New sector entrant claims existing clients are neglected

Professional indemnity insurers are fighting to undercut each other for new business while neglecting the needs of existing clients.

The claim comes after Insurance Times reported the first signs of a price war among PI insurers.

Earlier this month one firm of solicitors was offered a six figure saving by moving between two of the major insurers.

The market is dominated by QBE, St Paul and Zurich.

Stuart Wright, chief executive of newly-formed PI specialist WR Berkley Insurance (Europe), said that price competition among insurers was benefiting new, rather than existing, clients.

"There's always going to be some competition," he said.

"But it does seem a bit strange to me that some people out there are fighting very hard to get new business and don't seem to be so worried about clients they already have on their books."

WR Berkley is on the hunt for PI brokers to build up a network of wholesale and retail outlets, following the appointment last week of regional underwriting manager Colin Eaton, formerly of ACE and London-based Professional Indemnity Insurance Brokers.

Wright's company will be writing regional PI business, initially through a selection of about 20 hand-picked brokers.

Wright said they would be chosen on criteria of "professionalism, previous personal support and opportunity".

"The important thing is to give a first class service," he said.

The insurer, backed by US giant WR Berkley Corporation and 20% owned by Lloyd's group Kiln, is looking for a balanced spread of

PI risks from across the UK in professions including solicitors, accountants, architects and IFAs.