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Navigating the Solicitors’ PII Renewal Season: The Path Forward

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The Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) renewal period is always a pivotal time for legal practices, and this past season was no exception. With early renewals kickstarted by leading insurers and the introduction of fresh market players like Fortegra, the PII landscape for legal firms is evolving, offering a beacon of hope amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

A more “buoyant” market emerged, fuelled partly by insurers’ growing appetites to expand their portfolios, alongside the fresh competition stirred by new entrants. This dynamic has led to improved outcomes for many legal practices, signalling a shift from previous renewal seasons where constraints and high premiums often prevailed. However, despite the broader range of options and potentially lower premiums, certain cautious stances remained, especially regarding the proportion of property work insurers were willing to cover, highlighting a nuanced landscape where underwriting decisions are finely balanced against the backdrop of firm profiles and economic viability.

The Balancing Act of Risk and Reward

For the legal practices across England and Wales, the open market for solicitors’ PII since September 2000 has been largely beneficial, particularly as competition heats up. Yet, not all practices felt the positive impact this season, especially those with modest fee incomes or involved in higher-risk areas. Underwriters, always with an eye on the bottom line, have had to make tough calls, often leading to practices in perceived higher-risk areas facing challenges in securing favourable terms, irrespective of their work’s overall proportion.

This past renewal season, we noted some remarkable trends. Legal practices, particularly those with 4-5 partners, have seen significant growth, thereby impacting the premiums but, importantly, without eroding the profit margins thanks to a marginal average premium rise. It’s a delicate balance, reflecting broader economic trends and their influence on the legal sector.

As competition within the working layers of PII increases, especially for firms below the £5M fee income threshold, the market landscape appears increasingly favourable. Yet, this hasn’t entirely smoothed out the terrain, with the severity of claims and a complex risk environment keeping firms and their insurers on their toes.

Staying the Course with Current Insurers

One noteworthy trend is the high rate of firms renewing with their current providers, often under co-insured arrangements. This continuity underscores not just the complexities of the PII market but also the value of stable, long-term relationships between law firms and insurers, amidst a tapestry of shifting underwriting limits and shared risk-and-reward models.

Facing Forward: Risk Assessments and Premium Calculations

It’s clear that navigating the solicitors’ PII market is no small feat. From the necessity of rigorous risk assessments to the strategic considerations surrounding areas of practice, client profiles, and claims history, the factors influencing insurers’ decisions are multifaceted. This season has particularly highlighted the importance of cyber resilience, financial stability, and robust succession planning among practices aiming for favourable terms amidst a changing landscape.

Looking to this year, 2024: Optimism Amidst Uncertainty

As we eye the horizon, the trends hint at a continued positive trajectory for the solicitors’ PII market into 2024, with the expectation of more capacity entering the fray. For legal practices, this evolving landscape presents both opportunities and challenges, emphasising the need for detailed, transparent engagement with brokers and insurers alike.

In conclusion, while the latest solicitors’ PII renewal season has indeed seen shifting dynamics towards a more favourable market, the pathway to securing optimal terms remains complex, shaped by a practice’s profile, market conditions, and an insurer’s strategic appetite. Looking forward, the ability to adeptly navigate these waters, armed with comprehensive risk assessments and solid insurer relationships, will be key to leveraging the potential benefits of an increasingly competitive market.


  1. What led to a more favourable solicitors’ PII market last season? The entry of new insurers like Fortegra and heightened competition has led to more favourable outcomes for many legal practices.
  2. Why do some practices face difficulties obtaining favourable PII terms? Practices with modest fee incomes or involved in higher-risk areas often struggle due to the economic considerations underwriters must weigh, such as the desired minimum premium against the practice’s fee income.
  3. How has the PII premium trended for legal practices this season? Despite an average increase in fee incomes, premiums have risen modestly, ensuring that the profit margins for practices have not been significantly eroded.
  4. Why is continuity with current insurers important? Continuity offers stability and often reflects a mutual understanding and risk-sharing arrangement that benefits both insurers and insureds in the long run.
  5. What factors are crucial for practices to secure favourable PII terms? A comprehensive risk assessment, including areas of practice, client base, claims experience, and risk management protocols, is key among other considerations like cyber resilience and financial stability.

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