Lawyer Insurance

David D. Hudgins, Chair

ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company is the VSB’s endorsed professional liability insurance carrier.  The Special Committee on Lawyer Insurance (LIC) continued its overview of ALPS’s risk management endeavors and oversight of the VSB Members’ Insurance Center’s efforts to help VSB lawyers obtain and manage personal (health, life and disability) insurance.   

The LIC met 4 times in FY2018-2019:

            September 18, 2018    Belle Haven Country Club, Fairfax, VA

            November 29, 2018    VSB, 1111 E. Main St., Suite 700, Richmond, VA   

            February 21, 2019       Via teleconference      

            May 16, 2019              VSB, 1111 E. Main St., Suite 700, Richmond, VA

 

VSB Members’ Insurance Center

The VSB Members’ Insurance Center, led by Bob Spicknall, continues to enroll small law firms, often with only one employee, in health insurance.  Since the fall of 2018, it established approximately 120 new groups totaling 226 insureds.  These people now benefit from group health insurance that costs far less than individual health insurance.  Bob reported in late April of 2018 that Virginia Senate Bill No. 672 had passed, which revises the definition of “small employer” for purposes of health insurance to include a self-employed person, effective July 1, 2018.  Mr. Spicknall reported at the May 2019 meeting a 25% growth in the number of plan participants in the VSB Prudential Life Insurance Plan in the last 15 months.  Bob specifically noted that “the infusion of new, healthy, underwritten people [in the program] improves the overall risk composition of the VSB Life Plan.”  He also reported that the overall plan did not receive a rate increase from Prudential.  In addition, the VSB Disability Plan will not see a rate increase at the July 1, 2019 renewal date.

ALPS and Lawyer Malpractice Insurance

ALPS operates on a calendar-year basis.  As of December 31, 2018, there were 1,912 Virginia firms insured by ALPS, out of a total of 7,041 ALPS firms nationwide, and 3,943 Virginia lawyers, out of a total of 15,970 lawyers insured by ALPS nationwide. Gross written premium written in Virginia was $9,831,565; net written premium was $6,606,641.  Net combined ratio in Virginia as of 12/31/2018 was 119.42%; claims frequency was 3.67 in Virginia.  Net combined ratio for ALPS overall was 99.91% as of 12/31/2018 with a claims frequency of 3.66%, and ALPS posted assets of $125,899,461 with policyholder surplus of $41,741,263.  

For the first quarter of 2019, ALPS’ Virginia book had $3.5 million of gross written premium and net written premium of $2.4 million.  Virginia’s net combined ratio was 79.87%, compared to ALPS 94.80%.  ALPS total number of insured law firms nationwide in the first quarter of 2019 was 2,411 and 5,364 lawyers, of which Virginia insured law firms were 605 and insured attorneys were 1,427.  As of March 31, 2019, claims frequency was 2.94% in Virginia compared to 3.36% for ALPS, and ALPS posted assets of $126,815,429 with policyholder surplus of $41,600,440.  

2018 Local Bar Grant Report
In December 2018, Chris Newbold of ALPS and the Grant Subcommittee of the VSB Lawyer Insurance Committee met and made decisions on which local bars were to be given grants and in what amounts.  Five organizations made applications for grants.  All received grants, but not all were given the full amount:

Local Bar Grant Pool

 

 

Amt requested

Amt awarded

Virginia Women’s Bar-Louden Chapter

Legal Aid Clinics

Leesburg

$200

$200

Roanoke Bar Association

Bench-Bar Conference

Roanoke

$1250

$1250

Prince William County Bar

YL & Tech Program

Manassas

$2450

$1200

VACDL

YL/Student Wellness Seminar

Abingdon

$4000

$3500

Washington County Bar Association

Small Firm Conference and R…

Abingdon

$4000

$4000

 

 

 

 

 

Budget amount

$15,000

 

 

 

$10,150 total awarded

 

Amendment to the VSB/ALPS Endorsement Agreement

The VSB and ALPS has been operating under the same endorsement agreement since 2000, which renews annually.  At the request of ALPS, a minor change was made to the agreement to let ALPS Virginia employees telecommute from their homes in Richmond.  The Lawyers Insurance Committee agreed to the changes, which were then approved by Council at its October 2019 meeting.  The changes are indicated by strikethroughs for deletions and underlining for additions:

