In the midst of the Lockdown, we are now coming to terms with the realisation of a significant impact the Coronavirus will have on pretty much all industry and commerce for the present and years ahead. Although, with recent news of a planned roadmap to recovery, we are still expecting this to be slow and tenuous.
With the next significant date of 1st October for Solicitors to renew their Professional Indemnity Insurance, Insurers with their actuarial minds are now looking to their Insureds to explain what they have been doing to mitigate risk in light of the momentous change to our lives.
As the questions start to trickle in from the various Insurers, it is no surprise to find that many of the questions have similarities. These are mainly based around remote working, financial position, trade restrictions, and adequate IT systems, etc. All areas that would affect a law firm's risk profile and if not addressed, could impact the Insurer's attitude to your next renewal.
With an increased number of Insurers wanting their own COVID-19 specific questions answered we felt, as an independent broker to many of the participating Insurers, we should assimilate all their questions into one composite question set to be widely agreed and accepted by all the Insurers. Although, these questions are still coming through, and expected change as we evolve, to share some of the questions now will hopefully enable you to prepare your responses and working practices for when it is time to submit your renewal presentations.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions being asked by Underwriters to date:
- How is the firm ensuring that deadlines are not missed, things that need to be done timeously are completed on time?
- How is information needed, such as files in relation to present or past work, whether electronic or paper, remaining easily accessible?
- Given the anticipated slowdown in conveyancing transactions across the market in the next 6 months, what are the firm's contingency arrangements to ensure their continued financial stability?
- Have you made any material changes to your workflows as a result of remote working?
- What processes have you put in place to deal with post? How is it being collected, time frame, re-direction etc?
- How is the firm ensuring that the quality of work remains as on par with the level before the crisis?
- Do you have the ability to work remotely in way similar to being in the office? i.e. electronic desktops can be accessed remotely
- Do you have remote access to all your core systems?
- Do you have an electronic document management system or are you reliant on paper files?
- Does your firm have a central diary system to log business critical dates?
- What contingency plans do you have in place to cope with increased staff absence as a result of the Covid 19 crisis
- Has the firm furloughed any staff or otherwise reduced staff numbers?
The likely benefit of this information would be to analyse the data on a macro basis to identify any correlation in claim notifications. Although many of these will be obvious in the current environment, as Professional Indemnity is considered long tail liability, we may not know the true impact of Covid 19 for years to come. The information will hopefully help firms plan and protect themselves from a similar scenario.
Please feel free to contact your Account Executive to see if they can provide any further guidance in any of these areas. We look after many firms of all shapes and sizes and have already spoken to many firms around their own plans, so sharing ideas and experiences could help your business.