Head of Financial and Professional Services, Marsh Speciality Pacific
Regardless of size and breadth of practice, all law firms operate in challenging and increasingly risky business conditions. The work of legal professionals involves a great deal of responsibility, and with it often comes a high degree of exposure.
Our team is composed of specialists with legal industry experience and expertise designing and implementing insurance coverage, including professional indemnity, for law firms. Whatever your firm practices, and however large or small it is, we can help you meet your risk management challenges. We provide the highest possible standard of service and maintain quality at every point of contact. We excel in identifying and helping your firm understand the specific risks of your practice, while working together toward a shared goal of mitigating exposure in a dynamic and adaptable manner.
Law firms around the world share some common risks, including professional indemnity, human resource challenges, cybersecurity, and property risk.
Across these enterprise risks, our key services include:
We discuss your risks and the best insurance solutions to protect your firm, including key objectives and desired outcomes. We agree the insurer selection criteria to drive negotiations.
Data and Analytics
Our vast pool of global data on law firms (including claims) enables us to use an analytical approach to negotiating terms.
Negotiation and Placement
We negotiate directly with a wide range of insurers who underwrite solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance, and other covers, ensuring we are in a strong position to achieve your goals.
All our clients have a dedicated servicing team to provide support with day-to-day requirements and provide a full consultative service throughout the year.
We provide updates on topical issues. If there is an area of concern, we can work with you to deliver targeted training, selecting topics based upon our knowledge of the profession along with your firm’s requirements.
Claims Advocacy and Management
Our claims advocacy and management team can provide advice and support regarding overall claims strategy and individual claims management.
The Australian legal profession has demonstrated remarkable resilience through myriad recent challenges, not least of which is the lasting impact of the pandemic. Many of Australia’s larger law firms continue to see increasing revenues despite the economic environment.
Notwithstanding this positive outlook, there are significant challenges facing the legal sector in Australia, including attracting and retaining talent, utilising technology to make work practices more efficient and deliver value to clients, and an increasing awareness of and focus on Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues.
Whether you are a sole practitioner or part of a top-tier firm, Marsh has the expertise and legal industry experience to help you meet your risk management challenges.
Sole Practitioners and Small Law Firms
Our highly experienced team helps ensure you get the right answers. Whether your question refers to changes in your practice, a potential claim, or improving your risk management, we can help provide peace of mind, having negotiated exclusive facilities with a panel of "A" rated insurers. Our focus is on ensuring you receive prompt and competitive quotations.
Marsh can offer a wide range of flexible premium payment options to suit you, and we can also provide solutions for after the event, office, management liabilities, motor, defective title, household, and travel insurance.
Midsize Law Firms
Our team has built a long-term and loyal client base of midsize law firms that value our knowledge, capabilities, positive attitude and ability to deliver the right solutions. As part of our service, experts who fully understand legal practice also provide clients bespoke risk management seminars on timely legal issues.
Large Law Firms
Current appointed broker to 6 out of 8 of Australia’s largest law firms, Marsh has the demonstrated expertise and capabilities in this area.
Marsh is the leading insurance broker and risk advisor for top-tier law firms based on our market share and capability in Australia and globally. We have dedicated concerted effort and significant resources to developing specific expertise in the areas of professional indemnity insurance, people risk and related products and advisory services for professional service firms to an extent surpassing our competitors.
We understand market dynamics and movements both locally and globally, regularly connecting with our specialty legal sector practices in the UK and US to share key insights and develop best practice based on the market trends and conditions we observe. Where appropriate we can help structure your risk and insurance program for the future and potentially identify new business opportunities for your firm.
Professional Indemnity is the only mandatory insurance. There is a compulsory PI limit of $2m, which is provided by relevant regulatory bodies of legal practitioners in each state:
While technically not compulsory to operate, the following are the usual classes of business insurance most law firms purchase:
Top-Up PI is the Professional Indemnity coverage a law firm elects to take on top of the compulsory layer taken with their state regulator. Although not compulsory, most Australian law firms purchase some level of top up professional indemnity insurance for additional protection, as the compulsory $2m cover is generally perceived to be inadequate for full protection against a law firm’s legal liabilities.
Defence costs can accumulate significantly when a claim is brought against the firm for an alleged error or omission, especially when it involves a large or complex transaction, which can have a severe impact on the firm’s financial health if the claim erodes the $2m limit.
When considering the appropriate limit, it is imperative to account for the size of the firm, practice areas, jurisdictional standards and the limits required in various contracts for service. Marsh can guide you through this assessment and decision-making process.
It is optional; however most Australian law firms purchase some level of top up professional indemnity insurance for additional protection.
Professional service firms have continued to be an attractive target for cyber criminals with an increasing prevalence of cyberattacks on law firms in recent months. Law firms are key targets for cyber criminals due to the very nature of their work, sensitivity of data and the abundance of third-party information held on their systems.
There are a number of key issues for law firms, such as sensitive data risk, money transfer risk, identity fraud, and data destruction. Reputational and legal liability concerns have arisen mainly in the above areas. This has led to regulatory concern about possible capital adequacy of insurers arising from aggregated cyber risk due to wide language in various policies, which can be known as “silent cyber”, and has resulted in insurers attempting to remove uncertainty by making language clearly “affirmative” or non-affirmative by applying a cyber-exclusion endorsement to their Professional Indemnity policies.
In Marsh’s portfolio, we have observed the most common source of D&O and management liability claims for law firms arise from employment-related issues. Traditionally, unfair dismissal and harassment type matters have been brought against the policyholder rather than insured persons; however the fallout from #metoo has resulted in more claims being brought against boards and senior management for failing to ensure adequate protection procedures are in place to prevent these incidents from occurring.
Additionally, for the legal industry we have observed an increased focus on the management of graduate working hours, which has resulted in some regulatory investigations for which investigation and legal costs may be covered by D&O policies if an insured person is required to provide evidence to an official body.