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CNA Blog — From the Experts

Published Wednesday, June 28, 2017

8 Reasons to Keep Your MPL Coverage

Imagine this: You operate a call center that provides 24-hour service to a number of different businesses, including tow truck operators. Call volume is heavy, and callers are often placed on hold and at times, even disconnected. As a result, certain customer information received by the call center was lost, incorrectly communicated or delayed in transmission to the client. Consequently, some businesses cancelled their contracts with the tow service, which resulted in a loss of more than $150,000 in revenues. Upon discovery, the tow truck company fired the call center and filed suit, alleging negligence in handling the calls and seeking recovery of lost profits.

Unfortunately, a situation like this is all too common in today's litigious society. And despite the occurrence of these situations, it's a common misperception that purchasing Miscellaneous Professional Liability (MPL) coverage isn't necessary. However, this misperception can't be further from the truth.

I have heard some businesses give the following eight reasons when they consider cutting their MPL coverage. Here, I'm going to tell you why those reasons could have disastrous results:

  1. I need to cut costs. This is the No. 1 reason why a business cuts its MPL coverage. However, lawsuits can arise when you least expect and the defense costs can run tens of thousands of dollars far more than an insurance policy premium charge.
  2. Doesn't my General Liability (GL) policy cover MPL claims?  No. Both policies cover liabilities, but not the same ones. A standard GL policy typically excludes coverage for claims arising out of professional services, such as in cases that allege your business provided negligent professional services, failed to uphold contractual promises, provided incomplete work, or made mistakes or omissions. This could lead to a potential gap in coverage if your business does not carry MPL insurance.
  3. The quality of my work is excellent, and any lawsuit would be meritless. You don't have to be at fault to be sued. Frivolous lawsuits still have legal fees, and even winning a lawsuit costs money. But if you carry MPL insurance, your defense costs can be covered to what's allowable under the policy.
  4. My business has never faced a lawsuit. It's not if, but when. In fact, a report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) notes that between 36 percent and 53 percent of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation in any given year. Therefore, it's imperative that you seek to insure your business' assets. It is too time-consuming and costly to defend a claim without MPL coverage and your business operations may suffer.
  5. Even if a lawsuit arises, I can pay out of pocket. A lawsuit is more than a settlement or judgment. It also includes attorneys' fees, expert witness fees and other court costs. According to that same SBA report, litigation costs typically range from $3,000 to $150,000. Don't assume defending your lawsuit will be on the low end of the spectrum. According to the SBA, Just one- third of the lawsuits against small businesses cost less than $10,000 to defend.
  6. MPL insurance isn't required by law. Unlike Professional Liability insurance for other professions (e.g.., lawyers or doctors), MPL insurance isn't required under laws and regulations. However, it is often contractually required. For example, a client may ask a management consultant to carry $1 million in Professional Liability limits as part of the assumed contractual obligation.
  7. I don't see the value of MPL insurance. MPL coverage isn't designed to be used as a bank: You don't deposit premium dollars with the expectation to collect on it later. Therefore, its value can be difficult to quantify if a lawsuit doesn't arise. But know this: When claims are asserted against you, they are expensive, time-consuming, complex to navigate and take you away from running your business. Additional value? Some professions, particularly consultants, can promote their MPL coverage as a value-added asset when soliciting clients, which may lead to new client acquisition.
  8. My business is undergoing a transition. If your company is changing management teams, operations may be in flux. This could lead to a liability risk exposure if formerly routine activities are slipping through the cracks.

In addition, if you carry MPL insurance, don't allow your coverage to lapse. The last thing your business needs is a lawsuit when you mistakenly think that you were appropriately insured. In those cases, your business would be left to defend the lawsuit without the experience and engagement of qualified claim professionals. 

One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
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