The Notary Public and Professional Indemnity Insurance – Is A Specific Policy A Good Idea?

By Richard Gledhill

In late 2016, MFL Professional launched a new Notary Public Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) facility, addressing regulatory requirements and affording a wide cover at a competitive cost, both commensurate with the fees typically earned by a Notary Public.

Many Notaries do buy their compulsory PII from our scheme, though we appreciate that some also continue to rely upon the PII arranged on behalf of their Employer, i.e. the Solicitors’ practice,
under the Law Society Minimum Terms & Conditions (MTC), provided of course the Employer has specifically advised the Insurer who then endorses the policy to include the individual Notary.

Where this is the case, the cover afforded under the MTC will, of course, be sufficient to comply with the insurance demands and needs of the Notary Public in the course of their professional activity. However, as a Solicitor’s practice, we would suggest you give some thought to the following points and in the event of any issues, consider the option of the more specific cover under this facility.

  • The level of policy excess is likely to differ considerably. For example, our facility will offer an excess of £250 each and every claim. A Solicitor’s PII policy will likely have an excess of several thousand pounds each and every claim.
  • Have you ensured your Notary is provided with a copy of your firm’s policy document or otherwise ensured they are aware of your policy conditions e.g. the policy excess or, claims notification conditions etc?
  • Claims handling. Does your Insurer operate its own in-house claim team? Many will outsource this role, so who would undertake your Notary’s defence? What is the process?
  • Are arrangements in place between you and the Notary should your firm be involved in plans to merge or sell, perhaps as part of a succession plan? Under the MTC rules, a run-off cover will have to be effected one way or the other for the firm itself but your firm’s PI Insurers would not be under any obligation to afford run-off cover, or indeed ongoing cover, to the Notary. Would the level and payment of a policy excess become an issue for further consideration?

We have tried to highlight a few areas which we feel the Notary Public perhaps ought to address even if only for peace of mind.

Should you wish to investigate the purchase of a more specific PII cover relating to the professional activities as a Notary Public then please contact ourselves as below.

Moving onto your firm’s PII itself if this does happen to fall due for renewal imminently (1st April for many?), the insurance market remains very competitive, as ever we would ask that you please
do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss further.

Very closely linked to the PII of course, we would once again draw your attention to the need for a robust Cyber (and Crime) insurance programme to be put in place. You will be aware of the
Manchester Law Society’s Cyber Seminar taking place 25th April, whether or not you plan to attend this we would urge you to give consideration to the cyber threat and the possible costs you may
be faced with that are not picked up by your PII cover.

Download your copy of “The Notary Public and Professional Indemnity Insurance – Is A Specific Policy A Good Idea?”

Should you need any assistance with your PII programme or wish to discuss the above issues, please contact MFL Professional, as below.