12.       Personnel and Staffing

ALPS agrees to provide appropriate team support to staff and administer the Program.  It is  understood that suchsomestaff will work out of ALPS home office,and maintain a physical presence will be maintainedin Virginia as deemed appropriate and necessary.  When the gross written premium on the Virginia book of business reaches $3,000,000, or on January 1, 2002, whichever occurs first,Unless otherwise agreed by the Committee and ALPS, ALPS willhire and retain on its staff in Virginiaat least one claims attorney residing and licensed to practice in Virginia,.and  ALPS will hire and retain on itsstaffestablish an office in Virginiasuch other employees residing in Virginia as are necessary for purposes oftoserviceingthe Program and, as ALPS management deems appropriate, such other parts of ALPS operation.as ALPS management determines appropriate.  The parties further agree that coincident with staffing such office ALPS will recruit and place in training at least one claims attorney who is licensed to practice in the state of Virginia, and who will be assigned to the Virginia Office upon completion of training.  The VSB Executive Director and ALPS will cooperate in determining when it will be appropriate to staff the Virginia Office.,

Paragraph 12 of the ALPS agreement now reads as follows:

12.       Personnel and Staffing

ALPS agrees to provide appropriate team support to staff and administer the Program.  It is understood that some staff will work out of ALPS home office, and a physical presence will be maintained in Virginia as deemed appropriate and necessary.  Unless otherwise agreed by the Committee and ALPS, ALPS will hire and retain on its staff at least one claims attorney residing and licensed to practice in Virginia.  ALPS will hire and retain such other employees residing in Virginia as are necessary to service the Program and, as ALPS management deems appropriate, such other parts of ALPS operation.

The ALPS staff located in Virginia remains the same.  Chris Newbold, ALPS Executive Vice President, continues to attend the “live” LIC meetings in Virginia.  Alison Riley has replaced Amy Esp has the ALPS support person for the CLE tour.  

Risk Management Report for Calendar Year 2018
The risk management budget, pursuant to the endorsement agreement between ALPS and the VSB, is 3% of gross written premium. ALPS maintains the risk management funds in its accounts pursuant to the endorsement agreement.  The budget for calendar year 2018 was $287,395 with additional revenue of $12,300 attributed to non-ALPS attendee revenue from the Fall Tour, for a total of $299,695.  Expenses for calendar year 2018 came in at $298,950.68.  

Report regarding the Fall ALPS 2018 Tour
Registration for 2018 was a total of 1,738, down from 2,017 in 2017.  Attendees for the Fall 2018 tour totaled 1,510, which amounted to an average 80% attendance rate (versus those registered) across all venues.  This is consistent with a downward trend for the last three years.  The committee discussed what could be contributing to this trend:  proliferation of CLEs by many providers at reduced costs; many programs have ethics integrated with subject matter relevant to attorneys’ practices. People did not like the change this year from the vignette format; 3 straight hours of listening to talking heads was boring, as opposed to the previous format of 1 hour of small group discussions used to break up the format.

On–Demand Programming 4thQuarter 2018
As of December 31, 2018, 15 programs existed in the Virginia on-demand library.   They ranged in length from 45 minutes to three hours.   Charges for the on-demand seminars were as follows:  programs for one-hour program, $35 for insureds, $65 for non-insureds; two-hour programs, $45 for insured, $75 for non-insured; and three-hour programs $60 for insureds, $90 for non-insured.   

Quarterly Result Q4: In Q4, ALPS had 238 Virginia registrants for on-demand programs, with 183 ALPS insureds and 55 non-insured. 

Calendar YTD Result 2018: there were 528 Virginia registrants for on-demand programs, with 402 ALPS insureds and 126 non-insureds.

Risk Management Budget for Calendar Year 2019
The approved 2019 risk management budget is as follows:

Revenue:

ALPS 3% contribution:                                              $284,141

Non-ALPS attendee revenue from Fall Tour:            $    9,700

Total revenue projection:                                           $293,841

 

Expenses:                                                                    $293,900

Expenses amount to $82,215.98 through March 31, 2019

On-Demand Programming 1stQuarter 2019
As of March 31, 2019, 15 programs exist in the Virginia on-demand library.   They range in length from 45 minutes to three hours.   Charges for the on-demand seminars are as follows:  programs for one-hour program, $40 for insureds, $70 for non-insureds; two-hour programs, $50 for insured, $80 for non-insured; and three-hour programs $70 for insureds, $100 for non-insured.   

Quarterly Result Q1: In Q1 2019, ALPS had 47 Virginia registrants for on-demand programs, with 33 ALPS insureds and 14 non-insured. 

On-Demand Programming 2nd Quarter 2019

As of June 30, 2019, 16 programs exist in the Virginia on-demand library. They range in length from 45 minutes to three hours. Charges for the on-demand seminars are as follows: programs for one-hour program, $40 for insureds, $70 for non-insureds; two-hour programs, $50 for insured, $80 for non-insured; and three-hour programs $70 for insureds, $100 for non-insured.

