What’s in a Name: Professional Liability, Legal Malpractice, Professional Indemnity, and Errors & Omissions

As a lawyer, you probably know that it’s in your best interest to have insurance in place to cover the legal services you provide. When looking into your insurance options, or even in conversations with other lawyers or professionals, you may have come across these terms: professional liability (PL), errors and omissions (E&O), malpractice and even professional indemnity. Have you ever wondered which of these is right for you? If you aren’t sure what these terms mean, let alone the difference between them, you aren’t alone. We answer that question from applicants and insureds every day, and we’re here to help you too!

How do I decide which is right for me?

So, here’s the short answer: they’re all the same. That’s right. All the terms listed above generally refer to the same type of coverage. In broad terms, professional liability insurance is a policy for professionals that covers some costs associated with claims or lawsuits of negligence (alleged or not). Taking it a step further, lawyers professional liability insurance specifically provides lawyers with liability coverage for financial loss suffered by third parties arising from acts, errors and omissions in providing professional legal services.

Why are there so many terms for PL?

The reason there are so many terms for professional liability insurance is that each industry and business is unique. There are many types of professional mistakes that need to be covered by their industry-specific professional liability policy. Below are different terms used to describe the PL coverage for a specific industry, but they are often used interchangeably colloquially or in conversation:

  • Professional liability insurance (PL) is the term typically used to describe the policy covering lawyers, consultants, engineers and architects. For a lawyer-specific policy, the insurance is referred to as lawyers professional liability (LPL).
  • Errors and omissions insurance (E&O) is usually used to describe a policy covering real estate, technology, accounting and other professionals.
  • Malpractice Insurance has historically been used to describe a policy covering professionals in medical industries. Malpractice insurance is a type of PL insurance, but not all PL insurance is considered malpractice insurance. Lawyers will sometimes refer to their professional liability coverage as “legal malpractice insurance,” and while the insurance industry has never fully adopted this phrase, it has become popular among lawyers and LPL providers.
  • Professional indemnity insurance is a term that is synonymous with professional liability insurance. It is the same in every way.

All of these terms might differ slightly in their original or technical meaning, but they all generally refer to the same thing and are all just different names for professional liability insurance.

What does OAMIC provide?

Like other providers, the formal name for the coverage OAMIC provides is lawyers professional liability insurance. However, we consider our LPL to be second to none. Not only are we a local company serving only Oklahoma lawyers, we also care deeply about meeting the needs of each and every insured lawyer. As always, let us know if you have any questions that we can answer!


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