I’ve been fortunate in my career to be part of new innovative projects and to help expand the scope of longstanding organizations. My most recent role is Policy and Communications Advisor with the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA). Never heard of CLIA? For an organization that has been around for 35 years, we have an image problem. Or perhaps a lack of image problem. Many of the lawyers we insure have never heard of us.
CLIA is a reciprocal insurance exchange formed in 1988 as a direct response to a need for more effective professional liability coverage for Canadian lawyers. By banding together to form an insurance company, law societies were given access to direct insurance markets (akin to shopping wholesale) that would recognize the years of Canadian-specific claims history the law societies had built. Member law societies include:
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
If you are a lawyer practicing in one of the above jurisdictions, you are insured by CLIA. CLIA issues a master policy to each member law society to benefit its practising insured members. The participating law societies agree on standard limits and policy terms, and each selects a member society retention appropriate to their circumstances. CLIA administers claims exceeding society deductibles and performs a coordinating role.
Why is there a lack of awareness about CLIA? Well, some member societies manage their own programs, including claims management, within their retained limits. For example, the Saskatchewan Lawyers Insurance Association (SLIA) does just that and has a similar name/acronym to boot. We also occupy office space in the same building in Regina.
As a national organization, CLIA has a unique vantage point to analyze claims and develop loss prevention resources and initiatives. We have created a loss prevention strategic plan to map out the next few years and aim to bring Canadian lawyers the means to more effectively manage their practices, avoid errors and better serve their clients.
One of the first steps is introducing ourselves to our insureds and creating a channel to communicate. Our new blog, Not So Risky Business, will hopefully do just that. Each Wednesday you can expect an informative post on loss prevention topics and updates on the progress of our loss prevention strategic plan. I will also continue to share posts here on new developments in loss prevention. Stay tuned to the ‘new’ CLIA voice.