As underwriters for professional liability insurance, we see hundreds of applications every month. Some of them are beautifully typed works of art, chock-full of useful quality information and others... well let's just say that they leave something to be desired. Often we receive applications that are incomplete, unsigned, or have pages missing.
We often wonder why some professionals don't take more time to complete their applications properly. Your application for professional liability insurance is a representation of you and a snapshot of how you manage your practice. If this is the only document an underwriter is going to see and can impact how much you will pay for your professional liability insurance, why not take the time to complete it in a detailed and organized fashion as you would a document for a client or the court?
You spend hours working on behalf of your clients trying to produce the best possible representation of them in a legal matter. You put on your best suit and clean off your desk to present yourself well to your clients, so why wouldn't you do the same when presenting yourself to an insurance company? We know that, especially with lawyers, time is money. Sure, you're not getting paid to complete an application for insurance, you can't bill yourself, but if you don't put the proper amount of time and effort into completing your application, you could overpay, possibly be declined coverage or not receive the proper coverages your practice needs.
Next time you are completing an application for your professional liability coverage, think about that underwriter who only gets to know you and your law firm from a piece of paper, and think about how they are going to perceive you. The easier you make it on them, the better and quicker terms you will likely receive. Also, the less time you are going to have to spend on the back-and-forth that often occurs with incomplete, illegible applications is more time you can spend working for your clients. Make it easy for the underwriters and insurance companies, and in turn, they will most likely make it easier on you and your bottom line.