Lawyers Indemnity Fund: Program Reports and Risk Management publications are distributed to all lawyers and articled students in the province.

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Program Report

Each year, the Lawyers Indemnity Fund reports on the indemnification program and policy. The program report includes any policy wording changes as well as statistics on claims and potential claims. 

The 2020 Lawyers Indemnity Fund program

  • “insurance program” now an “indemnification program”
  • claim reports are now accepted by email
  • indemnity fee unchanged for 2020: $1,800
  • reimbursement coverage has been added
  • internet-based risks and social engineering fraud
  • two “social engineering” scams hit BC law firms in 2019
  • our risk management takeaways of 2019 

The 2019 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2019 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • details a "social engineering" scam that hit BC law firms in 2018
  • highlights statistics on disposition of claims

The 2018 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2018 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • details three "social engineering" scams that hit BC law firms in 2017
  • highlights LIF resources that explain what’s covered under the compulsory policy, and what’s not
  • reports on feedback on the Part B, Trust Protection Coverage experience from victims of lawyer theft

The 2017 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2017 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims, and gives "one victim's story" in relation to trust protection coverage
  • introduces an expansion to trust shortage liability under Part C of the policy
  • highlights resources to help protect you from trust shortage risks
  • reports on the results of the 2016 claims audit

The 2016 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2016 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • highlights excess and other commercial insurance products available to protect you from risks that our policy does not cover
  • reports on 15 years of feedback from insureds on the services we provide

The 2015 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2015 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • highlights a free risk management presentation
  • reports on LIF’s role in the Law Society
  • reports on an upcoming resource – “My Insurance Program: Questions and Answers”

The 2014 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2014 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • highlights new aids to help prevent claims
  • reports on a new resource – “My Claim: Questions and answers”

The 2013 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2013 insurance program and policy revisions
  • clarifies the application of Exclusion 6 – the “business and benefit” exclusion – to trusts
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • reports on an upcoming resource – “My Insurance Policy: Questions and answers”

The 2012 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2012 insurance program and policy revisions
  • introduces new trust shortage liability (for reliance on fraudulent certified cheques) under Part C of the policy
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • reports on the results of the 2011 claims audit

The 2011 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the 2011 insurance program and policy revisions
  • reviews statistics on claims and potential claims
  • explains the policy’s free discovery period coverage for lawyers leaving practice
  • reports on 10 years of feedback from insureds on the services we provide

The 2010 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • reports on the insurance consequences of MDPs and Quebec mobility
  • summarizes resources available from the Lawyers Insurance Fund

The 2009 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • revisits the benefits of excess insurance
  • reports on the results of LIF service evaluations

The 2008 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • highlights proactive claims management and creative resolutions
  • reviews new risk management initiatives

The 2007 Lawyers Insurance Fund

  • highlights website resources
  • announces a seminal risk management publication on missed deadlines

The 2006 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • highlights risk management resources
  • reviews "advance rulings," including coverage information for lawyers acting as executors or trustees

The 2005 Lawyers Insurance Fund program 

  • introduces new risk management resources
  • reviews insurance coverage advice available on the website, including information about insurance coverage for lawyers no longer in private practice

May 1, 2004 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • provides details of new trust protection coverage 

The 2004 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • notes changes to the excess insurance program and the availability of optional business innocent insured coverage
  • lists available services and resources from the Lawyers Insurance Fund
  • summarizes the insurance aspects of the new national mobility agreement of the Federation of Law Societies

The 2003 Lawyers Insurance Fund program 

  • details new website information available from the Lawyers Insurance Fund - such as new initiatives on coverage and optional coverage available to BC lawyers
  • comments on the insurance aspects of the new national mobility agreement of the Federation of Law Societies

The 2002 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • provides details of extended insurance coverage for approved pro bono services
  • provides details of optional business "innocent insured" coverage (BIIC)

The 2001 Lawyers Insurance Fund program

  • discusses the insurance implications of the Western Law Societies Conveyancing Protocol

The 2000 Lawyers Insurance Fund program
 

E-Briefs

July 2020

Lawyers Indemnity Fund video on additional property transfer tax for foreign nationals, foreign entities and taxable trustees

Once a month, the Lawyers Indemnity Fund will be releasing a short video that offers guidance and tips on how to avoid issues that can lead to claims. The first of these videos is about lawyers who forget that a foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee is required to pay additional property transfer tax on certain real estate transactions. Watch this video of Marlon Song, Claims Counsel at LIF, to learn more. You can also familiarize yourself with the features of the tax by reading the Ministry of Finance’s web page.

