We sat down with Financial Lines Broker, Fin Vollans, to learn more about his role in Professional Indemnity (PI) and the current market trends.
Meet Fin Vollans
Fin has been at Miles Smith as a Financial Lines Broker for over two years. He specialises in the more traditional PI trades including design and construct (D&C), engineers, accountants, and surveyors. Before Miles Smith, Fin worked at a different London wholesale broker for three years, where he began as an Account Handler and worked his way up to being a Broker, also specialising in PI.
Fin was set on insurance as a career choice, and when an opportunity in PI came up, he began working his way up to becoming a Broker.
Fin reflects on how the PI market has changed this year and the factors that play a crucial role in this
The PI market has seen substantial changes this year primarily due to increased capacity in the market. This increased capacity is a result of new insurers entering the market and higher income targets being given to existing insurers. We are therefore seeing more competitive rates, wider coverage and a wider appetite from underwriters.
We are finding that insurers want to remain on existing programmes more than ever and as a result, Fin has observed a decrease in renewal rates compared to last year particularly in respect to D&C related trades.
He goes on to say that despite these lower rates we are still seeing a similar frequency of claims which could be worrying for underwriters and may lead to a hard market coming back faster than expected.
The construction sector in particular has experienced great difficulty largely due to Brexit, the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, increasing fuel prices, labour shortages and inflation, amongst other factors. In turn, the cost of materials, manufacturing, labour and transportation has increased significantly. Margins in the construction industry have since tightened a lot which is leading to many construction firms being forced into administration. Those that remain are understandably looking to reduce insurance costs as much as possible thus leading to re-marketing their business annually.
How Fin and the PI team are responding to these changes at Miles Smith
At Miles Smith, we have an excellent understanding of where the market is at and knowing which insurers are most suited to cover particular risks. Our team understands the importance of staying up to date and following market trends. With our full market access, we approach the right insurers to ensure we are obtaining the most competitive premiums in the market.
Key considerations for brokers and their clients when sourcing PI cover
Traditional policy wordings have a specific section for exclusions. However, sometimes exclusions are built into the main policy wording which may catch people out. Many insurers have a fire safety exclusion for example, written into the policy, but is not specified in the exclusion section. Fin would therefore emphasise the importance of checking through the full policy wording to identify all exclusions clearly.
For any business operating in the fire industry for example, wordings ideally should not exclude consequential losses, bodily injury and property damage or at worst be sub-limited. At Miles Smith, we have markets that will provide the correct basis of cover for many of these business types who struggle to obtain the level of required coverage within the standard market place.
Fin shares what he most enjoys about working at Miles Smith
Fin appreciates speaking to different people about different risks as it highlights the breadth and complexity that insurance has to offer. Having full access to the Lloyd’s and London markets gives Fin the opportunity to explore the scope of insurance on a grand scale. He enjoys working in wholesale broking as it allows him to build relationships with both the insurers and the brokers.
Read our case study here to find out how we helped secure a complex PI placement for a distressed architect risk.