Locums and Professional Indemnity Insurance
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Locums and Professional Indemnity Insurance

An in house legal assignment recently threw up a query we have been asked very rarely over the years. Could we supply a locum with their own PII cover, because their insurance broker had informed them that locums were not covered by their policy. It took some time, but eventually the department managed to persuade their broker that the locum could be covered, but as we have not been asked the question for some time we thought a survey may be interesting.

Survey on PII for Locums

The survey found the following:

  • 94% of locums do not have their own Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • 88% did not know any locum or consultant solicitors who held their own PII.
  • 14% had been asked by a client if they held their own PII cover.
  • 4% had been prevented from taking a role because they did not have PII.
  • 18% had looked into getting PII cover.

The respondents who had looked into getting PII cover had used titles such as Legal Consultant, Locum Lawyer and Consultant Lawyer, as well as Solicitor and Barrister. It has been reported to us before that persuading a broker to look for PII cover for a locum is very difficult because they think the locum is operating as a solicitors’ firm and hence send out the usual 100 page proposal.

Prices for PII

Locums who held PII paid £300 & £400 a year for it and used Axa and Hiscox. Finding a broker who was prepared to source cover was also difficult – one respondent reported it being near impossible.

Further Thoughts

We also had the following comments on PII from locums:

“I do not require a PII to work as a locum and never been asked to provide one by any law firm I’ve worked for. In any event assuming I have one, it would not cover the work I do for a law firm who engages me to provide legal service to its clients. It will only cover my own clients I solicit directly and I’ve not registered for a law firm. “

“It may be a good idea for the clients to employ a locum on temporary basis sine this should be covered under their PII cover. Otherwise they are effectively asking people to be Freelance Solicitors. This certainly would not be of any interest to me, as it is just like operating as a Sole Practitioner.”

“This is really interesting. I have not heard of locums having to provide their own insurance, and this will hit some of them hard with the IR35 still “out there”!”

“Never been asked this question and alarmingly I have never thought to ask an employing firm the corresponding question.”

We have come across companies like Simply Business being prepared to source PII for cover where consultants (including legal) are working in a range of industries but not dealing with regulated work. The cost of this insurance is minimal as above (£300-400 a year).

This survey was sent out to over 800 locums registered on our system and 51 responded.

*If any brokers want to get in touch to offer locum solicitors PII cover, please email jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk or call us for a chat.

Jonathan Fagan is a legal recruitment consultant for Interim Lawyers and Managing Director of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited. "I have been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 16 years. I am a non-practising solicitor, on the Roll since June 2000, and also a director of the Ten-Percent Group of Legal Recruitment websites. I also regularly comment on legal recruitment via my blog http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.co.uk. Interim Lawyers is the specialist locum arm of the Ten-Percent group and we have over 700 locums on the books. We can usually keep our locums busy throughout the year, although it does very much depend on the market. Get in touch with me to register assignments or look for locum work."