Solicitors’ “silly season” is not so silly

Posted by 20 August, 2012 (0) Comment

Silly season is upon us and the PI renewal scramble has already started. Yet it isn’t so mad this year. Read on to find out if that is because of the ABS’, SRA or insurers.

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Rates Are Down

Deck of cards on a graph - Business GambleCould it be that insurance companies are being more amenable because there are now fewer firms looking for specialist solicitors indemnity? Their market is shrinking. Perhaps firms set up as ABS’ have found a better way of meeting SRA requirements? Perhaps new regulations for COLPs and COFAs have lead to fewer claims.

It’s more likely that the new entrance into this specialist market have increased competition. This could lead to short term gains and long term pains, like Quinn.

Are New Entrants Good News?

There is a certain amount of irony here. Over the last few years insurance companies have not accepted proposals from solicitors with shaky finances. Yet solicitors will accept quotations from insurance companies they’ve never heard of, with claims departments that may as well be in Timbuktu.

Solicitors seem happy to rely on the fact that SRA approved the new entrants, and brokers are happy to offer the quotations if it secures them a client or renewal.

Memories must be extremely short because the SRA approved Quinn too, and brokers continued to offer Quinn quotations days before they went bust.

Dig A Little Deeper

It’s a good time for solicitors to take their pick from the available insurance companies. I can still see the logic in getting the best rates, reducing costs and ticking the SRA box.

Now the market is competitive again it would be prudent to delve a little deeper into insurance company service. Does the policy provide the right cover – yes. Will you get assistance from the claims department – probably. Will the way the claim is handled meet your expectations… who knows!

Wrap up: COLPs and COFAs – love the role or hate it, they are the people that can implement lessons that businesses have learnt and solicitors have been deprived of. The identification of near misses and risks that solicitors were previously unaware of, will help practises evolve profitably.

Top tip: COLPs and COFAs can reduce costs and increase profits. Undertaking the role properly will mean both can be achieved independently of each other.

Who to share this with: Managing Partners, COLPs and COFAs.

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Solicitors frustrated by broker tactics

Posted by 23 August, 2010 (0) Comment

Now silly season is upon us, I thought I would update you on what is actually happening in the solicitor’s indemnity market. I know quite a few solicitors and I understand their frustrations. Rather than wax lyrical, I’m going to stick to the good, the bad and the ugly in the current market.

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The good

There are a lot of hard working brokers out there who are satisfied that they have strong enough relationships with their clients and are not using “hard ball” tactics to scare their clients into renewal. You probably have one of those on your side and your terms and conditions will be reasonable.

Ensure you provide full and detailed information when requesting your renewal terms.

The bad

There are two realities to explain. A solicitor received his form, returned it and was given terms within 48 hours. He was also given 7 days (make that 5) to make his mind up. That’s not even legal.

Another practice (with the same supplier) has incorrect “claims” on the practice’s record and the supplier is refusing to correct them. Naturally, they are worried that the terms will be provided late and prove onerous.

The ugly

Some practices (mainly SP’s) have been refused terms by their current insurer already and are filling out forms (more in desperation than hope) whilst considering their future if they cannot find cover. Their supplier should have helped them with the complicated forms.

The reason for declinature is not being made clear or doesn’t add up. One broker refused to tell their client which insurance companies they had approached. That is not service as it leaves the policyholder with no real options.

Wrap up: Some suppliers are great at maintaining relationships and have secured excellent terms. Others are playing hard ball when they do provide terms, taking advantage of the fact that the competition need time to offer an alternative. Some are being obstructive or abandoning clients they cannot easily help.

Top Tip: If an application is declined request a detailed reason before applying elsewhere.

Categories : Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Liability Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance Tags : , , , , ,

Solicitor’s professional indemnity concerns

Posted by 6 July, 2010 (0) Comment

Some solicitors are still punch drunk from last year.

With fewer insurance companies offering cover this year solicitors need more help than ever. Some are rolling with the punches, others have already given up. Here are the options including the good bad and ugly.

Last year the renewal season lead to the dreaded ARP charging solicitors 35% of turnover just to stay in business. Since then, Quinn has proved unreliable and their biggest supporters in the broking community are scrambling round the market for a viable alternative.  The Law Society Gazette reports that mergers are on the up and “the biggest driver over the next few months will be the professional indemnity insurance Read the rest of this entry

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