Lawcast 167: Oliver Wharmby, Priest & Co, on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Solicitors

Lawcast 167: Oliver Wharmby, Priest & Co, on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Solicitors

Professional Indemnity Insurance for solicitors is a matter of great importance – without it, solicitors cannot practice. I talk to Oliver Wharmby of Priest & Co, lloyds Insurance Brokers on the the current state of play in the insurance market which is by no means as straightforward as, perhaps, it was in previous years with Quinm not re-entering the solicitors professional indemnity insurance (PII) market this year in England & Wales.

We discuss:

1.  Introduction – what is PI – what does it cover and why do solicitors have to have it  – how much cover do big / small firms typically arrange? – any maximum on payout?  – What about excess?

2.  What is the scale of claims – roughly how many each year – value of claims – who are the biggest claimers / biggest risk

3.  Who provides the Insurance – qualifying insurer – how many – effect of Quinn / Hiscox – how difficult is insurance to get?  – what do insurers look for?  – difference between major Magic Circle firm and small practice – premium differential.

4.  When do solicitors need to get their Insurance organised by?

5. What if no-one will cover a firm?

6. What is the outlook for the forthcoming renewal season?

7.When is the best time to be obtaining quotes?


(Due to internet connectivity issues – there is a very short passage midway where sound quality deteriorates.  It is, however, brief)


Priest and Co are Lloyds Insurance Brokers and specialists in Professional Indemnity Insurance for the legal profession. They are happy to work in a broker capacity approaching the markets they have access to, but also in an advisory role to ensure all markets have been approached. They also have access to a distressed market for those firms that have no other alternative but the assigned risk pool.

If you would like some advice or to discuss matters with Oliver Wharmby – he would be delighted to assist.  You may contact him by email or through his office at Priest & Co

Tel: 0207 648 4122

The Law Society require that cover is provided through a qualifying insurer and in line with the minimum requirements. Because the Law society require cover to be so broad, there are very few insurers that are willing to provide the insurance. This creates a lack of supply for the large demand. There are roughly 12,000 law firms in the UK with one renewal date on 1st October.

Law Society Update

PII support

Quinn update

We have just learned that Quinn Insurance Limited has confirmed that it will not be re-entering the solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance (PII) market in England and Wales this year.

Articles worth looking at to follow up on this topic

5 thoughts on “Lawcast 167: Oliver Wharmby, Priest & Co, on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Solicitors

  1. A very big problem exists here and, I suspect, that only the larger firms will be able to obtain this cover in the future. Also, one suspects, that moves will be made to close down the ARP.

    A point which struck me was that conveyancing is now described as a “high risk” area. Why is this?

    Of course, one can see that the costs of some conveyancing deal going wrong due to negligent conveyancing would be massive. (Similarly problems with some wills). However, from what I recall, conveyancing used to be far more complex in the days of largely unregistered title. We even used to come across “settled land” – which I think is hardly heard of today. Would it be right to say that conveyancing is going wrong because of the quite extensive use of some very basically qualified staff who are supposed to be working under supervision? I even remember – not that long ago – one local firm employing a person to do conveyancing and that person did not even have GSCE law let alone an extensive knowledge of land law.

    It is a sad state of affairs that this problem was not “headed off at the canyon” much sooner.

  2. One aspect of insurance not covered in your podcast, because it wasn’t part of your remit but is still of interest, pertains to insurance between a non-law firm and an insurer organised by the non-law firms solicitor.

    The problem with these sorts of arrangements is that there appears to be some corrosion of the fiduciary relationship between the non-law firm and their solicitor. Arguable cases that may have been pursued in the absence of the insurance arrangement tend not to be since the solicitor seems to be protecting the insurance brokers interests rather than their clients interests.

  3. Pingback: Law review: Supreme Court to go on ‘Bonfire of The Quangos”? and other law « Charon QC

  4. Personal injury is very cut throat, the problem is as each claim is individual they can become similar as claim companies not solicitors try to sell them on for a fee.

    I wonder if a person having had an accident went to a solicitor direct rather than another source would they get more attention or less?


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