Minimising The Pain Of March Renewal

Jon Cook

24 November 2020

The last PII renewal season on 1st October saw significant premium rate increases - 35% to 50% was not uncommon.

There continues to be a lack of available capacity in the Insurance sector for Solicitors, and rates are continuing to rise in turn pushing premiums higher. It is a perfect storm for some law firms who face increases in one of their principal costs whilst having to cope with the effects of the pandemic and potential reduced income. Those with claims and regulatory issues may even face Insurability problems with some unable to obtain cover.
In a “sellers” market, where Insurers are at times putting forward terms on a “take it or leave it” basis and taking the opportunity, in their eyes, to correct their rate structures, your broker may not be adequately equipped to deal with the pressures effectively.
At Advantage Consulting we are able to help clients with their Insurance, coverage and pricing issues in a number of areas;
• Law firms who simply complete and return a proposal form, as a stand alone document, without identifying the positive features of the firm, will get back whatever the “market rate” is. In most cases that is likely to be a significant price hike.
• Some (but not all) Insurance Brokers employ sales and relationship people who neither fully understand how underwriters assess risks, nor the actual mechanics of what Solicitors do on a day to day basis. They are therefore unable to help identify the positive features of a law firm that need to be brought to an underwriter’s attention that will help the underwriter understand the firm better.
• Underwriters are actively seeking to improve their books of business, and are interested in good quality risks, or those “with a story”. For example, where a firm inherently exhibits quality features, but has had some claims for a specific and known reason, which could be for put aside for underwriting purposes if explained properly.
• In order to provide rate improvements the underwriters need something on their file to justify why they have charged a certain premium, and if law firms don’t take the time to give them that, they will very likely be a part of the conveyor of rate increases which is gathering momentum.
As a Lexcel and legal sector consultant we are experienced in being able to identify and gather all of the positive features of a law firm, and help present them in the best way to their audience – in this case their Insurers.

Our work in process improvement and client management systems enables us to assist with bringing out all of the quality aspects of the firm’s client management activities which enables underwriters to put forward a lower premium rate structure.

We are also able to assist with identifying any red flags in advance of them sending anything to the Insurer, because the presentation is important and managing the message is essential.

Advantage are a consultancy firm providing legal services to Solicitors. We are able to help law firms in being able to identify the information that they need for their PII renewal, however for Insurance placement services, we work in conjunction with our FCA registered Insurance partners.
Our Insurance partners enable clients to meet with their Insurers because no one tells their story as well as they do, and the additional written and verbal information provided is sometimes more important than their proposal form in ensuring that their premiums are competitive.

They automatically conduct cover audits for each new client (they are actually required to do so by the FCA) and they also undertake risk audits to identify where a firm’s exposures are, whether they know about them, and how they can protect them.


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