Conveyancing claims are not just a factor of the recession, the latest LeO report would imply. Complaints and Claims often share a common genesis - and these latest figures from the Legal Ombudsman suggest that practitioners still need to tighten up their practices.
1 in 5 complaints relate to Conveyancing
The overheated property market - most notable in London and parts of the south east is fuelling a return to the residential property 'boom and bust' that more than any other factor has fuelled the recent instability in solicitors PII markets. The Legal Ombudsman report has identified that last year, one in five complaints related to a conveyancing transaction. Close to £1m was paid out in compensation as a result of complaints alone in 2013, let alone the many £millions paid and reserved in actual claims. It is worth flagging to those who have not read some of the other recent articles on this site, that residential property claims are currently responsible for around 43% of ALL claims against solicitors (Lockton claims statistics, 2008-2012).
Regardless of any of the changes recently mooted by the SRA in respect of PII, it will be property claims more than any other factor that determine the insurability of / affordability of insurance for a legal practice.
Insurers are continuing to drill into the causes of claims, and will ask searching questions of conveyancing firms at renewal. It is more important than ever that your firm can demonstrate that it is a good risk for insurers.
What you can do
Do you undertake 20% or more conveyancing, particularly residential conveyancing?
Are you a practice with 4 or fewer partners/members?
If you answered yes to either or both these questions, you are already face restrictions in your choice of professional indemnity insurer, and are likely to be considered an higher risk practice.
It is therefore essential that you can demonstrate, through a consistently good claims record, and clearly evidenced systems and procedures, why an insurer should consider insuring your practice.
How Lockton can help
Lockton provide detailed guidance on risk management submissions, and will work with you to identify the key measures that you need to be able to demonstrate to insurers.