VSB Plans – History and Structure

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The Virginia State Bar has endorsed personal insurance plans for about 60 years. In 1954, the bar began offering members a group life insurance plan. Group health insurance was added in 1955 and a disability plan in 1959. Although there have been variations in the details of the coverage, life, health and disability plans have been continuously endorsed since the inception of the program. During the early 1970s as many as 15 types of insurance were endorsed by the Virginia State Bar. By 1980, those were trimmed back to the original three (life, health and disability), which were consistent with the mission of the program.

For most of its history, the purpose of the insurance program has been to provide bar members with quality coverage at affordable prices. The purpose is not to compete with the commercial market but rather to leverage the group buying power to provide members with insurance they could not get elsewhere. Over the years, the primary beneficiaries have been sole practitioners and small firms.

Past evaluations of the VSB program by the VSB Personal Insurance Committee, the executive committee, the VSB Council or outside brokers have found that the plans are an important service to members of the bar. They concluded that the plans can improve the quality of legal services and even limit misconduct by allowing attorneys to provide their families and employees with superior insurance, particularly health insurance. They point to instances of defalcation committed to pay for uninsured family medical expenses.

The Personal Insurance for Members Committee oversees the program. With the help of the broker-administrator and the VSBMIC, the committee monitors the plans and the details of coverage. When necessary, the committee recommends changes. Any new plans are approved by the executive committee or council. The work of the committee and the administrator relieves attorneys of the time and expense of finding insurance products on their own.