Lawcovernotes October 2013

Lvl 12, 580 George St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia DX 11527 Sydney Downtown Telephone (02) 9264 8855 | Facsimile (02) 9264 8844 | Lawcover Pty Ltd | ABN 48 003 326 618 Lawcover Insurance Pty Ltd | ABN 15 095 082 509 Welcome Welcome to our second edition of LawcoverNotes – a magazine which we hope is relevant and useful to you. Once again the content is mainly related to our CautionaryNotes, or as some call them – ‘war stories’. OCTOBER 2013 EDITION 2 We publish these ‘war stories’ because they provide real examples of the day-to-day pitfalls facing legal practitioners as they conduct their practice.We alsopublish thembecauseof feedbackwe receive that they are not only interesting to read, but that they provide useful take-outs and reminders which assist lawyers to be vigilant against oversight or omission. Over many years in professional indemnity insurance, one of the common questions I am asked relates to the predictability of claims being made against professionals. This is often asked from the personal viewpoint of a particular individual trying to assess his or her own risk. Such questions sometimes reveal a lack of awareness that an individual’s approach to risk can provide an invisible safeguard from complaints or claims. Professionalism and good riskmanagement strategies can and do reduce the risk of claims and we have compelling evidence of the veracity of that. However on the flip side there is one unfortunate ‘Murphy’s Law’ style principle: ‘Bad things sometimes happen to good people’ This is the reason we all buy insurance. The most careful drivers in the world can have car accidents – themost secure houses can be burgled. Regrettably themost diligent lawyers can also, at some time face claims. The consequences of a claim are not just financial. There are also reputational risks and risks to personal wellbeing. Our focus isn’t just insuring against the financial consequences of claims, we also seek to protect a law practice’s reputation and to take the stress and worry out of the conduct of a claim so our insured lawyers can continue with their practice. Preventative strategies to help lower the risk of claims being made against law practices and lawyers is also a top priority at Lawcover. In this issue is a brief introduction to our Professional Services by Chief Operations Officer Kerrie Lalich (page 3). A key focus for our work in this important area of Lawcover is to improve service standards and value while continuing to put downward pressure on claims and costs of claims. In some ways that sounds a little counter-intuitive, however that is our commitment and the equation is relatively straightforward. Since assuming the role of CEO in September 2012, I have been fortunate to travel to both regional and metropolitan events and meet many of our insured lawyers. My objective has been to provide insight into how premiums are developed, what the key cost-drivers are and how Lawcover is committed to working with the profession to keep downward pressure on those premiums. We have compelling evidence that our comprehensive risk management and claims prevention programs are having a positive impact on both frequency and costs associated with claims. We continue to actively assess our internal work practices and to work closely with our legal Panel firms to develop more pro-active, efficient and cost-effective ways of managing and resolving claims. Through all our activities on behalf of the profession, our aim is to put downward pressure on frequency and cost of claims and as a consequence provide predictability and affordability to the premiums you pay. Michael Halliday Chief Executive Officer