Lawyer Insurance

David D. Hudgins, Chair

* The Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance was renamed Special Committee on Lawyer Insurance on May 11, 2017.

ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company is the VSB’s endorsed professional liability insurance carrier.  The Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance (LMIC)(renamed LIC effective 5/11/2017) continued its overview of ALPS’s risk management endeavors during FY2016-2017.  

At its first meeting in FY2017, on September 16, 2016, it was reported that ALPS successfully concluded its transition from a Risk Retention Group under the federal Liability Risk Retention Act to a fully admitted carrier in all states it does business.  Policyholders benefited with the change in status by the availability of state guarantee funds, state regulation (the Virginia State Corporation Commission / Bureau of Insurance), new opportunities to serve law firms via other lines of insurance, and new avenues for strategic growth when desirable.  ALPS reduced its total number of shareholders from approximately 1,200 to less than 500 via a 600-to-1 reverse stock split.  All fractional shares less than one full share were in effect redeemed by ALPS. 

In addition to the September 2016 meeting, the LMIC met on November 15, 2016, February 21, 2017, and May 11, 2017 in FY2017.  At each of those meetings, the LMIC received a report from Chris Newbold, Executive Vice President regarding ALPS overall results, ALPS results in Virginia and Virginia risk management activities.  As reported at the May 2017 meeting, at the end of the second quarter of 2017, ALPS posted assets of $115,128,466 with policyholder surplus of $39,212,781.  The Virginia book had $3.5 million of gross written premium and net written premium of $2.3 million.  Virginia’s net combined ratio through the second quarter of 2017 was 55.23%, compared to ALPS 93.68%.  Virginia insured law firms were 1,367 and insured attorneys stood at 604, out of ALPS total insured law firms of 4,623 and 1,947 lawyers.  Claims frequency was 2.56% in Virginia compared to 2.49% through the second quarter for ALPS overall. 


Risk Management Programming

Risk management revenue for calendar year 2017 was budgeted to be $312,776 (ALPS 3% contribution = $289,606; Non-ALPS attendees at Fall Ethics Tour = $23,170). Total expenses are budgeted at $312,740, to support a variety of ALPS risk management activities in Virginia.  The 3% is a condition of ALPS endorsement agreement with the Virginia State Bar, permitted by statute.  The money is held and spent by ALPS in a risk management program in Virginia overseen by the VSB Special Committee on Lawyer Insurance.

As of the end of the second quarter of 2017, expenses amounted to $79,864.22.  Revenue stood at $72,437.91.  The risk management budget will support the following programs during calendar year 2017:

On–Demand Programing:  Currently, 16 programs exist in the Virginia on-demand library.   They range in length from 45 min to three hours.   New on-demand programs have been added throughout the year. Charges for the on-demand seminars are as follows:  programs for one hour $35 for insureds, $65 for non-insureds; two hour programs $45 for insured, $75 for non-insured; and three hour programs $60 for insureds, and $90 for non-insured.   Course listing can be viewed at:

Quarterly Result: In Q1, ALPS had 87 VA registrants for on-demand programs, with 85 ALPS insureds and 2 non-insured. 

YTD Result: YTD, ALPS had 87 VA registrants for on-demand programs, with 85 ALPS insureds and 2 non-insured. 


Webinar Programming:

In Q1 ALPS did one webinar. 

On February 22nd ALPS did Exploring Common Business Relationships Between Lawyers. This was presented by Mark Bassingthwaite.  There were registrants, with 35 insureds and 2 non-insureds.

Quarterly Result: In Q1, ALPS had 48 VA registrants for Webinars, with 45 ALPS insureds and 3 non-insured. 

YTD Result: YTD, ALPS had 48 VA registrants for Webinars, with 45 ALPS insureds and 3 non-insured. 


Webinars Scheduled: 

In Q2 ALPS will be doing two webinars:

  • Digital Forensics on May 3rd presented by Sherri Davidoff of LMG Securities.
  • The Top Technology Traps on June 14th will be presented by Mark Bassingthwaite


Fall CLE  Tour:

ALPS has started preliminary work on the 2017 fall tour.  Here are the dates and locations:

  • 9/25 – Virginia Beach PM
  • 9/26 – Richmond AM & PM 
  • 9/27 – Charlottesville PM
  • 9/28 – Alexandria AM & PM (LMIC meeting will coincide with this event)
  • 9/29 – Manassas AM
  • 10/9 -  Roanoke AM Newport News PM
  • 10/10 – Fairfax AM & PM
  • 10/5 – Newport News PM
  • 10/6 – Chesapeake AM

ALPS has made an effort to hit all of the main areas of the state again this year, in each week.  All of these venues are booked. The script is completed and filming of the vignettes took place in April.  ALPS has the final versions in hand now. The Ethics committee will work with Mark to develop the answer set in Q2.


Spring 2017 Tour

The Spring tour happened as follows:

  • 3/27 - Abingdon: 50 total registered – 38 attendees + 9 walk ins, 12 no shows
  • 3/28 - Danville: 15 total registered – 11 attendees + 1 walk in, 4 no shows
  • 3/29 - Lynchburg: 31 total registered – 22 attendees + 6 walk ins, 9 no shows
  • 3/30 - Fredericksburg: 65 total registered – 39 attendees +7 walk ins, 26 no shows

Total: 161 total registered – 100 attendees + 23 walk-ins, 51 no shows

This was a repeat of last fall’s tour program and included Jim McCauley and Seth Guggenheim from the VSB Ethics Committee and a local attorney on the panel with Mark B. The feedback from these events was positive from the attendees.  Jim McCauley expressed concern about the low number of attendees in Danville. It was decided not to do the Spring tour next year because of the relatively high cost, the VSB’s reluctance to commit Jim McCauley’s time to the program, and the low number of attendees.


Local Programs and Events:  



2.0 hr


Malp Avoidance and Conflicts

Wise County Bar

Cameron Bell


VSB TechShow took place on April 24, 2017.  ALPS contribution of $30,000 from the Risk Management Fund was used to supplement technology at the Richmond Convention center.


Mission Statement Amended and Committee Name Changed

In addition to its usual business at the May 2017 meeting, the LMIC took up the issue of amending its mission statement.  The Special Committee on Personal Insurance was sunsetted by the Executive Committee in April 2017 due to lack of activity.  Accordingly, the LMIC’s mission was expanded to incorporate the reports of Robert Spicknall, who is president of the Virginia State Bar Members’ Insurance Center.  The Lawyer Malpractice Insurance Committee was renamed the Lawyer Insurance Committee, “LIC”, to reflect the change in its responsibilities.  The LIC’s mission was amended to include the responsibility of oversight of the VSB Life and Disability Plans and activities related to assisting members of the VSB in procuring medical insurance plans.  In providing this oversight, the LIC will make recommendations, when needed, to the Executive Committee and to Bar Council as to what individual or firm should serve as a personal insurance liaison for the VSB. 


Upcoming Meeting Dates

9/28/2017        Belle Haven Country Club

11/30/2017      VSB Board Room                  

2/15/2018        VSB Board Room                  

5/10/2018        VSB Board Room                  

Updated: Jul 13, 2017