Professional indemnity (PI) insurance is an important element of business and risk management for many professionals. PI insurance protects businesses and professionals from legal disputes that arise and claims of negligence or error. For most professionals, when they take out an indemnity insurance policy, they do so in the hope that they will never have to use it. However, a solicitor involved in providing professional advice or services needs to ensure a comprehensive indemnity insurance policy is in place.
For solicitors, their regulatory body, The Solicitors Regulation Authority, requires that solicitors ensure a sufficient PI insurance policy in place as a condition of membership to the body. The terms of the PI insurance policy must be no less extensive than the Minimum Terms and Conditions of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Additionally, the Solicitors Regulation Authority requires solicitors and firms to assess their work, their level of risk exposure, and the type of work they do before deciding what level of cover they need.
PI insurance is a growing industry and can be complex to navigate. However, solicitors need to ensure that they have a reasonable understanding of the market so they can choose the product that is right for them.
Where to get Solicitor PI Insurance
Law firms can approach reputable insurance experts such as NimbleFins to get PI insurance quotes. However, a solicitor usually needs to speak to a specialist insurance company that can provide a quote for the policy required for PI insurance. The cost of the PI insurance policy varies from firm to firm.
When deciding on what PI insurance policy is appropriate, solicitors should be mindful of the following:
- Check the minimum cover levels required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and find an insurance company that can offer the level of cover needed.
- Consider whether top-up cover for additional elements of cover is needed
- Gather all the information about the business to provide to the insurance company
- Consider the breadth, depth, and scope of work done and the fee levels
- Start early – get information together as soon as possible as the process can take weeks or even months, in some cases.
- Make sure to provide the underwriter with any additional information they request so they can make an informed decision when assessing the risk exposure
Many firms are often worried about past claims history, and rightly so. Insurers are fully aware that law firms may have had claims made against them in the past, so do not be afraid to share the claims’ details. If a firm can demonstrate that it has learned valuable lessons from past claims, and has put in place procedural changes to prevent reoccurrence of the claims, then the insurance company will consider this.
Solicitors Indemnity Insurance Brokers
Due to the complexities involved and the range of products available, it is important to speak to a specialist like a solicitors indemnity insurance broker who has the relevant experience to provide the cover needed. Insurance providers that specialise in solicitor’s PI insurance will help a solicitor navigate through the process and know what kind of policy is required.
It is difficult to estimate the level of cover needed by law firms. The level of PI insurance cover will vary depending on:
- the size of the firm
- the type of clients
- the level of risk exposure
- the fee income levels
- the type of contracts dealt with
- the potential legal costs a solicitor could face
There is no exact science when it comes to working out the level of cover required. A good insurance company will request lots of information so they can assess the level of risk exposure and provide a policy that is tailor-made for a business.
There may be some unfamiliar terms in the policy documents. Always read the terms of a policy carefully to ensure it covers what is needed, and revert to the broker or insurance company for clarification if there are any questions. Some common terms to be aware of include:
- Run-off cover – this type of cover protects a business even after it has stopped trading.
- Anyone claim – for example, a £2m limit for claims means this limit will apply for every claim made.
- Aggregate cover – for example, aggregate cover with a limit of £2m means that this is the limit for all claims made in that year.
Some key things to think about when it comes to PI insurance cover include the following:
- Carry out accurate assessments of a business, and this will ensure that the cover obtained is suitable for the business operations.
- Check the terms of a policy carefully.
- To amend or extend a policy, speak to the broker or insurance company.
- Keep accurate and up-to-date records of business operations.