Supervising multiple offices: what to tell your PI insurer

25 August 2015

Some of the most common questions posed by insurers on a Solicitors Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) proposal form are how many branch offices you have, the fee income from each branch and most importantly the supervision in place. They want reassurance that each branch is being run to consistently high standards to reduce the possibility of Professional Indemnity claims.

What do insurers want to know?

Most insurers will require a firm to show that they have adequate supervision in place at each branch, normally a partner who has overall responsibility for each branch. If the partner is not permanently based there then you should explain how the supervision works. This should include:

  • A full explanation of the supervision procedures in place at each branch
  • The experience of the support staff at each location
  • The work undertaken at each branch
  • Full details of the case management systems in place
  • Full details of risk management procedures

What happens if insurers don’t have all the information they need?

If the number of branches is greater than the number of Partners working at the practice, insurers may have concerns that the firm doesn’t have the necessary resources and experience in place to properly supervise. This does not mean that the insurer will not provide terms, however they will look for more detail how the firm supervises the branches.

For example, an insurer may view a 4 partner firm with 4 offices as a group of sole practitioners and rate accordingly, or possibly decide not to offer terms to that practice as this falls outside of their underwriting appetite.

Your broker should be able to help you satisfy the insurers’ needs for detailed information and how to convey this correctly on the proposal form to ensure you receive a competitive quote.

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