Please note that the following summary of the BIIC Policy is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive, and is provided for your guidance only. The policy wording governs. 

The Business Innocent Insured Coverage ("BIIC") Policy is optional professional liability insurance coverage designed to protect innocent lawyers in firms who may face claims that are otherwise uninsured because of the business interests of another lawyer at the firm.

Although practising lawyers in BC must be insured under Part A of the BC Lawyers' Compulsory Professional Liability Insurance Policy (the "Compulsory Policy"), Exclusion 6.2 of that policy — "the business exclusion" — operates to exclude from coverage a claim by or in any way connected to any organization in which the lawyer, his or her family or law firm partners, associates or associate counsel had effective management or control or a greater than 10% ownership interest at the time of the error. Coverage is excluded for both the lawyer responsible for the error and for any lawyers vicariously liable for the responsible lawyer's acts. Vicarious liability arises by virtue of the lawyer's partnership or employer/employee relationship with the responsible lawyer.

The BIIC Policy extends coverage to innocent lawyers who face such vicarious liability, but who have lost coverage under Part A of the Compulsory Policy because of the application of the business exclusion. Lawyers are innocent if they are unaware, despite reasonable and regular inquiries, that the responsible lawyer was providing legal services in circumstances that triggered the application of the business exclusion. If the lawyer knows, or ought to have known with due diligence, about those circumstances, there is no coverage under the policy. To assist firms, the Lawyers Insurance Fund has developed a protocol which, if implemented, the Insurer will accept as meeting the policy's due diligence requirements.

Partners, apparent partners and sole proprietors may apply for the BIIC Policy, as each of these lawyers may face vicarious liability for the negligence of another lawyer. Although the firm must complete the application form for the BIIC Policy, the policy benefits those innocent lawyers who face vicarious liability.

The policy limits are $1 million, $2 million in the aggregate, inclusive of both defence costs and indemnity payments, and subject to a deductible of 10% of the total amount of any such costs or payments. The policy term begins either at the start of the calendar year or the date an application is approved, and expires at the end of the calendar year.

For 2019, the annual premium is calculated on the basis of $300 for each lawyer at a firm — partners, associates, associate counsel — insured under the Compulsory Policy.

The firm must have the policy both at the time of the error and at the time the claim is reported. The coverage need not be continuous, provided these two requirements are met. There is no coverage for any errors occuring before January 1, 2002.

Please note that the BIIC policy does not provide coverage for legal services triggering Exclusion 6.1 of Part A of the Compulsory Policy, the "benefit exclusion". If a lawyer provides services that fall within the benefit exclusion, coverage under the Compulsory Policy will be denied to that lawyer and any other lawyer vicariously liable for the claim. More information on the benefit exclusion is available in the summary of Exclusion 6.

Full details regarding the BIIC Policy are available from the Lawyers Insurance Fund. If you are interested in receiving an application and more detailed information, please contact Kate McLean, Claims Counsel, at 604.605.5360 or