Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) has become popular among businesses in recent years, with good reason, but at least one vital feature to check in any such policy is whether you have the right to use your current lawyer in defending any claim.

EPLI policies cover employment claims brought by current or former employees for employment claims such as discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. These policies typically cover the costs of settlement, verdicts, attorneys’ fees, and related defense costs. They also typically include specific provisions governing the choice of a lawyer, which can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of the policy for your business.

Like all insurance, coverage varies. In recent years, EPLI insurers are increasingly requiring companies to use designated counsel selected by the carrier. This means that if you are the subject of a claim your EPLI policy may not permit you to use your current law firm or any other firm of your own choosing. This is particularly troubling in situations in which your company has an established relationship with your lawyers, who are already up to speed on all the relevant facts.

Policies that do not contain an endorsement permitting insureds to use counsel of their own choosing result in cases being directed by the carrier to its panel of firms. Not being able to choose counsel can result in duplication of efforts, and may be disruptive when the assigned lawyer is not familiar with the insured’s policies and procedures, and personnel.

If your EPLI policy does not specify that you can choose your counsel, talk to your agent or broker about an endorsement or rider to the policy that expressly permits your law firm to be appointed as counsel if you are the subjected of a covered EPLI claim. These endorsements are relatively inexpensive (less than $500) when compared with the inconvenience of dealing with legal counsel unfamiliar with your business.

This firm, Bowie & Jensen, LLC, will even credit you for the cost of the endorsement against any fees incurred in the event of a claim.

For more information please contact Nicole Windsor at 410-583-2400 or