Life is moving on!
26th August 2015
So I am now more than a month into my time here at QLP, which means (to continue the sporting clichés that characterised my first blog) that I have lasted longer than an Australian innings. It has been an interesting and enjoyable time, dicing with the intricacies of rated insurers, third party funding and the much loved professional indemnity renewal season.
Overall, my impression of the professional indemnity market is that it is a competitive one – Brokers competing to secure solicitors the terms they need at an appropriate price creates a fast paced and challenging environment. However, it is also a complex and evolving one. In particular, recent times have seen a move by building societies and mortgage providers towards demanding a rated insurer in respect of professional indemnity cover. Indeed, it was recently reported that the Yorkshire Building Society Group took the decision to restrict membership to law firms covered by rated providers – an exclusion which comes as the SRA considers whether to ban unrated insurers from the solicitors PII market.(Balva being the most egregious PI insurer I have heard mentioned).
Whilst this is a move that could enhance client protection, it is one that will undoubtedly force up costs for conveyancers who could have little choice but to move to rated capacity, especially if other lenders follow suit. The reasons? Whilst cutting down panel membership may be a factor, the overriding reason seems to be the transfer of risk away from the lenders themselves. As a Yorkshire Building Society spokesperson said: “Professional indemnity insurance is an important part of the package of measures we use in order to ensure that we do not place ourselves at undue risk… following the recent financial collapses of PII providers Quinn and Lemma.”
An interesting and challenging time to be taking my first steps as a broker, then. In making them, I have learned a huge amount, not just about insurance or business, but also about life in the City and the practicalities of working life: to-do lists, for example, are as vital as a coffee in the morning (having spent many years silently mocking those reliant on ‘the black stuff’ I am no longer sure how I ever managed without it.) And with that said, I just hope that the next few months facilitating your insurance desires are as enjoyable and informative as the last!