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Accountants insurance is changing

Posted by 31 August, 2010 (0) Comment

Accountants indemnity changes 1st September

 

I thought you might be interested to hear about the new rules for accountant’s professional indemnity. Here I explain why it’s important to make an early report of claim circumstances, where problems with timing could occur plus a clear definition of what should be reported.

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Why should I report a minor concern?

Some policyholders believe that premiums go up if they report scenarios that are not really claims. If they don’t report a “circumstance” it proves to be a false economy. When the rules change it’s even easier to make a costly late notification.

Claims don’t happen often yet the early warning signs are common. Questioning fees, complaints about service and a lack of communication are typical indicators that a client or third party may become litigious. Especially if they don’t get their own way.

 

Have the new ICAEW rules made it clearer?

The new wording applies to cover effected on or after 1st September 2010 and makes it clear that claims can and will be declined if “circumstances” are not reported before the expiry of a policy. The intention is to ensure that insurance companies are aware of possible claims before the policy expires.

There is no longer a wishy washy wording – previously insurers refused claims notified later than they would like. This was despite the policy being on a “claims made” basis meaning claims made after the expiry would be covered if the work was completed during the period of cover. The terms of notification were not clear.

Now, possible claim circumstances not reported within the policy period will not be covered. Period.

 

What is a circumstance?

Definitions in policy wordings can be subtly altered without the policyholder noticing. Insurance contracts are full of detail. A “circumstance” is anything likely to affect the underwriters view of the risk. That doesn’t mean all complaints should be reported.

It’s ridiculous to report all complaints so ask your insurance supplier to interpret what is termed reasonable by your insurance company. There is no need for the new rule to result in more red tape. The fact that I’m writing about it means it probably will at the change is embedded into the policy wordings. That is not the intention, it’s just the devil is in the policy detail. We all want claims settled promptly and correctly.

 

Wrap up: Attempts to make policies clearer add to confusion. Indemnity policies have strict timescales for reporting claims or circumstances. Guidance on what a circumstance is should be sought before a policy expires, ie. before the renewal date.

Top Tip: Uncertainty is not good for anyone. Ask your insurance supplier for clarification of expiry dates, notification deadlines and clarify what “circumstances” are real in your World.

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Categories : Accountants Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,General Requirements,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Solicitors frustrated by broker tactics

Posted by 23 August, 2010 (0) Comment

Now silly season is upon us, I thought I would update you on what is actually happening in the solicitor’s indemnity market. I know quite a few solicitors and I understand their frustrations. Rather than wax lyrical, I’m going to stick to the good, the bad and the ugly in the current market.

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The good

There are a lot of hard working brokers out there who are satisfied that they have strong enough relationships with their clients and are not using “hard ball” tactics to scare their clients into renewal. You probably have one of those on your side and your terms and conditions will be reasonable.

Ensure you provide full and detailed information when requesting your renewal terms.

The bad

There are two realities to explain. A solicitor received his form, returned it and was given terms within 48 hours. He was also given 7 days (make that 5) to make his mind up. That’s not even legal.

Another practice (with the same supplier) has incorrect “claims” on the practice’s record and the supplier is refusing to correct them. Naturally, they are worried that the terms will be provided late and prove onerous.

The ugly

Some practices (mainly SP’s) have been refused terms by their current insurer already and are filling out forms (more in desperation than hope) whilst considering their future if they cannot find cover. Their supplier should have helped them with the complicated forms.

The reason for declinature is not being made clear or doesn’t add up. One broker refused to tell their client which insurance companies they had approached. That is not service as it leaves the policyholder with no real options.

Wrap up: Some suppliers are great at maintaining relationships and have secured excellent terms. Others are playing hard ball when they do provide terms, taking advantage of the fact that the competition need time to offer an alternative. Some are being obstructive or abandoning clients they cannot easily help.

Top Tip: If an application is declined request a detailed reason before applying elsewhere.

Categories : Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Liability Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance Tags : , , , , ,

Litigation expenses insurance – Before or after?

