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Paralegal Insurance

Paralegals who provide legal services to the public must carry professional liability insurance in accordance with By-Law 6, Part II, section 12 (1).

The by-law outlines the minimum requirements for professional liability insurance, as follows:

  • Policy limits of $1 million per claim and $2 million in the aggregate are required;
  • The coverage must specify the provision of legal services by a paralegal;
  • Individual paralegals must be named as an "Insured" on the policy, or by way of endorsement;
  • A minimum, non-optional 90-day extended reporting period is required;
  • The Law Society should, for the purposes of reporting and cancellation, be added as an "Additional Insured";
  • Cancellation notice of 60 days is required;
  • Licensees must provide written proof of their compliance with this requirement to carry mandatory insurance before they begin providing legal services, as well as on an annual basis.
Important information about switching coverage

Important information for paralegals working under the direct supervision of a lawyer

The following companies currently offer policies that meet the Law Society's minimum requirements:

A.M. Fredericks Underwriting Management Ltd. 
201-339 Westney Road South, 
Ajax, Ontario, Canada L1S 7J6
TEL: (905)428-1269 
FAX: (905)428-3977

Hub International 
595 Bay Street, Suite 900 
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E3  
Telephone: 416-619-8190 
paralegalinsurance@hubinternational.com

Berkley Canada
1 First Canadian Place
100 King Street West, Suite 2610
Toronto, ON M5X 1C8

LMS Prolink
(Representing Berkley Canada)
480 University Avenue, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M5G 1V2
Telephone: 416-644-7714 or 1-800-663-6828
Facsimile: 416-595-1649
paulat@LMS.ca
www.LMS.ca

Encon Group Inc. 
500-1400 Blair Place
Ottawa, Ontario K1J 9B8
Telephone: 613-786-2000
Facsimile: 613-786-2001
Toll Free: 1-800-267-6684

Tripemco Burlington Insurance Group Ltd. 
(representing ACE/INA and GCAN) 
Kahlya Gamble, CAIB 
Commercial Lines Account Manager 
203-980 Fraser Drive 
Burlington, ON L7L 5P5 
Telephone: 905-333-3076 x245 or 
1-800-373-1106 x245 
Facsimile: 905-373-4904
kgamble@tripemco.com

Paul Holman
Holman Insurance Brokers Ltd.
(representing Lloyd's / Complete Equity Markets)
3100 Steeles Ave. East Suite 101, 
Markham ON L3R 8T3
Telephone: 905-886-5630
Facsimile: 905-886-5622
paul.holman@holmanins.com
www.paralegalinsurance.ca

Zensurance Inc.
200 University Av, Suite 1301
Toronto, ON M5H 3C6
Telephone: 888-654-6030
info@zensurance.com
www.zensurance.com/lso

Insurance is available through your insurance broker.
Please note: the Law Society cannot advise as to the cost of insurance.


Paralegals working under the direct supervision of a lawyer

It is the position of the Law Society that persons providing legal services must carry insurance; however, the Law Society's professional liability insurance program coverage for lawyers covers the professional services of both the lawyer and the persons that the lawyer supervises.

If you are acting under the supervision of a lawyer and providing legal services on behalf of the lawyer/law firm, the lawyer's/firm's professional liability coverage would satisfy the By-Law 6 requirement for mandatory insurance.  However, you are not an insured under the policy. The policy only responds to the vicarious liability of the lawyer for your services. No coverage would be provided for your personal defense if you were a defendant in the proceedings and it may be possible for legal proceedings to be brought against you by third parties or the firm itself. Other examples would be if the clients belonged to you rather than the lawyer; and/or you were acting outside of a lawyer's direction; or, you perhaps contracted your services to one or more lawyers/law firms, you would need to need to carry your own professional liability insurance.  Contact the Law Society for further clarification.

You may wish to refer to the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 5.01 (Supervision) as well as the LawPRO's Q&A on coverage for more information.

