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Professional Services Coverage and Exclusions: Insurer and Policyholder Guidance

Avoiding Gaps, Stacking Coverage, and Negotiating Scope Across Multiple Commercial Insurance Lines

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, December 13, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will explore the contours of professional services coverage and exclusions under general liability, directors and officers, and professional liability policies. The panel will discuss recent trends in case law interpreting policy coverage and exclusions and guide counsel for policyholders and insurers on best practices for negotiating coverage scope and resolving disputes after claims arise.


Significant disagreements exist between insurers and policyholders as to what constitutes “professional services” for determining whether a loss is insurable. Companies addressing the issue with corporate and coverage counsel should consider their policies’ coverage grants and exclusions in this area before a claim arises.

Explaining to clients--insurers or policyholders--whether a particular claim involves professional services is challenging. Depending on the circumstances, multiple lines of commercial insurance could cover the claim, or it may fall squarely in a gap between policies. For companies providing services that are traditionally considered “professional” in nature, like architecture, engineering, law and medicine, the issues are less complicated. The more complex issues and disputes may arise with other types of companies, particularly where technology is blurring the distinction between products and services or altering the manner in which a company operates. Practitioners negotiating these provisions and counseling clients on their impact must understand three key concepts addressed in current case law:

  • The meaning of professional
  • The meaning of services
  • The nexus between professional services and a policyholder’s liability

Listen as our distinguished panel of insurance practitioners provides critical insight into the shifting notion of what may qualify as “professional services," the impact on negotiating coverage grants and exclusions, and how counsel can identify and avoid gaps across multiple lines of coverage.



  1. Professional services coverage and exclusions
    1. Meaning of professional
    2. Meaning of services
    3. Nexus between services and policyholder liability
  2. Types of coverage
    1. CGL
    2. D&O
    3. Professional Liability
  3. Negotiating coverage
    1. Policyholder perspectives
    2. Insurer perspectives


The panel will review highly relevant issues, including:

  • How to stack multiple lines of coverage to prevent gaps
  • Factors impacting judicial findings of “professional services”
  • How counsel can use these factors to help clients avoid blindspots in their risk management regimes


Kiburtz, Jeffrey
Jeffrey A. Kiburtz

Special Counsel
Covington & Burling

Mr. Kiburtz handles a wide variety of litigated and non-litigated matters involving commercial insurance of nearly...  |  Read More

Waters, Celia
Celia B. Waters

Saxe Doernberger & Vita

Exclusively representing policyholders, Ms. Waters focuses her practice on complex insurance litigation matters with a...  |  Read More

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