Virginia Lawyer

VaLawyer_June/July 2013

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Executive Director's Message by Karen A. Gould Making Progress on Relocation AS YOU KNOW, the Virginia State Bar must leave its offices at 707 E. Main St. by next April. We're making progress on finding a new home. A request for proposals was posted in April seeking proposals from commercial real estate firms to represent the VSB. We received several that were excellent. After interviewing the top candidates, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), a licensed real estate brokerage firm with extensive experience in commercial real estate in downtown Richmond, was chosen. CBRE posted an RFP on May 15, 2013, with responses due by May 29. Prospective landlords responded to a detailed questionnaire about their available office space, including such factors as lease term, square footage, which floors are available, number and location of parking spaces, availability of a large conference room, tenant improvement allowance, and moving allowance. Tours were arranged for the following week of those we rated the highest. The tours helped narrow the field down to the serious contenders. We concentrated our search to the downtown Richmond central business district. We need to stay as near as possible to our current location. Every month we use the courtrooms in the State Corporation Commission, the General Assembly building, or the federal courthouse. Our staff walks to those courtrooms. We also prefer to remain near the Supreme Court and the General Assembly. 16 VIRGINIA LAWYER | June/July 2013 | Vol. 62 We rated the buildings on a matrix that included economics, location, parking, security, and access. We will chose several to do "fit plans" to see how our space needs fit within the buildings' configuration. After we make a tentative selection of the building, the broker will commence lease negotiations. We hope to be able to make an announcement on the new VSB home in the fall of 2013. Our current lease was extended to April 30, 2014. According to the different brokers we spoke with, we are on a tight schedule. Our target date to move is April 1. Update on Alps, the Bar's Endorsed LPL Carrier ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company is the VSB's endorsed lawyers' professional liability carrier, a position it has held since October 2000. ALPS has an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A- (Excellent). In June 2012, ALPS notified the VSB that while its financial strength rating had been reaffirmed by Best at A- (Excellent), its outlook had been changed from Stable to Negative. On May 28, 2013, ALPS notified us that A.M. Best again revised its ALPS outlook, this time from Negative to Stable. The A.M. Best press release noted that the designation comes "on the heels of a record-breaking year for ALPS, with 2012 recording the highest policyholder surplus in company history," $34.4 million. In 2012 year-end results, ALPS reported a net combined ratio of 96.10 percent overall with the Virginia book at 99.66 percent. Of its total 12,643 insured, 3,405 were Virginia attorneys as of December 31, 2012. Claims frequency in 2012 was 4.88 percent in Virginia, compared to 4.04 percent overall. Gross written premium from the Virginia book was $8,952,606, and overall was $40,497,693. Net written premium from Virginia was $6,159,085, and overall was $27,861,019. ALPS continues to move forward with plans to relinquish its Risk Retention Group status and become an admitted carrier in all states in which it does business. In consultation with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, it withdrew its Virginia application in February, but plans to re-file later this year after the completion of a triennial financial examination. Acceptance of ALPS as an admitted carrier in Virginia will require it to be part of the Virginia Guarantee Fund. On the risk management front, pursuant to its endorsement agreement with the VSB, ALPS contributed 3 percent of its Virginia gross written premium in 2012, or $233,000, to support a variety of VSB risk management activities. Those dollars, administered by the Virginia Lawyers Malpractice Insurance Committee, supported a statewide fall risk management tour (where 1,400 Virginia

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