As the holiday season nears an end, so the temperature rises in the annual round of solicitors’ PII renewals. And so far, so good. All our existing clients have completed the arduous task of completing the annual proposal form and so the ball is firmly in our court to negotiate the right terms with insurers.
At the outset of the season we cautiously predicted market conditions similar to 2013. And so far, so good. We have renewed a range of policies in early August with terms that have been entirely satisfactory, including some welcome reductions for improving risks.
Interestingly the SRA review has had little, if any, impact on insurers’ thinking. This in itself is not surprising. There was little of anything in the review that addressed the fundamental issues that affect the market; insurers remain concerned about SRA’s “Minimum Terms and Conditions” which are so onerous when compared to any other professional or indeed trade sector.
Unrated insurers continue to be a worrying presence in the market as does the underwriting appetite of all insurers for smaller practices. In the last 6 years almost 4500 policies have been sold to solicitors by unrated insurers. Our advice remains unchanged here. Unrated capacity is not a prudent option.
One trend we are seeing again this year is the tendency for some insurers to renew their existing policies before thinking about new business. We simply cannot understand this approach. Most solicitors with a good track record tend to review early in the season leaving those risks in distress to seek new homes late in the season. If only all insurers were proactive.
For our part we have no doubt that being proactive is the only course of action. Tackle the exercise as early as possible. Adopt a good strategy and let us do the rest.
So far, so good.