Quarterly Result Q2: In Q2 2019, ALPS had 13 Virginia registrants for on-demand programs, with 9 ALPS insureds and 4 non-insured.

Cumulative Fiscal YTD Result as of June 30, 2019:  ALPS had 60 Virginia registrants for ALPS on-demand programs, with 42 ALPS insureds and 18 non-insured.

Webinar Programming 4thQuarter 2018

On October 10th ALPS did “How Long Do We Need to Keep Client Files?” This was presented by Mark Bassingthwaite.  There were 52 Virginia registrants, with 36 insureds and 16 non-insured.

On November 14thALPS did its fourth New Lawyer webinar of the year, “10 More Things I Wish I’d Learned in Law School.” This was presented by Mark Bassingthwaite. There were 12 Virginia registrants, with 6 insureds and 6 non-insured.

Quarterly Result 4thQ 2018: In Q4, there were 219 Virginia registrants for webinars, with 163 ALPS insureds and 56 non-insured. 

Calendar YTD Result 2018: For calendar year 2018, there were 484 Virginia registrants for ALPS webinars, with 375 ALPS insureds and 109 non-insured.  

Webinar Programming 1stQuarter 2019
In Q1 2019, ALPS did two webinars:  On January 16, Mark Bassingthwaite presented, “Succession Planning: Managing the Transition from Start to Finish.” ALPS had 59 registrants, with 48 insureds and 11 non-insured.

On February 20, Mark Bassingthwaite and ALPS Claims Attorney Martha Amrine presented, “What Every Lawyer is Terrible At, Except You, Right?”  ALPS had 23 registrants, with 22 insureds and 1 non-insured.

Quarterly Result: In Q1 2019, there were 95 Virginia registrants for ALPS webinars, with 78 ALPS insureds and 17 non-insured.  

Webinar Programming 2ndQuarter 2019:  

In Q2, three ALPS webinars were given: “Cybersecurity: How to Protect Yourself and Keep the Hackers at Bay” (April 17, hosted by Mark Bassingthwaite); “Why Making a Personal Wellness Pledge is Good for You and for Business’ (May 15, hosted by founder of Acheloa Wellness and CPA Lauren Baptiste); and “The Bar Report”’ (June 26, hosted by Mark Bassingthwaite and an ALPS Claims Attorney) (This webinar used two of the vignettes from the 2018 VA CLE tour). 

ALPS also broadcast a live replay of two previously recorded webinars, “Malpractice Avoidance: Common Missteps Lawyers Make” on April 18, 2019 and “Malpractice Avoidance II: More Common Missteps Lawyers Make on May 23, 2018.” Mark Bassingthwaite was on hand to answer questions at the end. 

Quarterly Result Q2 2019: In Q2, there were 46 Virginia registrants for webinars, with 40 ALPS insureds and 6 non-insured.

Cumulative Fiscal YTD Result as of June 30, 2019:  YTD, there were 141 Virginia registrants for webinars, with 118 ALPS insureds and 23 non-insured.

Fall 2019 CLE Tour:

The planned schedule of events and locations is below. 

Date

Location/time

Venue

17-Sep

Charlottesville AM

DoubleTree by Hilton

18-Sep

Fairfax AM

Waterford at Fair Oaks

18-Sep

Fairfax PM

Waterford at Fair Oaks

19-Sep

DAY OFF

 

20-Sep

Virginia Beach PM

Virginia Beach Convention Center

21-Sep

Newport News AM

Marriott At City Center

     

1-Oct

Chesapeake AM

Chesapeake Conference Center

2-Oct

Roanoke AM

Holiday Inn Tanglewood

3-Oct

Alexandria PM

George Washington Masonic Memorial

4-Oct

Manassas AM

GMU Prince William Campus

5-Oct

Richmond AM

Richmond Convention Center

5-Oct

Richmond PM

Richmond Convention Center

 

 

2019-2020 Meeting Schedule 

September 18, 2019                Belle Haven Country Club                 12 noon (lunch 11:30 am)
                                                6023 Fox Hunt Road, Alexandria VA

                                                (After ALPS Fall Tour)

 

November 20, 2019                Virginia State Bar                               1 pm (lunch at 12:30 pm)

                                                1111 E. Main St., Richmond VA

 

February 20, 2010                   By phone                                             1 pm

 

May 14, 2020                          Virginia State Bar                               1 pm (lunch at 12:30 pm)
                                                1111 E. Main St., Richmond VA

Updated: Jul 02, 2019