This guide is to highlight the areas that should be taken into account and considered when you first become aware of a claim or a circumstance which may give rise to a claim under a professional indemnity insurance policy.
Your responsibility in the event of a claim, or you becoming aware of a circumstance
There are legal protocols applying to professional negligence claims which impose time constraints and procedural rules as to how claims should be dealt with. Insurers will have either in-house specialist claims handlers, or will outsource the claims handling to legal firms who provide a claims service. The claims specialist will either work with you directly or may prefer to work through us as you broker in the first instance. When you become aware of a claim or you recognise a situation which could develop into a claim - what we call a 'circumstance' - it is important that you do not:
An insurer will not confirm indemnity immediately after it receives a notification; it will want to investigate the matter to establish that the policy has not been compromised by the policyholder, so it is essential that there has been no admission of liability or breach of the policy conditions. You must co-operate with insurers and take their lead before sending correspondence or attending meetings with the complainant or their representative. Following notification, it is important you forward to insurers any correspondence you receive - unanswered, and with your proposed response for insurers approval.
What is meant by a circumstance?
There is no single or simple definition but the following may help. A notifiable circumstance could include:
Who to notify
Your Professional Indemnity Insurance policy documents will contain a section on how to notify a claim or a circumstance. All notifications should be forwarded in writing and also copied to us here at Hammond PI. You should not wait more than three days for a confirmation of the notification and if you have not received one, call us. At Hammond Professional Indemnity Consultants we are here to help and will advise on all aspects of your notification and will remain actively involved up until the claim is closed or until it makes sense for you to deal directly with your claims representative or appointed solicitor.
When to notify Insurers
Professional Indemnity is underwritten on what is known as a 'claims made' basis. This means that policies will only provide cover against those claims or circumstances that are discovered and notified to the insurers during the period of the insurance. If you fail to notify a circumstance to your insurers at the earliest opportunity, they may refuse indemnity for it when notified at a later date. If you have changed insurers since you should have notified a circumstance and then notify it to your new insurers, they are likely to refer you back to your old insurers who are very unlikely to accept it either.
It is usually condition precedent to insurance coverage being granted that claims and circumstances are notified to insurers in accordance with the policy terms and conditions. You should therefore familiarise yourself with your obligations under your policy before a circumstance arises irrespective of:
What information do Insurers want
It is important you include as many details as possible in your initial notification advice. Insurers may have further questions but it will save time if the information you provide is as complete as possible. A notification should include:
Complete details of the nature of the claim or circumstance, including names of the complainant or potential claimant.
In due course insurers will also require:
How to contact HammondPhone: 0121 7883444
Post: Hammond Professional Indemnity Consultants Ltd
Pinewood Business Park, Coleshill Road, Birmingham B37 7HG.
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If you have had a claim initiated against you, please download this form, and email it to us at
as soon as possible.
Ensure you do not make any response to the Claimant until we have provided you with authorisation to do so.
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