Master Policy Renewal: what you need to know
As the Master Policy renewal process begins, Lockton highlights some actions to take now to help things run smoothly, and some changes to look out for
Your practice’s Master Policy renewal is always a significant date in the legal calendar. The Master Policy has underpinned the profession in Scotland for nearly 40 years, and it remains a regulatory precondition for firms to continue to practise.
Lockton have been negotiating with insurers, since our appointment at the start of the year, to bring some enhancements to the renewal process.
If you are involved in your firm’s Master Policy renewal, ensure you are prepared and in the best shape to achieve a smooth renewal process.
What you should be doing NOW
1 Review the status of any outstanding claims
Your firm will recently have been sent the claims “snapshot” for your firm as at 31 May. This snapshot determines a significant element of the discount or loading of your Master Policy premium.
You have a short window to review this, and make sure that the snapshot reflects your own understanding of the correct claims status as at that date. If you believe that a claim should be shown as “closed” as of 31 May, or a reserve is significantly higher than your own understanding of the situation, you should make representations to RSA at the earliest opportunity.
2 Collate your firm’s financial data
This is the part of the proposal form that causes firms most difficulties, year in and year out. We will require details of your total fee income for the most recently completed financial year, and an estimate of total fee income for the current financial year.
We also seek a breakdown of your fees by area of practice.
Obtaining this information early will assist a smooth and quick completion of your proposal form.
Please be aware that we will be asking for your fee income in a slightly different format from previous years. We will ask you for the total fee income generated from UK offices for UK clients, fee income generated from UK offices for clients domiciled in the USA and Canada, and separately again for clients who are domiciled elsewhere in the world.
3 Update your practice details
If the main Master Policy contacts at your firm have changed (renewal/insurance contact, claims contact, or risk management contact), please update these at the earliest opportunity to ensure that no relevant renewal communications go astray.
Likewise, any changes to your address details, partner changes since last renewal, or other future changes to your practice that are planned, should be updated as soon as possible.
Updating your information promptly will help ensure that you are compliant with the terms of the Insurance Act 2015, and also mean that your proposal form will be substantially up to date when you log in to complete it for the first time.
You should already have received a communication from Lockton requesting an early update of this information.
Important changes to note
- The Master Policy renewal will be online, using Lockton’s prepopulated online proposal form.
- You will require to log in, using the username and password provided. If you do not already have these details, they will be provided when the Master Policy renewal process commences.
- Your online proposal form will be shorter. Insofar as possible you will only be asked questions that apply to your practice.
- You will not need to complete additional proposal forms for any top-up, fidelity insurance, cyber insurance, or premium credit finance instalment option.
- When calculating numbers of partners or staff, simply provide us with the total numbers in each category. You no longer need to count part-time staff as half a person.
While Lockton’s online proposal form has been tried and tested, we appreciate that there is always a degree of uncertainty surrounding any new process. We are therefore ensuring that you are supported with guidance on how to log in and use your online renewal process, available on our website. We are also available by telephone to assist with any queries you may have – on the Master Policy switchboard number: 0131 345 5599.
Calum MacLean is director of risk management for Lockton’s professions clients. He is a solicitor who has specialised in risk and compliance for the legal profession for the last 10 years, following a career in private practice.