How companies present themselves to their professional indemnity insurers can sometimes be the difference between success and failure, says Greg Harrison of Howden.
The professional indemnity insurance (PII) market is challenging for all professional services firms, but none more than those working in the construction and property sector.
Many firms have had to deal with furloughing, negotiating pay cuts, reducing working hours, all the while trying to maintain a high standard of service to their clients. Business continuity plans have been stretched to their limits and the task of returning to work whilst managing social distancing will present even greater logistical challenges.
PII is another issue, with insurers looking closely at how the current crisis could impact the claims environment for businesses working within the construction and property sector. Rates for PII have been continuing to increase since October 2018 following the Lloyds Decile 10 review and are likely to continue to rise throughout 2021. Whilst this paints a gloomy picture there are things firms can do to help manage their PII costs throughout this challenging period. The way in which a firm is represented in the insurance market and how they present themselves to insurers can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.
It has never been more important to be represented by a broker who not only has a proven track record of working with your profession, but who also has access to and influence with insurers. Find a broker you can trust to navigate your firm through the process; one that gives you the personal attention you deserve. This is a time for specialist market professionals that have a demonstrable understanding of the inherent risks in the activities you undertake, but importantly, can grasp how your firms manages them.
Do your research. Make sure you select a broker who has experience of the construction and property sector. Your broker will be representing you and your business so it is imperative that you have confidence that they will present you strongly to insurers. A good broker will steer your firm through the current challenges affecting the PII renewal process. But it shouldn’t stop there. They will continue to keep you updated on important factors and regulatory changes affecting the market throughout the year to ensure you are well informed during, after and right on until your next renewal.
Some of the questions you should consider asking a prospective broker are: -
- Are you a specialist PII broker?
- What is the extent of your involvement and expertise in our sector?
- What are the main issues concerning insurers, specific to the work we undertake?
- Can you access insurers directly or do you have to use other brokers to access some or all of them?
- What would be your proposed strategy for our renewal?
- Do you have an in-house claims team to provide assistance if a claim is made against us?
- What other support and assistance do you provide during the year?
Once you have decided on a broker, you need to ensure that you are doing all that you can to present your business in the best way possible when it comes to your proposal form. The second article in this series, published next week, considers what you need to include when completing your proposal form.
Greg Harrison is an associate director at the specialist insurance broker Howden.