Chubb Clears Up Confusion on Risk of Insuring Law Firm Blogs

April 5, 2007

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies says it was recently the subject of some “confusing media reports about the company’s willingness to insure blogs” originated by law firms.

According to James L. Rhyner, worldwide lawyers professional manager for Chubb Specialty Insurance, Chubb does insure this new form of communication “and will continue to do so within select parameters.”

Those parameters have to do with whether the blog is a low-risk information blog or whether it serves an advisory purpose, which make it a higher risk.

Depending on the way law firms use technology, a blog can create a minimal to significant level of added risk, he said. “In that regard, managing risk associated with a blog is an appropriate part of the underwriting function and Chubb takes its underwriting responsibilities seriously,” said Rhyner.

Chubb categorizes law firm blogs into two general classes: informational and advisory.

* An informational blog presents information or offers a forum for
discussing issues in a neutral, unbiased way. This type of blog offers information similar to that found in an article or presented by an individual in a seminar — informational blogs do not provide advice to a specific individual on a unique matter. Typically, these blogs pose aminimal level of risk from Chubb’s underwriting perspective.

* In an advisory blog, however, a law firm offers advice. By its nature, then, it increases the risk of a malpractice lawsuit against the firm. An advisory blog can potentially establish an attorney-client relationship, possibly bypassing such safeguards as determining the suitability of a potential client and checking for possible conflicts of interest.

Rhyner added that Chubb’s underwriters evaluate each submission on its own merits.

Source: Chubb Group of Insurance Companies

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