Q&A with Steve Johnson and Jeremy Dorkins

Search provider poweredbypie has worked with CLS PI for almost ten years.  CLS is a leading provider of products and services for Legal Indemnities and Estate Administration matters.  We spoke to Jeremy Dorkins, UK Director of Customer Success at poweredbypie and Steve Johnson, National Key Account Manager, CLS PI to find out more about indemnity insurance and how there is a solution for every problem if the right teams are talking.

  • Steve: how does CLS support law firms?

Local authority search delays combined with the SDLT holiday have put unparalleled pressure on conveyancers in recent months.   We support law firms by providing a full range of indemnity insurance policies which protect buyers in the case of potential disputes and in the case of delays, provide the ability to complete a transaction without the necessary searches.  Our Standard policies include search indemnities such as: Local Authority, Drainage & Water, Coal Mining, and Common Land or Village Green.   Additional policies provide cover against a range of title defects including Restrictive Covenants, Easements and Loss of Deeds.  We firmly believe there is solution for every problem, and we achieve this by ensuring the right teams are talking and working together. We realise that conveyancing isn’t a one size fits all process, so we are always happy to provide bespoke quotes, helping to make property transactions as seamless (and as risk free) as they can be.

Our aim is to give lawyers the necessary tools, so in-turn they can provide the best possible service and experience to their client.  We understand that moving is an expensive business and those that are buying a new home are often trying to save money where they can but it’s about educating them about protection against risk.   We work with our partners, like poweredbypie, to ensure conveyancers are in a position to discuss and present all relevant options for the client, allowing them to make an informed decision.

  • Jeremy: how does poweredbypie, a Dye & Durham company work with CLS?

Our legal clients can order indemnity insurance policies quickly and easily through our Spider Ordering Platform.  We work closely with CLS and our other insurance providers both in providing a robust online service, but also when cases aren’t straightforward and we need to take it offline to provide a bespoke policy.   In these situations, our in-house team, which is part of our bigger customer services team, will talk to the expert underwriters at CLS who will provide a quote to match requirements.  This means that even when the standard Statements of Fact can’t be met, it’s not always an outright no.

  • Jeremy: What sort of situation results in the need for a bespoke quote?

 Standard policy statements of fact may not immediately be a best fit where there have been recent works carried out on a property.  Or, sometimes a particular policy is not available online as it involves a more tailored approach.  Here, working closely with a partner like CLS with their team of experts on hand, ensures there is a solution for whatever is classed as ‘out of the ordinary’.

  • Steve: what risks do house movers need to be made aware of?

The challenge is that no-one wants to think about what can go wrong but unfortunately there are many examples that show things don’t always go to plan.  For example, if a policy is taken out and a claim needs to be made, in hindsight it’s easy for a client to say that was the best £100 they ever spent.  However, for others, not having the right insurance in place can prove particularly costly.

Restrictive Covenant Indemnity Insurance is one such policy which could be overlooked.  People believe once they own a property, they can do as they please.  However, there can be restricted covenants in place which can range from the straight-forward to the rather awkward.  They might include when wheelie bins need to be put out, or not parking a trade vehicle on the driveway.  More commonly, however, they relate to proposed changes to a property such as building works.  One recent claim cost £50k settlement fee plus £12K in legal costs and so for the client who took out Restrictive Covenant Indemnity, the policy premium of £400 was money very well spent.  Had the insured not had a Restrictive Covenant policy in place, resolving the issue would have been challenging, as they would have been personally liable for both the legal costs and any settlement. They would also have had to navigate the nuances of the case and the legal system themselves.

  • Steve: what observations can you make about the past year?

It’s been interesting to look at the data and how COVID has changed the insurance requirements.  Given the challenges faced by the local authorities to complete searches and the understandable delays, law firms have been under increasing pressure to keep the conveyancing workflow moving forwards.  So, as you might expect volumes of search and indemnity insurance are currently very high.

However, what we do find is that a significant number of transactions are not properly insured, and this puts clients in a vulnerable position as part of one of the most expensive transactions and investments they will ever make.  By supporting law firms to be able to present all the available options we can help protect those customers.

  • Steve: how can the right insurance policy improve customer experience?

We all know that word-of-mouth is the strongest form of recommendation.  However, law firms are in a tough spot if something goes wrong.  It is rarely their fault, but emotions can run high and rightly or wrongly, the conveyancer can be blamed for a poor experience.  The last thing that’s needed for any firm is negative reviews.  Therefore, being able to provide a thorough service and enabling the client to make an informed decision, can lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction and more positive recommendations.

In addition, when a law firm’s team are always able to follow best practice and meet client expectations, the chances of any claims against negligence are reduced from the outset.

  • Jeremy: what are the benefits of working with poweredbypie for insurance requirements?

Ordering online gives firms access to all their policies in one place, to download and view them when needed, all alongside their other search orders. Our insurance team can provide comparable quotes from different insurance providers to ensure firms can keep compliant with due diligence requirements.   With over 40 residential and commercial policies available, we can make sure clients are covered quickly and cost effectively.  Now poweredbypie comes under the Dye & Durham umbrella our customers can benefit from the additional support and resources of Dye & Durham too.

With 90% of clients using our bespoke offline service rating it excellent or good and 90% rating their experience when purchasing insurance from poweredbypie as either good or excellent with an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5, ordering through us means you are in safe hands.

For further information please see: www.poweredbypie.co.uk or www.clspi.co.uk

Today's Conveyancer