June 2020

Draft legislation for suspension of federal limitation periods

The Government of Canada has published draft legislative proposals that would suspend certain time limits and enable federal ministers to extend or suspend other time limits in federal legislation, including deadlines in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and regulations in the Canada Labour Code, but would not apply to the investigation of or a proceeding respecting an offence. The proposals would suspend or extend time limits from March 13, 2020 to September 13, 2020 or any earlier day fixed by order of the Governor in Council. Further information may be found in the full draft Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19).

April 2020

Attention! Creditors remedies lawyers

The Ministry of Attorney General has issued a Consultation Paper on the Uniform Civil Enforcement Money Judgments Act, requesting responses to questions by May 1, 2020. The consultation paper introduces potential fundamental changes to creditors remedies law, including: two year limitation period for enforcing judgments, pro-rata sharing among judgement creditors, new preservation orders, severance of a joint tenancy upon registration of a judgment and more. The responses will be used to solicit input into reforming the current Court Order Enforcement Act. Further information, including how to make a submission, is available in the consultation paper.

January 2020

Sweeping amendments to the Securities Act

Lawyers, and securities lawyers in particular, should become familiar with amendments to the Securities Act, which received Royal Assent on November 28, 2019. The changes give the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) the ability to order administrative monetary penalties without a hearing for certain contraventions, introduce minimum sentences, increase penalties, as well as significantly expanding the BCSC’s investigative, enforcement and collection powers. In addition, the amendments give the BCSC enhanced powers to freeze and seize property transferred for less than market value by fraudsters to third parties, as well as an ability to direct ICBC to refuse to issue or renew a driver’s licence. Although regulations are still required to make the majority of these amendments operational, lawyers should become familiar with them. For more information, read the Securities Act.

   

Notices to the Profession

July 29, 2020

New LIF video: Planning for when the state of emergency ends

The COVID-19 Related Measures Act extends ministerial orders, including orders for limitation periods, electronic witnessing, and Supreme Court and Family applications, by 45 or 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

Watch this video of Maryanne Prohl, Director of Risk Management at LIF, to learn more about what to expect when the 45 and 90-day grace periods come into effect, and how to avoid issues with limitations for filing Notices of Civil Claim and Notices of Appeal: https://youtu.be/RqaZBf9Z_9w.

Act now. Don’t wait to file your Notice of Civil Claim or Notice of Appeal.

July 8, 2020

Attention real estate lawyers! Don’t forget additional property transfer tax is payable for foreign nationals, foreign entities and taxable trustees

Lawyers Indemnity Fund will be releasing short videos on risk management once a month, to offer guidance and tips to avoid issues that can lead to claims. The first of these videos is about claims where lawyers have forgotten that a foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee is required to pay additional property transfer tax on certain real estate transactions.

Watch this video of Marlon Song, Claims Counsel at LIF, to learn more.

The additional tax applies to the residential portion of a property that BC Assessment has classified as residential (class 1), farm land (that includes a residential improvement) or commercial (that includes a residential improvement). You can also familiarize yourself with the features of the tax by reading the Ministry of Finance’s web page.

June 23, 2020

Cyber-attacks on the rise during COVID-19

According to recent reports, phishing attempts have increased by over 600 per cent since the beginning of March. As stated in previous notices, cyber-criminals often strike during periods of disruption, distraction and confusion, all of which have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawyers and law firms have had to focus attention on addressing COVID-related impacts. Remote work environments may have less data security. These and other factors leave lawyers more vulnerable to data breaches. To protect your firm, be on alert and remind all lawyers and staff to take the following precautions before opening emails:

  • Always think before you click.
  • Never open a link or attachment in an email or text from anyone you do not know.
  • If you receive a link or attachment that you were not expecting – even if it is from someone you know – call the sender using the telephone number you have on file (not the number listed in the message) to confirm the message is legitimate.
  • If you open a link or attachment that you should have avoided, and a box opens that asks for your password or other information, stop. Close out. Immediately call your IT department to run a scan on your device(s).
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi, and do not use unsecured Wi-Fi to connect to your work server, to do any banking, or to send any confidential or personal information.
  • Avoid working in public spaces where third parties may view screens or printed documents.

