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LAWPRO celebrates 20 years operating primary program

Quick summary:

  • base premium for 2015: $3,350 (unchanged since 2011)
  • expanded range of programs approved for LAWPRO Risk

Management Credit (RMC)

  • paralegal partners now eligible for RMC savings
  • expanded policy definitions for “employee” and “prescribed penalties”
  • clarification of coverage for the work of non-licensee professionals in Multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs)

Five years of premium stability

As we prepare for the 20th anniversary of the LAWPRO program in 2015, we are pleased to announce that, for the fifth year in a row, the LAWPRO base premium will be $3,350.

The depth of our underwriting experience, good investment returns and plateauing claims have allowed LAWPRO to keep premiums stable despite annual claims costs of nearly $100 million (including internal claims handling expenses).

While we cannot escape external pressures (such as changes coming to our solvency test, the Minimum Capital Test), we remain committed to the prudent claims management, cost containment and risk-rating approaches that have supported our financial stability over the last 20 years.

LAWPRO Risk Management Credit eligibility expanded

The LAWPRO Risk Management Credit (RMC) program has proven successful in encouraging lawyers’ participation in continuing professional development (CPD) programs with a risk-management focus. Because maintaining good mental health and coping well with stress helps lawyers avoid claims, LAWPRO contributes financially to the Law Society’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) administered by Homewood Human Solutions (HHS). As of 2015, certain e-learning courses offered on the HHS site will now be approved for the RMC credit. Approved programs address issues including managing stress, managing alcohol and substance consumption, coping with financial pressures, and managing working relationships.

Also, paralegal licensees who work in partnership with lawyers are eligible, as of September 16, 2014, to earn the RMC for approved CPD programs they attend, which will allow them to save up to $100 on their 2016 premiums.

Lawyers employed part-time for one employer now also “employees”

To support consistent and fair coverage of claims based on the work of employee lawyers, the definition of “employee” under the policy has been expanded to include all employees who provide professional services for one employer, whether they do so on a full-time or part-time basis.

Fines for non-disclosure under s. 237.3 of Income Tax Act now “prescribed penalties”

Section 237.3 of the Income Tax Act (ITA) has some potential to impose penalties on lawyers for non-disclosure of transactions alleged to offend the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR). As with certain other penalties, to ensure that effective investigation and defence cost protection of up to $100,00 is available to lawyers who successfully defend such penalties assessed (upon final resolution), the definition of “prescribed penalties” under the policy has been expanded to include penalties charged under s. 237.3 of the ITA.

Clarification of coverage for non-licensee professionals in multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs)

The policy has been amended for greater clarity to describe the scope of work performed by non-licensee professionals in multidisciplinary is limited to:

  • the practice of the non-licensee’s profession, trade, or occupation that supports or supplements the practice of the Law of Canada
  • services performed for, or on behalf of, the MDP
  • services provided or which ought to have been provided within Canada, and • claims or civil suits brought on their merits in Canada.

New cancellation and extended notice period provisions

Cancellation and extended notice period provisions regarding paralegal partners in combined licensee partnerships are also being added to comply with the mandatory insurance provisions for paralegals under the Law Society’s By-Law No. 6.