Knowing that insurance professionals are managing the defense of the claim and that your carrier will be there to fund any settlement or judgment against you is essential for your peace of mind. Make certain that you can count on your carrier when you need to do so. Consider these three elements before selecting a dependable insurance carrier:
First, the financial strength rating of the carrier is very important. One rating to examine is a carrier’s A.M. Best Company rating. A.M. Best Company is a global credit rating agency serving the insurance industry. It is a source for an independent opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s are also rating agencies equally respected in the market, although they issue ratings for a broader range of industries and do not focus solely on the insurance industry.
Second, the financial size of the carrier can be found by examining a purely objective rating that reports on the size of the policyholder surplus. For example, using the A.M. Best Company website, the financial size of the carrier can be found by clicking the “AMB#” to the left of the carrier’s financial rating. The categories start from less than one million, and can range to over $2 billion. Obviously, less surplus money indicates less money to pay claims when needed.
Every renewal notice should serve as a reminder to conduct a yearly investigation into trending topics and recent developments. If a carrier is in the news for failing to pay claims or for poor claims service, or if there has been a change in its financial size or a downgrade in rating, it may not be wise to bind coverage with that carrier. Your insurance agent should also be aware of any changes in the rating of a carrier and should be able to supply you with further information about its status.
Look into how long the carrier has been in business and, specifically, how long it has been insuring business owners in your industry. Knowing the carrier is in the business for the long run is very important to ensure coverage for all reported claims. Cheaper rates may indicate that the carrier has a short-term focus. Overly competitive rates may actually indicate that a carrier is not pricing adequately for a variety of reasons. Under these circumstances, a carrier may be unable to keep those low rates without either aggressively decreasing surplus, raising rates or sliding into insolvency.
The New York City Bar Insurance Program Carrier
Through the New York City Bar Insurance Program, administered by Lockton Affinity, you have access to coverage through Berkley Select. Berkley Select is a Berkley Company. W. R. Berkley, founded in 1967, is one of the nation’s premier commercial lines property casualty insurance providers.
W. R. Berkley and its subsidiaries are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, Financial Size Category XV and Rated A+ (Strong) by Standard & Poor’s.
Through coverage with Lockton Affinity and Berkley Select, you can be assured your carrier will be there to fund any settlement or judgment against you is essential for your peace of mind.