Lawyers Insurance Fund

BC lawyers' compulsory insurance under national mobility

Lawyers who wish to take advantage of the new national mobility regime,* which came into effect on July 1, will wish to take note of the insurance aspects of the regime.

Any lawyer eligible to practise temporarily (up to 100 days in a calendar year) in another reciprocating province must carry professional liability insurance that is reasonably comparable in coverage and limits to that required by the host law society and that extends to the lawyer's practice in the host jurisdiction. If a lawyer is a member in more than one jurisdiction, the lawyer need purchase only one compulsory policy and can claim an exemption from the mandatory requirement to purchase insurance in another jurisdiction.

To ensure conformity under the national mobility regime, insurers in the various reciprocating jurisdictions have agreed to adopt certain specific policy provisions and practices. The compulsory insurance program for BC lawyers already satisfied the requirements of the new regime in most respects, and minor changes were recently made to comply fully with the agreements reached with the other insurers.

Two minor revisions were made to the policy wording, effective July 1. These revisions are brought into effect by a second renewal endorsement to the compulsory policy, a copy of which is enclosed in this mailing as an amendment to the Member's Manual.

An insuring agreement has been added to the policy to address the scope of coverage under the new regime. It provides BC lawyers who are entitled to practise on a temporary basis in a reciprocating jurisdiction with the comfort that they carry professional liability insurance that is reasonably comparable in coverage and limits to that required by the host law society and extends to that lawyer's practice in the host jurisdiction. Wording changes were also made to the "non-stacking" provision of the policy (a standard term that maintains the limits of coverage available when a lawyer has more than one policy), but the effect of the non-stacking provision is essentially unchanged.

Although lawyers who are members of more than one Canadian law society have always been entitled to claim an exemption from the requirement to buy insurance in BC, in certain circumstances, there is now an exemption tailored specifically for lawyers who are members of a law society in more than one reciprocating jurisdiction under the national mobility agreement.

A BC lawyer is entitled to the exemption if he or she is a member of a law society in a reciprocating province, is entitled to practise law in that province, has purchased the compulsory policy in that province and is resident there. "Resident" has the meaning, with respect to a province, that it has with respect to Canada in the Income Tax Act (Canada). In that case, the reciprocating jurisdiction's policy will extend to the lawyer's practice in BC.

If you have any questions on insurance under the national mobility regime, please contact Margrett George at 604 443-5761 or mgeorge@lsbc.org at the Lawyers Insurance Fund.


* For background, see the May-June 2003 Benchers' Bulletin.