Changes to the insurance environment mean law firms need to take a close look at their own arrangements this year, the
Worryingly, only 47 percent of firms are aware of the closure in 2020 of the
Reflecting on the survey results,
"We have been warning about the potentially serious implications of the loss of SIF for many years. Firms that are going to close without a successor practice need to think about the kinds of liabilities they might still have outstanding when their mandatory six-year run-off cover ends. They may need to factor in the additional costs of extending run-off cover to avoid being sued in a personal capacity."
Noting growing evidence that the cost of insurance premiums may soon increase,
Nearly a third of firms reported being targeted by scammers in the last year.
"Only 6 percent of scams resulted in a data breach, and just 3 percent led to financial loss, but we must not become complacent because the effects of just one successful attack can be devastating for clients, law firms and staff," she warned.
"Some insurers now ask about the measures firms have taken to protect against scams, including their security and IT systems.
The 2017-18 survey found:
* The average premium was 0.3 percent lower this year, down from a 1.3 percent drop in 2016-17.
* 76 percent of firms remained with the same insurer they used in the previous renewal round.
* 79 percent of firms asked for just one quote, while 18 percent requested two or three.
* The strongest drivers for choice of insurer were recommendations from brokers, lower premium costs, and having been happy with the insurer in the past.
* 66 percent of practices chose traditional 12-month policies, but an increasing proportion are opting for longer periods. More than a quarter of firms have now chosen 18-month policies, and the number of firms opting for 24-month policies increased from zero in 2016-17, to 5 percent in 2017-18. Purchasing a longer-term policy is a sensible way to lock in a low price in the face of a hardening market.
* The median cost of mandatory six year run-off cover has fallen to 250 percent of annual premium, from a historic high of 300 percent in 2016-17.
* 32 percent of firms reported being targeted by scammers in the last year, with spam emails and phishing attempts by far the most common approaches. This is an increase of almost a quarter on the proportion of firms reporting having been targeted by scammers since 2016-17. However, it is likely that many more firms were targeted without their knowing, as the
* 94 percent of scams were without consequence, with only 6 percent resulting in a data breach, 3 percent in financial losses, and just 1 percent of losses being characterised as "serious".
* PII claims were made against 10 percent of firms, down from 13 percent last year.