By Legal Futures Associate Miller Insurance 
Insurers use your proposal form submission to determine if your law firm is a good risk. In the current hard market where capacity is reduced, it’s more important than ever to present your firm in the best possible light.
As well as demonstrating that you’re a risk worth taking, a complete and well-presented submission helps the renewal process run smoothly and could even save on your premium.
Miller’s Solicitors team help over 1,000 law firms secure Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover each year, so know a thing or two about proposal forms. To help with your submission, Scott Thorne has put together our proposal form submission top tips:
1. The basics
If you manually complete a proposal form, make sure your writing is clear, legible, and spelt correctly. You would be surprised at how many basic spelling mistakes we see. If you tick the wrong box then print the page again and re-answer, avoid scribbling out.
A complete picture of your firm allows insurers to make an accurate judgment. Leaving questions unanswered or holding information back will slow the process and create a negative impression. If the question is not applicable, simply state that it is not applicable to your firm.
Your proposal form submission is a reflection on you and your law firm. A neat and tidy, fully completed proposal is a basic requirement which is easily achievable.
2. Don’t leave it until the last minute!
Your proposal form requires a lot of information which you may have to gather from various sources. Start working on it with plenty of time before your renewal to minimise any potential delays and to get ahead of the curve.
If your firm has grown or merged, or if you have started practising in new areas then it is likely that you will need to make a number of updates to your proposal form. Details on the changes made to your firm, e.g., explanation of new areas of work being undertaken and the risk management steps put in place for this type of work, will be required. Starting early provides enough time to create a strong submission.
3. Provide sufficient detail
One-word answers may do more harm than good, so make sure you provide enough detail, especially when it comes to claims and risk management. If there is not enough space on the proposal form itself, create a covering email/letter to clarify matters. If you need some guidance on this, please do get in touch, we will be happy to help.
4. Be accurate
Misrepresenting your firm could result in you failing to find cover or being pursued for non-disclosure, so please make sure you provide accurate and detailed information. Claims do occur, so it’s best to show how you have learnt from them rather than avoiding bringing any attention to them. Insurers prefer to see firms reporting precautionary notifications as circumstances that may give rise to claim, as it shows the firm is doing regular file audits and peer reviews on files to wheedle out any potential issues. If you’re unsure or worried, please just ask us for help.
5. Double check!
Before submitting, double check the key information. It may seem obvious but one minor typo could delay things or result in insurers declining to quote. Insurers see hundreds of proposal form submissions every renewal, so a strong proposal form will help you stand out from the crowd.
6. Include supporting documents
The proposal form is a generic document that all firms use, so we advise you to go the extra mile to stand out against your peers. Include a covering letter detailing your risk management procedures and include up-to-date claims summaries for the last six years with your proposal form. Your current broker will be able to provide your claims summary. If there are any claims, please provide details of each claim, what lessons were learned and what risk management steps you have been undertaking to ensure such a situation does not occur again.
7. Focus on risk management
Elaborate your firm’s risk management policies and procedures to help provide insurers with confidence that you are proactively mitigating your risks. This could lead to more competitive premiums.
8. Covid 19 – how have you managed?
Have you received government support e.g., the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? If so, why? These are some of the questions you will be required to answer as insurers are keen to understand the robustness of your business during the challenges of Covid. Don’t forget to utilise your covering email/letter!
9. Rely on a specialist solicitors PII broker
Don’t go it alone. We’re here to make sure you get the best terms possible, so do rely on the expertise of a trusted and specialist solicitors PII broker.