What Happens After Practice
Explaining Tail Coverage, formally called Extended Reporting Endorsements
An extended reporting endorsement (ERE) – also known as tail coverage – is needed because of the claims-made nature of a lawyer’s professional liability insurance. A claims-made policy provides coverage for alleged actions that occurred during the time the policy was in effect. In other words, the coverage provided in a claims-made policy ends when the coverage terminates.
Professional liability policies afford coverage for one year at a time, so in order for an attorney to have coverage in place at all times, a policy must be obtained every year. Continuity of coverage is paramount in claims-made coverage. When an attorney changes firms,* becomes a judge, retires, or exits private practice for any reason, an ERE becomes available and necessary.
Your ERE is not a separate policy. Instead, the endorsement extends the terms and conditions of the prior existing OAMIC policy and allows an additional period of time in which a claim may be reported to OAMIC, allowing you to report claims to the insurer after the policy has expired or been canceled.
*Some firms only provide coverage for claims made while you are a member of said firm. Be sure to ask if their policy extends coverage for acts prior to you joining (commonly called “prior acts coverage”). To learn more about prior acts, see our Claims Made Policy Information page.
Common ERE Questions
Does ERE cover me if I decide to do some pro bono work for a friend after I’ve retired?
No. It is imperative to note that under most ERE provisions, the purchase of the endorsement is not one of supplementary coverage or of a separate and distinct policy. This means no coverage will be available for a negligent act or omission which occurs during the time the ERE is in effect.
Why would I need ERE if I change law firms? Won’t my new firm cover me?
Although your new firm may have a professional liability policy, it may only provide coverage for claims made while you are a member of said law firm and may not extend coverage for acts prior to the attorney joining the new firm (commonly called “prior acts coverage”).
I plan to reduce my policy limits when I semi-retire to save money. How will this affect my ERE?
Because your ERE extends the terms and conditions of the prior existing policy, all claims reported under the ERE will be subject to the available residual limits of the last policy in effect. Reduction of limits should be carefully considered, as whatever they are will be in effect for the entirety of the ERE and will be reduced by any defense cost or indemnity payments made on behalf of the attorney. You should consider whether the premium savings are worth the potential exposure in retirement.
When can ERE be purchased?
Most policies allow a 30-day window, beginning on the date of expiration or termination of the existing policy. When the time period expires, the opportunity to purchase an ERE is gone.
What happens if I pass away before securing ERE?
If an attorney dies, an ERE can be purchased in the name of the deceased attorney’s estate if timely pursued in accord with the policy provisions. A legal malpractice cause of action can be brought after an attorney’s death and the right survives resulting in the attorney’s estate being named as the defendant. Attorneys, who by nature exert substantial effort to protect their clients, should exercise the same effort on their own behalf. Best practices would be for the attorney to have written instructions to alert the heirs to the procedure and need for an ERE to protect the attorney’s estate and family.
How long does an ERE protect me?
The period for which the reporting period is extended depends on your needs and circumstance. The length of time the reporting period is extended also affects the cost of your ERE.
How much does an ERE cost?
The cost of your ERE is based on the premium of the policy for which reporting period is being extended and the length of time it is being extended. Contact us for a quote and to get details on your payment options.
How do I pay for an ERE?
You may pay the entire ERE premium at once either online through the OAMIC portal or by mailing payment (payable to Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Company) in the amount due. Policyholders may instead pay their ERE premium with three installments, one every year for three years starting on the effective date of the endorsement, by mailing payment (payable to Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Company) in the amount owed; there is no online payment option for financed EREs.
How do I get an ERE or who do I contact for questions?
If you think you need an ERE or have more questions than what we’ve covered here, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.