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V

M

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

with difficulties.

Brokers

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.

Insurers

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

PII FOCUS

GUEST FOREWORD

An early start and a good choice of broker are key to a smooth renewal process,

writes

Frank Maher

Frank Maher is a partner at Legal

Risk

www.legalrisk.co.uk

SJ

PII Focus

The professional indemnity

merry-go-round starts again