Posted by 26 July, 2010 (0) Comment

Insurance for legal expenses has evolved along with CFA’s. Client’s may prefer the new “hybrid” offerings that allow them to pay later. Timing is of the essence and there are ways to attract the most favourable rates.

Insurance as an investment

Appropriate policies are an investment if set up correctly. Some insurance companies will accept payment of the premium after the case is concluded and they have a variety of ways to ensure that it is paid. Typically, client’s that have already assessed they have a good chance of winning the case before approaching the insurance market receive the best terms.

It’s important that the terms and conditions of the policy dovetail with other agreements. Only then will the policy pay out, return on investment is guaranteed when everything is in order. As long as the policyholder is aware of the terms and conditions, so they know exactly where they stand.

Interpretation is everything

Insurers will not issue cover without undertaking a thorough review of the circumstances. Provide them with a good case backed up by counsel’s opinion and they will respond accordingly. Investing time at this stage will ensure terms and conditions are favourable.

No two policy wordings are the same so interpret the terms in the worst possible light to exclude shades of grey. If it sounds like it isn’t covered, it probably isn’t. The brochure will paint a picture, the policy wording is the High Definition document.

As an independent broker I am (almost) professionally obliged to say you should refer to an independent broker. Be that anyone you choose, they will be able to interpret the policy conditions and the manner in which different insurance companies handle settlements. Each quotation should be judged on it’s merits.

Timing is of the essence

The earlier you apply for a quotation the better. If clients are relying on After the Event Insurance it is more expensive and restrictive than annual arrangements. As soon as you hear about a claim encourage the participant to at least consider cover. They may already have cover attached to another policy yet it will only apply if a notification is made early.

Delayed applications could mean increased percentages of awards being deducted from your costs or the clients award – if there is one. An insurance company will ensure it receives it’s premium. Where it comes from is up to the applicants.

Wrap up: Insurance is a prudent investment for strong cases. Terms and conditions from a range of providers can be assessed quickly and easily by an experienced eye. A strong case presented early will attract the most favourable settlement terms.

Top Tip: Don’t search the market yourself if your time is worth money.

Categories : After The Event,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Solicitors insurance Tags : , , , , , ,

Solicitor’s professional indemnity concerns

Posted by 6 July, 2010 (0) Comment

Some solicitors are still punch drunk from last year.

With fewer insurance companies offering cover this year solicitors need more help than ever. Some are rolling with the punches, others have already given up. Here are the options including the good bad and ugly.

Last year the renewal season lead to the dreaded ARP charging solicitors 35% of turnover just to stay in business. Since then, Quinn has proved unreliable and their biggest supporters in the broking community are scrambling round the market for a viable alternative.  The Law Society Gazette reports that mergers are on the up and “the biggest driver over the next few months will be the professional indemnity insurance Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Solicitors insurance Tags : , , , , ,

You don’t want insurance companies to pay fraudsters – especially if they’re using your premium

Posted by 15 February, 2010 (0) Comment

Have you contributed to Madoff’s legal defence costs?

 

Not all insurance disputes should be won by the insured, especially if they are fraudulent.

Usually I’m furious when I hear that an insurance claim has been declined. This time I was pleased; Lloyd’s of London successfully defended themselves in a US court when Madoff tried to appeal that Lloyd’s were wrong to cut off the funding of his defence costs.

Lloyd’s had already parted with $4million whilst the legal eagles prepared their cases. They pulled the plug after one of his cohorts pleaded Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Accountants Insurance,All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,General Requirements Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Professional Indemnity Insurance – Discover how to avoid losses

Posted by 25 January, 2010 (0) Comment

Professional advisers are not always protected by their insurance

 

Want to know why some indemnity insurance claims are declined? I have two examples of claims being declined, one more extreme than the other, yet both prove small errors can prove costly. And I’m going to tell you why they were declined and how to avoid it happening.

The first is the most recent, only a few months ago an insurance company refused to cover a claim for a company that was being sued for £47,000. The claim related to an incident that occurred in July 2005 when they had translated a document (allegedly incorrectly) yet it would have been covered if the insurance company had been made aware of it earlier. Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Accountants Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,