PII ensures that your firm can compensate clients for loss or damage which results from negligent service or advice. It is compulsory for law firms regulated by the SRA to have PII.
To achieve the best result you can with your PII premium, it is important you ensure the best possible presentation of your firm. Preparation is vital. You should always ensure you allow plenty of time to compile all of the information you need and present your firm in a way that demonstrates it is a professional and well-managed business.
In addition to reviewing your proposal documentation, underwriters will often take a look at your website. So, let’s talk about your website and some of the issues you should consider to ensure that it gives PII underwriters a favourable impression of your firm.
1. Is your website up-to-date?
One of the key things PII underwriters are looking at is how professional and well-managed your firm is. Presentation is more important than you might think. Since COVID-19, websites have become your shopfront to clients and your PII insurers too and it is important that it is the best it can be. Does your website need a refresh?
If your last blog post was written months ago, or your meet the team page hasn’t been updated after employees have left, then this may make an underwriter think your firm isn't as on top of things as it should be.
Does your website demonstrate that the firm is striving to stay relevant in the market? This could be through social media marketing, thought-leadership blog posts and other campaigns. This helps underwriters see an investment of time and energy to the advancement of your business, but do ensure that content is current, relevant, knowledgeable and organised.
2. Use your website to show the services you offer
We recommend including all of the services you offer on your website, but if there are specific services that your firm no longer provides, it would be worth removing these. This will ensure the work areas on your website are consistent with the information you are giving on your PII proposal form. It will avoid any awkward questions coming from your underwriter, who might look at your website and be concerned that you are undertaking work that is not being disclosed on your proposal form - particularly if that work is in their high-risk category.
3. Include relevant accreditations on your website
Accreditations are all part of showing that your firm is well-managed, although many are now considered to be the ‘norm’, rather than something special that helps you stand out from other law firms. That said, if your firm has accreditations make sure they are noted on your website. Although any link between accreditations and lower premiums is more illusory than real, PII insurers like to know that you have them.
You might also want to consider adding accomplishments and qualifications of individuals in the firm. This is helpful to demonstrate the skill and competency of your team. You can add this information to your "meet the team" page.
4. Don’t make the firm look bigger than it is
It is important that your website does not embellish or over-exaggerate the work your firm does and the number of fee earners or staff. Underwriters could consider this misleading. Once again, it is important that the information on the website matches the information on your proposal form.
Don't forget Clause 8.8 of the Code of Practice for Solicitors which requires you to ensure that any publicity (which is defined as including websites) in relation to your practice "is accurate and not misleading".
5. Ensure that your website complies with the SRA's requirements
Have you read the Law Society Practice Note discussing the Information that should be included on your website? It is available here:
If the SRA were to investigate issues arising as a result of your website not being compliant, then that is an issue you would need to disclose to your PII Insurer. We, therefore, recommend that firms review this from time to time to ensure that their website complies with the requirements. This will ensure that you don't attract any adverse attention from either the SRA or your PII Insurer.
Ready to buy professional indemnity insurance?
To help you manage your PII, we have partnered with Howden Insurance Brokers. Howden’s Professional Indemnity division is one of the most experienced teams in the market, consisting of over 150 PII specialists, with more than 30 dedicated to servicing the legal sector. Its size and presence allow it to obtain quotations directly from insurers and they offer one of the widest selections of ‘A-rated' providers available. This, matched with the strength of its relationships in the market, sets it apart as one of the leading brokers when placing insurance on behalf of over 1500 law firm clients, which range from sole practitioners to several of the UK’s Top 100 legal firms.
Find out more about our partners.