See useful guidance to secure your Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) for 2023/24.
Recent years saw increased premiums driven by global issues in insurance markets, followed by a reduction in premiums last year. While insurers continue to be cautious, it is hoped that we will see further reductions in premiums with the entry of a new insurer this year, Carbon Underwriting, and increased capacity from existing insurers.
The Law Society has put significant effort into combating the increases in premium in recent years, establishing the market’s reputation as a low-risk environment and fostering strong relationships with existing and potential new insurers. This strategy has been successful:
The total PII premium pool has reduced by over €3 million last year.
Existing insurers have increased their capacity.
One new insurer has entered the market, Carbon Underwriting Limited, and all existing insurers have remained.
For the 2023/2024 indemnity period, the Law Society is cautiously optimistic that this downward trend in premiums will continue.
Tips for renewal
Resources to get started on your PII renewal are now available on the Insurance (PII) page, and you can find useful tips to manage the process here.
- Financing your premium: You should put financing PII premiums at the top of your to-do list, including use of savings or obtaining the necessary loan facilities. The Law Society is partnered with Bank of Ireland to provide a finance facility for members up to 1 March 2024, and you can view details under Practice Support. Some insurers offer the ability to stagger premium payments over the year, using either monthly or quarterly payments. You should ask your broker for assistance with negotiating such staggered premium payments with your insurer.
- Make your broker work for their commission: Brokers are providing you with a service and are being paid a fee – you are their client. Your broker should pay due regard to the interests of your firm, acting as your advocate, advisor and champion in the market. A good broker will not redirect you to the Law Society for assistance in obtaining insurance, as this is their role. Ask your broker what fees they get for placing your insurance and what services they will provide you for that fee, agreeing acceptable service levels with your broker in advance of the renewal.
- Test the market: Brokers usually have access to only two or three insurers in the market. To maximise the number of quotes you obtain and your chances of affordable cover, you should send your common proposal form to all insurers in the market, with the exception of insurers that do not cover your type of firm. Even if you have been with an insurer for years, they could change their underwriting criteria, leaving you without cover unless you have a back-up plan. Firms that ‘shopped around’ reported the greatest reduction in premium last year. If your broker does not have access to the entire market, you should use more than one broker.
- Apply early: Insurers have limited capacity and so will have a maximum number of firms that they are willing to cover. You should apply as early as possible to ensure that you obtain a quote before the insurers close their books, even if you have been with your insurer for a number of years. The common proposal form and guidance are available on the Insurance (PII) page.
- Consider variable renewal dates: Variable renewal dates have been available since 2011, so discuss whether they are right for you with your broker. Bear in mind that you may receive a higher quote, and insurers may not be willing to write cover mid-year due to limited capacity.
- Consider first party cyber-cover: Your PII provides third party civil liability cover and does not provide first party cover for your losses in the event of a cyber-attack. Discuss the possibility of obtaining separate first party cyber-cover with your broker: it should act to protect you from such losses, while also giving you access to experts to rectify IT gaps and PR issues after an attack. Such cover also makes your firm much more attractive to insurers as it is a sign of active risk management.
- Remember the deadline: It is the responsibility of each firm to ensure that you have PII in place before the mandatory renewal date of 1 December 2023. Confirmation of PII cover must be provided through the Law Society’s online PII portal by your broker on or before close of business on 6 December 2023.
Here to help
The Law Society is here to assist with any queries you have. Further information on premium calculation tips for renewal, guidance, and helpful documentation can be found in our Guide to PII Renewal.
You can contact the Society’s PII helpline by email email@example.com or phone 01 879 8707.