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RIBA Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance update

An update on our efforts to address the insurance crisis.

22 March 2022

The continuing challenge faced by architects in securing effective and affordable Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is at the top of our list of priorities when it comes to talking to government. The rising cost and declining scope of coverage is a cause for serious concern and threatens the long term future of the profession if urgent action is not taken.

What action is RIBA taking?

In recent months, we have:

  • raised the PII crisis with Ministers, Senior Civil Servants, and key industry figures
  • established a working group led by RIBA Council and Board member Jennifer Dixon to investigate the insurance challenge
  • engaged with the Architects Registrations Board (ARB) on their review of PII criteria and the Construction Industry Council’s work on PII
  • given evidence on the Building Safety Bill to the House of Lords Public Bill Committee which included the need for action on PII
  • written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the Minister for Small Business

What will the new council and board working group be focussing on?

The new group will lead a consultation process with contractors, brokers, and regulatory bodies to advance understanding of the risks and liabilities of practice. It will also produce a set of recommendations for regulatory interventions to reduce ‘unintended consequences’ – helping to guide our lobbying activity.

How are government proposals impacting the situation?

As you will be aware, the Building Safety Bill is currently being debated by Parliament. While the RIBA has broadly welcomed the measures contained in the bill, several recent Government proposals have exacerbated what was already a challenging situation in the PII market. Read our latest Building Safety Bill policy paper here.

In particular, we believe that the government has not properly considered or understood the implications of extending the liability period under the Defective Premises Act to 30 years. While the RIBA supports the government’s desire to ensure that those responsible for the failings that contributed to the building safety crisis are held accountable, it is vital that the measures introduced to do this do not have adverse impacts on those who do not bear responsibility. The extension of the Defective Premises Act will make securing insurance much more challenging without delivering the financial returns the government is seeking.

Our principal aim is to ensure that all fire safety problems are fixed in a timely and effective way – and that the government legislates where necessary to ensure that history is not repeated. Across the economy, it is becoming clear that the current PII model is no longer fit for purpose. Other professions are facing similar challenges with steeply rising premiums and a growing set of exclusions.

Over the coming months, we will be working closely to raise awareness of the need for fundamental reforms in the way that professional indemnity insurance and insurance within the construction sector works.

Please contact your local RIBA team or support@riba.org with specific queries.

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This page will be updated with developments. Last updated: 22 March 2022

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