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Taking the lead on professional indemnity: 5 top tips for brokers

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Guest blog originally written for Insurance Age. 

Our PI Underwriting Director, John Booth explores how brokers can get the best for their clients from their PI provider.

Some clients don't quite understand what Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance provides. In fact, many only purchase the cover for contractual reasons where, in order to secure a particular contract, they must show proof of insurance. However, there is much more to achieving a good PI policy than just ticking a box. 

These clients will depend on brokers to provide independent, professional advice on the best options available to them, which can be a challenging task for brokers, with so many different alternatives. 

Here are our five top tips:

1. Source cover from a reliable, long-term insurer – with the PI market open to transitioning from a soft market to hard market and vice versa, it's essential to place your clients' policies with insurers who are able to weather these fluctuations, while remaining financially stable and able to pay out should your clients need them to. But how can you determine this? Financial ratings are a good indicator and Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and AM Best all offer these. 

Beyond these factors, brokers must also consider an insurer's underwriting approach and service level.

It is also essential to check what other services the insurer provides; for example, can you bind cover using their portal; is there an interest-free instalment payment facility; do you have direct access to decision-makers? These are all questions you should ask yourself.

2. Efficient claims management – ultimately, your client purchases PI cover to protect their business in the event of a claim, so it is therefore essential to consider this process when recommending and placing policies. An effective claims team should have specialist claims handlers with legal qualifications. Service should be bespoke and each claim should have a dedicated claims handler.   

3. First impressions are vital – if you want an effective and timely solution for your client, consider how you present this to an underwriter. If brokers ensure their client's details and requirements are clear, we can more easily and speedily apply our tailored underwriting approach which takes each unique risk into account and provide cover that is fit-for-purpose. 

4. Check contract conditions – contract limits can be set or changed, and it is essential to ensure that your clients have the appropriate level of cover for the types of projects and risks they are exposed to. 

It is also essential to consider the length of time they need to maintain PI cover for, and the basis of that cover ('any one claim' AOC – cover for unlimited claims up to the maximum amount stated in the schedule, or 'aggregate' AGG – the maximum amount of coverage for all claims made within the given period.) 

5. What other coverages are available? – let your clients know that they do have the option to place multiple covers under the same policy. 

For example, they may find it simpler to cover their PI along with their liability, property, legal expenses and management liability insurance all under the same policy, with the same underwriter managing their entire portfolio. One policy, one renewal date, one premium and, more importantly, if something does happen, one notification.

When selecting a PI policy, it is vital to consider not only the Insured's risks and requirements, but also the Insurer's reliability, claims process, and accessibility. Our consistent underwriting approach, easy-to-access portals, and in-house claims management team are just some of the reasons why brokers choose PI cover from Tokio Marine HCC. 

If you are interested in learning more or have any questions about our PI policies – speak to one of our specialist underwriters today using the details above or click here to visit our PI page. 

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