Claims against accountants typically pick up in tough times, which makes professional liability insurance all the more crucial, according to observers.

"When the likelihood of claims is higher, the real question to ask is what are you going to do to get out of a claim when most likely you did nothing wrong," said Ric Rosario, CPA, chief executive of Redwood City, Calif.-based Camico. "There's a claims lag, so the work you do today may not generate a claim against you for several years."

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