In this special issue of The Risk Manager Newsletter celebrating Lawyers Mutual’s 25th Anniversary, I want to take a moment of your time to reflect on why Lawyers Mutual was established by the KBA back in 1987, its continuing mission, and where we are after 25 years of service to the KBA.
It is a sweet irony for us at Lawyers Mutual to realize that most members of the KBA have little knowledge of our history. This is true because in 1987 there were only 9,123 members of the KBA. As of November 7, 2012 there were 17,477 members of our Bar – nearly a 100% increase in the last 25 years. Figuring in the number of retirements from the Bar in that period, I estimate that more than 70% of the Bar now has little or no knowledge of the liability insurance crisis lawyers experienced in the mid-1980s with ever-increasing premiums and many commercial carriers ceasing to offer malpractice insurance. That led to the bar-related insurance company movement in which state bar associations decided to protect their lawyers by starting captive lawyer liability insurance companies thereby assuring that their bars always would have readily available malpractice insurance at reasonable rates. We have never expanded beyond the original mission except we now provide a ready market for court bonds.
The KBA joined this movement in 1985 and over the next two years raised the $3,000,000 required to begin underwriting lawyers liability insurance. We opened for business in November 1987 with the mission of insuring only KBA members, providing outstanding claims service, offering risk management guidance, and assuring that the members of the KBA always would have lawyers liability insurance available. The reason I wrote that it was a sweet irony that so few current members of the KBA know this background is because we have achieved exactly what we set out to do – currently in Kentucky there is a dynamic lawyers liability insurance market offering competitive rates with the sure knowledge that Lawyers Mutual will always be here to backstop any future problems. Lawyers liability insurance is simply not a problem in Kentucky. Thus, to some extent, we are the victims of our own success.
I hope you will review the Timeline of our progress included in this newsletter. It shows our efforts over the years to develop Lawyers Mutual by improving policy coverage, hiring competent staff, providing unique claims service, and offering a variety of risk management tools through The Risk Manager Newsletter, our Website (www.lmick.com), and continuing legal education programs. I think you will find the article What We Learned About Legal Malpractice in Kentucky in 25 Years in this newsletter a good example of how we strive to assist Kentucky lawyers in avoiding malpractice.
In conclusion, I want to make it clear that we are here for all Kentucky lawyers and not just the 2,564 lawyers in the 1,290 firms we insure. Of course, we hope you will join us soon, but we are committed to the KBA as a whole and will continue to send The Risk Manager Newsletter to all KBA members and welcome all Kentucky lawyers to our CLE offerings, as well as fulfilling our primary role of providing reasonably priced and available malpractice insurance.
Lawyers Mutual sends to the members of the KBA its best wishes for a successful and claims-free 2013.
John G. Prather, Jr.,
Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company of Kentucky