2009 insurance decision from CANLII

Paralegal Professional Liability Insurance – Warning Bulletin re: Switching Coverage

Paralegals who provide legal services to the public must maintain professional liability insurance that meets minimum requirements set out in By-Law 6 of the Law Society’s By-Laws. Rule 8.04 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct also sets out requirements regarding insurance.

Paralegals must arrange for their own professional liability insurance policies through the insurance market in Ontario. Most choose to do so through insurance brokers. Numerous policy coverage options are available on the market, and paralegals should educate themselves on these options to find coverage that best meets their needs and also meets the Law Society’s approval criteria.

In this market with multiple providers, paralegals may choose to switch their professional liability insurance coverage from time to time. Paralegals should pay careful attention to the risks that may be created by gaps in coverage when switching between policies.

Risks of Gaps in Coverage when Switching Between Policies:
Where a paralegal switches from one insurance policy to another, there is a risk that insurable events may not be covered by either the new or the prior insurer. These risks are present even where coverage under a new policy begins immediately upon the expiration of the prior policy.

Most professional liability insurance policies in the paralegal market in Ontario are called “claims-made”: that is, they require that the claim both be made and reported to the insurer within the period of time that the policy covers (the “policy term”). These policies also generally exclude coverage for any claim arising from acts or omissions that occurred prior to the policy term, if the insured paralegal reasonably should have foreseen that such a claim would be made.

This means that, if a paralegal switches to a new insurer, they may not be covered under their prior policy for claims that were not made or reported until after the expiry of the policy term (even if the event on which the claim is based occurred during the policy term), and they also may not be covered under their new policy for any claims arising from insurable events that occurred during the prior policy term but had not yet been reported.

Similar risks exist if a paralegal decides to no longer provide legal services to the public (and ceases their insurance coverage) or if a paralegal switches between a “claims-made” policy and an “occurrence basis” policy (under which insurable events are covered if they took place during the policy term, regardless of when the claim is made).

Mitigating the Risks:
Paralegals considering switching their coverage from one insurer to another should discuss this risk with their insurance broker before completing the switch, and should carefully consider any opportunities to mitigate the risk.

One option for mitigating this risk is to add a longer-term “extended reporting period” endorsement (sometimes called “tail coverage”) under the paralegal’s existing policy prior to switching coverage. This extends coverage to future claims made within that extended period if the claims are based on events that occurred during the prior policy term. Pursuant to s. 12(1)(4) of By-Law 6, all approved policies must include an extended reporting period provision of at least 90 days from the date of the policy’s cancellation. Beyond this standard short-term extended reporting period, many providers offer the option of purchasing longer-term extended reporting period coverage. Paralegals considering switching their coverage should carefully weigh the costs of this supplemental coverage against the risks associated with going without it in their individual circumstances. 

Another mitigation option is to include a “discovery clause” in the insurance policy. This option would provide coverage for events that occur during the policy term but have not resulted in a claim by the expiration of the policy. Therefore, after switching insurance providers, coverage may still apply under the paralegal’s prior policy. Discovery clauses usually require that the insured give notice of the occurrence (e.g. reporting circumstances or incidents that have taken place but have not yet given rise to a formal claim) to their insurer before the policy that includes this provision expires.

Discovery clauses do not typically come standard with paralegal professional liability insurance policies. Paralegals interested in adding this coverage should inquire with their broker or provider.

The risks of gaps in professional liability insurance coverage can also be mitigated by strict compliance with the Law Society’s rules and by-laws. Rule 8.04(2) requires reporting all potential incidents promptly. Rule 8.04(1) requires maintaining adequate coverage at all times while providing legal services; therefore, practising paralegals must avoid letting a current policy expire without having a new policy in place. Avoiding the cancellation of a current policy by adhering to its terms and conditions can also help to mitigate these risks.

Additional Information:
More information about paralegal professional liability insurance policies and their minimum requirements can be found above.

Paralegals with questions about their insurance requirements can contact Membership Services by calling 416-947-3315 or emailing records@lso.ca.