Solicitors' Professional Indemnity Insurance

golden plaque with the word solicitorsThe market for Solicitors’ PII

In revenue terms, solicitors professional indemnity insurance (PII) is worth in the region of £ 250 million in annual premiums to the insurance market. This is for the 'primary' insurance cover and a further £ 50 million comes from excess layer or 'top-up' cover. This is generated by the 11,000 law firms practising in England and Wales. 

80% of law firms renew their PII on 1 October

Until recently all law firms renewed their PII on the same day each year, the 1st October. However, this was a chaotic system and the common renewal date idea was finally abandoned in 2014. Now law firms are free to arrange and renew their cover at anytime during the year. That said, around 80 % of law firms still renew their PII on 1 October each year and it will probably take years for this date to unravel itself from the renewal process. 

Number of qualifying insurers

In England and Wales you can only buy solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance from an insurer who has signed up to the SRA’s Qualifying Insurers Agreement. There are approximately 20 Insurers actively underwriting lawyers professional indemnity insurance but there is some churn each year with some insurers withdrawing and some new entrants.

90% of law firms use a broker

The product distribution is heavily dominated by insurance brokers who arrange PII on behalf of over 90% of law firms. Like any market you'll find the good, bad and ugly so if you need some expert guidance contact us for details on 0345 251 4000. Also read our guide Why You Need An Insurance Broker.

Setting up a new law firm?

When submitting an application to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, new firms will need to include a quotation or 'offer of professional indemnity insurance' from an SRA authorised professional indemnity insurer. This must be in accordance with the Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTC) as set out in the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules. To obtain a quotation, a fully completed proposal form will be required by insurance companies, together with a copy of the business plan, cash flow forecasts and CV's of the partners or directors. New firms should bear in mind that there is a six year mandatory 'run off' requirement for professional indemnity insurance if you subsequently cease to practice. 

How is the premium calculated?

The rating of a law firm or any professional indemnity risk is a complex process. Underwriters need to be highly skilled and require a significant amount of information to enable them to provide a quotation which accurately reflects the risk they are pricing. Premiums are calculated based on many factors which will include:

  • The claims history 
  • Categories of work undertaken (see below)
  • The number of partners or directors to staff ratios   
  • Firm’s fee income

To assess the risk the underwriter will require a fully completed proposal form which they will consider in detail. They will also look at the firms website or they may even look deeper online into a firms background.

What work is high risk?

All work carries some risk and for the legal profession this varies considerably. The following is by no means an exhaustive list but gives you some idea of the type of legal work where professional indemnity claims mainly come from.

Low Risk               Adjudication, Agency, Children Work, Criminal, Expert Witness, Immigration, Officers and Appointments.

Medium Risk        Defendant Litigation, Employment, Matrimonial, Personal Injury, Town Planning,

High Risk             Commercial Litigation, Estate Agency, Financial Advice, Intellectual Property, Probate, Trusts and Wills, Tax Planning.

Very High Risk    Commercial Work (public and non public companies), Conveyancing (commercial and residential).

Always create a good impression

Presentation is more important that you might think. The underwriter is assessing the professionalism and quality of your firm and if the information is badly presented, it may influence their judgement and the premium they offer or they may even decline to quote.

What do we know about insuring law firms?

We are independent and have excellent market relationships with insurers and brokers. Our independence allows us to access most SRA authorised insurers, helping our clients to achieve the very best from the open market system.

In this competitive market, solicitors need to make informed decisions about their choice of Insurer, so good advice from their broker is essential. Because we are independent we are not tied agents to any schemes or insurers we access the key markets and you can be sure any recommendation or advice we give is impartial.

A rated Insurers

We will only place our clients with A rated insurers to ensure we deliver stability and reliability as well as value. 

Getting a PII quotation

Obtaining an alternative quotation could save you a lot of money. For a no-obligation quotation please call us on 01934 710144 or email sales@professionalindemnity.co.uk. We are PII experts and promise we won't pursue you with endless calls from pushy sales people.