Usually at this time of year insurance companies are starting to gear up for the annual bun fight that the professional indemnity market for solicitors has become. Over recent years insurers have pulled out and worried about the impact of the minimum terms and the ARP on their business models.
This year the lack of appetite by most insurance companies is evidenced by the lack of column inches compared with previous years and appears to be considerably subdued. Only yesterday Lockton’s were widely quoted as saying premiums would rise by a minimum of 10% even for firms with good claims records.
Chris Wright of Windsor Partners has contacted us saying
“As you are well aware the 1st October is fast approaching and although perhaps a little quieter in terms of articles on the solicitors’ renewal season, behind the scenes plenty has being going on. As well as firms having to deal with the recent changes to the Regulations, insurers have also been working on how they should react to, what they see as, the lack of much positive change.
Although it is now becoming clear, a number of potential new insurers have now decided not to enter the market and those existing insurers, although not leaving the market, will have a very modest appetite for new business, it is perhaps not all the usual “bad news”. Although as with every insurer at the moment we have to wait for the final agreement of the new minimum terms and approved insurer panel, we believe we will be one of only two brokers working with one of the very few new entrants to the market. This does not mean we will be weakening our very strong relationships with the other main insurers we have worked with over the years but does look likely to give us another very strong option for many firms.
This will be a UK based insurer who knows the profession well and will have a security rating more than acceptable to the broking community. More importantly this will not be restricted to the usual “10 partners and above” rule and the insurer will not be looking to run away from firms conducting conveyancing.
They will be looking for well run firms who have an open mind to a slightly different approach to future conveyancing claims and ring fencing some of these away from the PI policy. Luckily this is nothing too complicated and should not alter too much about how firms operate day to day. The new approach could see some future conveyancing claims not affecting the PI policy in place, taking some of the heat out of one of the main areas of risk that traditionally drives availability of competition for PI and of course the pricing.
Most insurers do not seem eager to quote prior to 1 August, however, we are talking to interested firms now and gathering the necessary information together that will identify how we can help them. We are also looking to meet and speak to each firm to explain the approach once we know it is viable for them. Although we are mainly geared towards 5 or 6 partner plus firms, we would be happy to try to assist any of the firms of your readership.”
At the moment the name of the insurance company and the details of the scheme are not in the public domain. As this innovation maybe the difference between an unacceptable premium that forces firms out of the market and survival many firms may wish to register their interest now with Windsor so that as soon as the details are available you have a real opportunity to stand at the front of the queue when the insurance company starts to determine which firms it will insurer and which it wont.
To request further information please contact Chris Wright of Windsor Partners.
Phone: 0207 133 1484