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Professional Indemnity Insurance Survey Results

Significant cost increases and the introduction of new restrictions on professional indemnity insurance are preventing companies taking on projects and could delay essential building safety work. These were the findings of a pan-industry survey of over 1,000 firms carried out by the Construction Leadership Council. CEF and its members took part in this, the largest ever survey on PII in construction.

The results pointed to widespread incidence of companies having to change the type of work they do because of restrictions on cover, with a quarter losing jobs because of tough conditions and limitations being placed on them by insurance firms. Even though two thirds of respondents said that less than 5% of what they do is high rise residential, almost one in three were unable to buy the cover they wanted or needed. The survey was carried out from mid-February to mid-March and received 1,066 responses from a mixture of consultants, contractors and specialists. They also ranged in size with half of the respondents from companies with turnover below £2 million and 10% over £50 million. The results of the Construction Leadership Council’s Professional Indemnity survey underscore the effects on both contractors and consultants of the rapid deterioration in the Professional Indemnity market since late 2018.

 

CEF Managing Director, Mark Spence, welcomed the results: "the findings of this significant survey confirm the situation many contractors are experiencing in NI where the prohibitive cost, and in some cases inability to secure cover at all, is restricting the ability of the local market to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and the general ecnomic downturn. 

"We would urge government clients, in particular, to specify their insurance requirements very carefully so as not to exclude local contractors from much-needed work."

 

The CEF's Insurance Patron, Willis Towers Watson's Trevor McClintock made the following observations regarding the survey findings:

"Apart from the pain of significant premium increases, the following findings noted in the survey highlight the wider dilemma with commercial consequences for securing new projects.

Almost 29% of respondents have been unable to buy the level of cover they want to buy or the level of cover required to meet the contractual terms of a client or potential client”.

Over 68% of respondents have restrictions on the level of cover or the scope of cover relating to cladding claims or fire safety-related claims”

Ultimately, underwriting Professional Indemnity in recent years has not proved profitable for Insurers. Premium rates in the protracted soft-market conditions which preceded have been driven unsustainably low as a result of abundant insurer capacity, persistent competition and weak underwriting discipline.

Whilst the Professional Indemnity market conditions are extremely challenging, it is possible to mitigate their impact. Being well prepared and well represented is paramount.

Engagement with your broker early in the renewal process is vital. Your broker needs to be your trusted advisor, providing you with the facts and enabling you to manage expectations within your business, understanding what battles can be won, and willing to roll up their sleeves to help you!

In the current climate, you need to ensure that your broker has the operational and technological resource to continue to work effectively, and to be able to represent your firm in the manner that market conditions now demand.

Insurer meetings remain vital in the current climate (enhancing relationships and allowing underwriters to see beyond the paperwork and get a feel for the culture of a business). When face-to-face meetings aren’t possible, you need to engage a broker with the ability to chair virtual presentations to the necessary insurers and to the necessary standard.

Willis Towers Watson are proud to be patrons of the CEF, with an in depth understanding of the Professional Indemnity market and are on hand to help members secure the cover they need.

 

If you would like more information or advice without obligation, please contact:

Trevor McClintock BSc (Hons) ACII, Head of Sales & Client Management, Belfast

Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson Insurances (Ireland) Limited, Floor 3, Centrepoint, 24 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HS

Direct: 02890 895094, trevor.mcclintock@WillisTowersWatson.com, willistowerswatson.com