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Legal bodies step in to fight landmark professional indemnity case

25 January 2012

The Law Society and the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) have been given permission to intervene in Godiva Mortgage Limited v Travelers Insurance Company Limited. The issue is the extent to which insurers’ liability to cover multiple claims against a solicitors’ practice may be limited by aggregating them as one claim.

The current position which appears to allow large numbers of claims to be aggregated was arrived at after a decision by the SRA to shift the goal posts in favour of the insurers by altering the aggregation clause in the Minimum Terms and Conditions in 2005. It is now obviously felt that the Insured solicitors, their clients (and in cases of dishonesty, the Solicitors’ Compensation Fund) are insufficiently protected.

Further clarity on the wording is needed to allow underwriters to assess accurately the risks and fix premiums. This may result in solicitors (and other professionals) insisting on certain wordings in their primary policies, driven in all likelihood by their clients, especially mortgage lenders.

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