Professional Indemnity Insurance Regulations
ACCA introduced new Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Regulations on 1 September 2023. The new PII regulations are the first in a series of planned modernisation and improvements to the Global Practising Regulations and the ACCA Rulebook.
PII is compulsory for all ACCA members who hold a practising certificate and engage in public practice and regulated activities in the UK and Ireland. PII policies provide cover for practitioners against claims for professional negligence.
Given the significant changes in the PII insurance market in recent times and the importance of PII in the public interest, ACCA has undertaken a review of the PII market and its current PII regulations and developed new PII requirements in consultation with practitioners and insurance brokers in both the UK and Ireland, explains Stefan Pegram, ACCA’s Director – Practice Regulation.
‘Our PII regulations must adapt to reflect changes in the insurance market, and we believe the new regulations are pragmatic and proportionate,’ Pegram says. ‘In developing the new PII requirements, we have strived to balance the interests of practitioners and their clients and also the views expressed by the market and other stakeholders. The proposed changes have been reviewed and approved by our public interest oversight boards and lead regulators, after consideration of the market insight and feedback,’ he adds. ‘The new requirements are simpler, more practical and align more closely with other professional accountancy bodies.’
‘Ultimately, PII provides important protection for ACCA practitioners and their clients,’ Pegram says. ‘It is in the public interest, and the interests of our practitioners and firms, that this safeguard exists and does so without disproportionate regulatory burdens. If PII cover is inadequate or non-existent, claims brought against the firm are uninsured and the lack of protection exposes practitioners to significant business risk and the loss of their own personal assets.’
The key changes to regulation 2 (Interpretation) and regulation 9 (Professional indemnity insurance) of the Global Practising Regulations are as follows:
- New Total income bands and PII limits:
Total Income ˂£600,000
PII Limit Greater of:(i) two and a half times the firm’s relevant total income; and
Total Income ≥ £600,000
PII Limit At least £1.5 million
- Although expressed in pound sterling (GBP), the limits should be applied in local currency equivalents, such as the euro
- Twenty-five times the largest fee multiplier has been removed from calculation of PII limits
- Sub-contractors must be included in PII and FGI policies
- Liabilities covered extended to include sub-contractors
- Work sub-contracted included in total income
- Uninsured excess restricted to £20,000 per principal
- Minimum PII and FGI increased from £50,000 to £100,000
- High risk exposures (such as such as cyber related events, tax planning or financial services) covered on an aggregate basis
- New regulations on Retroactive cover and Regulated work
- New definition of sub-contractor.
It should be noted that the PII limits are minimum requirements and practitioners must consider the risk profile of their work and their clients and determine whether or not they should carry PII cover in excess of the minimum required. For example, some regulated work will require higher levels of PII cover arising from legislative requirements, or the requirements set by national bodies or regulators in a particular sector.
There are no changes to the requirements for continuity following cessation. Run-off cover provides important protection for consumers and members and the requirement for PII cover for a period of six years after ceasing to engage in public practice balances the interests of practitioners and consumers. It also aligns with the normal limitation period in statute of six years from the date on which the negligent act occurred. ACCA’s Regulatory Board took into consideration concerns about the availability of run-off cover in the current insurance market, but it decided that run-off cover should remain mandatory for a period of six years, due to the high level of claims arising more than two years following cessation and the need to provide member protection.
The new PII requirements are effective from 1 September 2023. However, members and firms have been given a period of time to adjust to the changes and obtain PII cover which is compliant with the new regulations.
Under transitional arrangements, PII policy renewals on or after 1 January 2024 must comply with new requirements. All existing PII policies must comply with the new requirements by 1 January 2025. Early adoption is permitted.
The Global Practising Regulations (effective 1 September 2023) are available in the related downloads section of this page.
Further details are provided in the Commentary on new PII Requirements (effective 1 September 2023) and in the Appendix there is a useful summary of the changes, including a comparison of the current and new PII requirements.
A new Guidance Factsheet on PII Requirements (effective 1 September 2023) is also available in the related downloads section.
Webinar - Regulatory changes and the implications for your insurance
ACCA partnered with Lockton to deliver a webinar on the new PII regulations on 20 September 2023. The session explained the PII changes and the implications for ACCA practitioners, and the transitional arrangements.