The Professional Indemnity Market | Wilson Organisation


June 29, 2020

The Professional Indemnity Market

The Professional Indemnity Market

The professional indemnity (PI) insurance market, particularly in relation to high risk trades such as construction and related sectors has constricted, with many businesses in the sector facing increased premiums and reduced cover for their forthcoming period of insurance. Some firms are even struggling to obtain insurance terms and in extreme cases, not being able to obtain cover at all.

The UK PI market has been in “soft” market conditions for over a decade, but it is currently the case that the cheaper rates have been withdrawn, and excess layer premiums have risen. Indeed, some insurers have withdrawn from the market altogether.

This hardening of the market has been fuelled by a number of factors, including claims as a result of the Grenfell tragedy, and poor underwriting results in 2017. Lloyds has instructed syndicates to limit the amount of new PI that they write, due to the poor performance of this class of insurance compared to other areas.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that there is room for manoeuvre, and our clients are not powerless to mitigate these wider insurance market conditions. We employ a coherent and prudent renewal strategy with our clients which greatly alleviates the effects of risk averse underwriting.

These are some of the key steps we undertake with our clients.

1. Approach the market early

We do not leave renewal until the last minute. If initial approaches to the market have produced no results or lacklustre results, together with our client we will not have any time for further steps.

2. Presenting the right information is key – differentiating our clients

The renewal presentation needs time and consideration in a hard market. It is also the case that many insurers are now asking for additional information which takes time to identify, and the markets will not quote best terms in its absence.

When there are acute claims concerns, an insurer does not want the whole sector. They want the firms in the upper quartiles, and those that offer fewer concerns.

Whilst proposal forms ask key underwriting questions, they do not capture the essential character of a firm. We therefore supplement the core form with information regarding the market strategy and operating philosophies of our client. This includes the key client base and key areas of work, how the firm reached their position within the marketplace and where they are heading to next. It is also imperative to share how they manage their risk in respect of capping liability and the strength of the T & Cs they have in place with their client base. We encourage our clients to meet with underwriters to help us to share their vision and journey.

3. Use the open market

As always, different insurers have different appetites, and are at different places in relation to their financial and performance milestones. Whilst some insurers have left the PI market, other insurers see this as an opportunity to increase their market share.

However, they will be underwriting judiciously, and are interested in the firms who can show that they are not operating within the key areas affected, or can demonstrate better risk management controls, such that they have better mitigated the risks concerned.

4. Approach the market, don’t over-saturate the market

We avoid a scattergun approach as this creates confusion and dilutes the message we are trying to convey. It is not just about approaching a particular insurer, but also about approaching the right underwriters within a particular insurer to obtain terms. Market knowledge and relationships are key in relation to specialist insurance such PI.


We are a specialist broker and we understand this market. However, a non-specialist broker may not be approaching the right markets and worse, they may be approaching the limited markets available in an unsophisticated way, with the result that these markets decline to quote. Closing key markets can be fatal in a limited market.

For most firms, PI insurance is the third largest cost, after wage roll and office costs. Expensive insurance, like any cost, reduces the capital available for reinvestment in the firm, whether that is additional staff, more up to date technology, or marketing.

Over time, firms with unnecessary expenses lose ground to their savvier competitors and lose market opportunities as a result.

We approach our client renewals in line with the above steps to give you a good opportunity to reduce the PI cost and pull ahead of your competition.

A little about us

The Wilson Organisation is a UK top 100 Insurance Broker and Financial Adviser. We are a long-established family owned and run business with a strong commitment to both our people and our clients. We work with business-owners, company directors and the management teams to provide financial, insurance and risk management advice that consistently adds value.

How we work with you

Whether you are a construction company concerned with protecting your people and plant or an architect or surveyor getting to grips with PI issues, Wilsons’ advisers will provide practical, commercial and independent advice to help you improve your systems and manage your costs through effective business insurance programme management.

Partnerships, relationships, however you describe them, are very important to us and we’re proud that we’ve worked with some of our clients since the early 1960s. Our business insurance clients tell us they stick with Wilsons because they are confident that we are on their side and will fight their corner. They also like the assurance they get from having one point of contact for all their business insurance and risk-related matters. From our perspective, working with clients on a long-term basis means we can continually add that little bit of extra value as we get to know their businesses inside and out. Our approach is hands-on, supportive and practical. We combine detailed, desk-based research with site visits and surveys to provide a thorough and informative service.


Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director    

0115 9420 111  

Over 100 years of innovation

  • 1914

    A successful launch! The Wilson Organisation was founded in Nottingham by Harold Wilson and became the first company in the East Midlands to offer a comprehensive insurance policy to the region’s fast-growing band of automobile drivers. Innovation from day one.

  • 1920s

    During the 1920’s, Wilsons developed its commercial insurance offering under the stewardship of Harold Wilson. Hopping forwards 80 years, Wilsons has developed a number of industry specialisms including a particular expertise in the food and drink sector. We created a unique insurance offering called “FoodProtect” and, through this service, have been able to deliver intelligence and cost-effective insurance programmes to a broad spread of leading food producers. The best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not, but we’re working on it.

  • 1949

    John Prow joined Harold Wilson in the business, marking the first generation of the Prow family’s involvement in The Wilson Organisation. Wilsons’ clients included leading Nottingham firm Boots The Chemist plus a number of operators in the burgeoning railway sector. With post-war regeneration beginning apace, the firm’s fledgling construction expertise quickly developed into one of our leading offerings and this continues through to the present day, with clients including national and regional builders, developers, contractors, sub-contractors and architects.

  • 1960s

    The 1960s were the start of a new era for The Wilson Organisation. Harold Wilson and John Prow died on the same day in 1963, Harold of illness and John in a car crash. This left John’s son, John J Prow, to run the growing business at the age of 27. Under his youthful direction, Wilsons benefited from a new energy and direction. John J Prow, who had joined in 1960 in a new business role, led the move into our current premises at Wilson House in 1964 and then launched the financial services division in the following year.

  • 1990s

    The late 1990s heralded the start of the third generation of the Prow family’s involvement in the business. Managing Director Charlotte Prow joined in 1998, to be followed by the firm’s Chief Executive, Annabel Prow, in 2002. Product and service innovation continued apace with the launch of a corporate finance specialism in 1997, which continues to deliver valuable cost-savings and insights to the region’s dealmakers.

  • 2000s

    Now century on from the launch of The Wilson Organisation in 1914, the company continues to encourage innovation and reward good ideas. Within the financial services team, 2008 marked the launch of “Flex”, a powerful employee benefit programme and the development of “WRAP”, an investment tool with a unique level of investor control and transparency. Meanwhile, our insurance advisers worked quickly to bring to market a specialist insurance policy for insolvency practitioners.

  • 2010s

    2010 saw the launch of the Midlands Family Business Awards by Wilsons, the UK’s only independent not-for-profit Awards for family businesses. Now in their fifth year, the Awards have raised almost £20,000 for charities supporting families and young people. In 2014 we are celebrating Wilsons’ centenary, a significant milestone in Wilsons’ history.

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Wilson House, 1/3 Waverley Street, Nottingham, NG7 4HG

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Harold Wilson (Insurances) Ltd. and Harold Wilson Financial Services Ltd. are authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)