FCA visits PI insurers as FSCS funding review continues

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The FCA is carrying out a review of the professional indemnity insurance market as it attempts to find ways of making policies work better for advisers.

The regulator has visited at least three major insurers and one law firm to discuss PI funding as part of its review into reforming the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The FCA has also sent round a questionnaire to insurers to gather more data on the market, Mortgage Strategy‘s sister title Money Marketing understands.

PI cover has been attacked by the heads of both the FCA and FSCS in recent years for failing to adequately cover individual advice firm liabilities.

These end up being funded out of the pooled compensation pot and paid for by the wider advice community.

Discussions with the market have centered around potentially increasing the minimum amount of PI firms have to hold from €1.1m (£975,000) for a single claim and higher than the €1.7m (£1.5m) for aggregate claims.

In its FSCS funding consultation paper, the regulator suggested it could lower the limit that PI insurers can charge for excesses and  mandate certain run-off cover for when a firm has ceased trading.

It could also bring in wording that would mean PI insurers could not exclude insolvency and the FSCS from being a claimant in policies.

However, the regulator has expressed concerns that placing restrictions on providers could lead to some exiting the market.

A source with knowledge of the review says: “If you take the PI market as a whole, IFAs, along with solicitors, seem to pay the highest.

“A few weeks ago we spoke in terms of what [mandatory terms] on policies would look like. They were worried that there’s few insurers and whether they would agree to it.”

The FCA’s review of PI is being coordinated with the wider FSCS funding review. The conclusions and any next steps will be made public later this year.