In addition, talk to your IT professional about our ten simple steps and other preventive measures you can take to protect your systems and your data. Also, talk to your insurance broker about buying comprehensive cyber insurance for this risk (your Lawyers Indemnity Fund policy provides limited social engineering coverage but does not respond to ransomware attacks or data breaches). Further information on cyber insurance and other commercial products is available here.

June 10, 2020

State of emergency extended

The provincial cabinet has extended the state of emergency through to the end of the day on June 23, 2020. The Order-in-Council renewing the state of emergency may be found here.

This state of emergency is the longest in BC history. Premier John Horgan has previously expressed that it will continue with no end in sight but, under section 9(4) of the Emergency Program Act, a state of emergency can only be issued two weeks at a time. The Law Society will continue to provide updates on further extensions as we learn of them from government.

May 11, 2020

Update on video-conferencing information: risk management tips

Many law firms and lawyers have been required to make a rapid transition to remote work and use video-conferencing technology to provide legal advice and services. The Law Society updated its web page on video-conferencing technology information to include a useful document on risk management tips for video-conferencing, developed by the Lawyers Indemnity Fund to help to reduce the risk of a negligence claim.

May 8, 2020

Reminder to beat the rush: file Notices of Civil Claim using Court Services Online

While statutory limitations for commencing civil or family actions are still suspended, you are encouraged to file Notices of Civil Claim using Court Services Online. With the province taking steps toward a gradual re-opening of businesses and services, eventually the suspension will be lifted. Avoid the risk of missing a limitation date or the long line-ups at court registries that may occur once the suspension is lifted.

May 6, 2020

Mental Health Week video statement from LIF

Stress, anxiety and depression are common in the legal profession, and COVID-19 leaves lawyers even more vulnerable to mental health issues. There are resources available to help. Watch Su Forbes, QC, COO of the Lawyers Indemnity Fund, share the story of one lawyer who suffered from depression and what lawyers can do to prioritize health and mental well-being.

May 1, 2020

Beware of counterfeit cheques drawn on your bank account

Fraudsters often take advantage of disruptive events like the current pandemic. Previously, we notified lawyers of a ransomware attack on a Manitoba law firm’s computer systems. Now, here at home, a BC lawyer has reported that funds were withdrawn from his bank account by the use of a counterfeit law firm cheque. Because this lawyer reviews his accounts online daily, he was in a position to report the missing funds to his financial institution within 48 hours, and the institution credited his account. Protect yourself from unauthorized withdrawals by frequently reviewing your accounts. Report any missing funds to your financial institution as soon as possible. Talk to your broker about the insurance available on the commercial market to respond to these frauds. If you have questions, contact Barbara Buchanan, QC at bbuchanan@lsbc.org or 604.697.5816.

April 15, 2020

Beware of increased cybersecurity risk during COVID-19

Cyber-criminals often seek to take advantage of rapid change, heightened stress and confusion. In Manitoba, two law firms had their entire computer systems infected with ransomware, which blocked access to their computers, client lists, emails, accounting and financial information and other digital files. The firms were asked to pay an enormous ransom to regain access to their computers, which were likely attacked when a lawyer or employee clicked on a link in an attachment or email. Ontario and elsewhere report that hackers are circulating phony, but legitimate looking, COVID-19 outbreak maps or emails purportedly from IT teams or vendors that ask recipients to click links to open attachments that are infected with malware. 

With many lawyers now working remotely, the increase in virtual access to work servers requires extra vigilance. To protect yourselves and your law firm, be on alert and remind all lawyers and staff to take the following precautions: 

  • Always think before you click.
  • Never open a link or attachment in an email or text message from anyone you do not know.
  • If you receive a link or attachment that you were not expecting – even if it is from someone you know – call the sender using the telephone number you have on file (not the number listed in the message) to confirm the message is legitimate.
  • If you open a link or attachment that you should have avoided, and a box opens that asks for your password or other information, stop. Close out. Immediately call your IT department to run a scan on your device(s).
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi, and do not use unsecured Wi-Fi to connect to your work server, to do any banking, or to send any confidential or personal information.
  • Avoid working in public spaces where third parties may view screens or printed documents.