Friday 12 September 2008

What's going on with Professional Indemnity insurance?

It is always interesting to compare notes when meeting other practitioners. So, it was reassuring on Wednesday when chatting with other sole practitioners to discover that the vast majority have yet to receive a Professional Indemnity renewal proposal. At least I'm not the only one I thought.

I have since asked around and found out that some SPs have already received quotes, but they are invariably clients of Zurich or Travellers. I gather there are only 3 insurers for IP solicitors - QBE, Zurich and Travellers.

Zurich seems to have been quick to tell those SPs they were not going to offer terms to. They were given at least 2 months notice. Other Zurich clients seem to have received their terms already.

However, it was only today following a lunch of (non IP) sole practitioners, that I discovered that no one has received a quote from AON. What is going on at QBE (AON's tied insurer)?

I know AON dropped some SPs only last week, which is appallingly short notice. But who knows whether it is just sole practitioners who have been kept waiting by AON.

It may comfort the sole practitioners who were there on Wednesday, and were clearly extremely worried, to know that IP lawyers are not the only ones who have yet to receive renewal proposals.

AON is certainly cutting it fine to leave law firms dangling for this long - especially given that some people filled in their proposal forms back in July. Whatever is going on - we will find out in due course. However, in the meantime, one has to question the wisdom of having the entire legal market renewing on the same date. Most firms I am coming across do not feel the current rules are satisfactory or make for a competitive framework.

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