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How agents can protect themselves against PI claims

Estate agents have been urged to mitigate increases to professional indemnity insurance claims by having a vigilant risk management strategy.

In economic downturns there are more professional indemnity claims, coinciding with rises in premiums and new legislation – and it should be no different with COVID-19.

Paul Offley, the in-house compliance officer for epropservices, the parent company of The Guild and estate agent Fine & Country, said: “Now, more than ever it is important that agents keep focused on their legislative requirements and even in the ‘stay at home’ environment we are currently in, are able to demonstrate due diligence across all aspects of legislation.

“While we are in difficult and unusual times, and authorities are being asked to take a pragmatic approach to enforcement – legislation is legislation.

“There will also be some people who use this to their advantage thinking that an agents’ ‘guard may be down’ and there will be people who, once life returns to normal, suddenly decide they wish to bring a claim for one reason or another.”

The Guild and Fine & Country are taking steps to keep its members and licensees well informed and protected.

The firm is launching a virtual compliance assessment programme which is run over 12 months and designed to educate and test on all existing and new legislation.

Some 56% of its members signed up.

The organisation is also using this time to offer virtual branch training courses with Microsoft Teams, which can be accessed from anywhere.

Offley added: “While furloughed staff are not able to work, they can still partake in training sessions to ensure that, once this crisis is behind us and they are reinstated, they will be fully up to speed with any policy or legislative that seems to change daily.”