ost firms will nowbe turning their
thoughts to their annual professional
indemnity insurance (PII) renewal.This
article looks at the process: what you can expect,
some topical hotspots and other aspects to
consider, and some additional thoughts for firms
First, there is the process itself: expect the usual
deluge of proposal forms and telephone calls, some
fromestablished brokers who knowwhat they are
doing, but quite a few too fromnon-mainstream
players. Solicitors’PII is highly specialised, andmuch
as the chap round the corner may do a very good
job on your office insurance, there is no substitute
for truly specialised advice on PII fromsomeonewho
knows themarket and knows what particular
insurers are concerned about.Youwould not
instruct even the best criminal lawyer to do
your conveyancing, and the same applies here.
Failure to appreciate that has cost some firms dear.
Equally, you should not instruct multiple brokers
to represent you. I advised one firmwhich had failed
to take that point on board.They had a particularly
difficult claims history, mainly down to successor
practice liability for a firm they had acquired, and
faced a severe challenge obtaining any quotation at
all. But theymade things far worse by instructing
multiple brokers.When they finally instructed a
broker with particular expertise in resolving difficult
cases, they found that many insurers were not
interested in discussing the casewith himbecause
they had already been approached by other brokers,
who had painted a poor picture of the firmwith
insufficient attention to the goodwork theywere
doing to put things right.
That said, there are several schemes with
brokers tied to particular insurers, so it is
inevitable that firms which are shopping around
will have to approach more than one broker.
But take professional advice first. It is worth
paying a fee for a good broker who truly knows
the market, in all but the simplest of cases.
For most firms, there may only be a choice of
about four insurers.
Not all insurers are created equal, as has been
graphically illustrated by the collapse of Quinn,
Lemma, Balva, and ERIC. I have acted for a number
of firms which found themselves uninsured as a
consequence and the resultant grief is not
something which many would wish to experience.
However, for many firms at the time, there may
have been little choice – other than to cease
An early start and a good choice of broker are key to a smooth renewal process,
Frank Maher is a partner at Legal
The professional indemnity
merry-go-round starts again