Whether we are providing Party Wall cover on our own product, or obtaining it from the open market, one thing never changes. Competitive terms and quick turn-around times are heavily dependent on the quality of the information being supplied.

terraced houses

Party Wall insurance is a very technical class of business to underwrite. The rating factors include not only sum insured and postcode, but various technical factors which rely heavily on a degree of engineering knowledge and understanding. In addition, and particularly on the more complex risks, a good deal of supporting documentation needs to be supplied. The underwriting and quoting of a party wall risk requires a significant commitment in terms of time, concentration and expertise; an approach heightened by the larger and more complex the risk becomes.

With this in mind, it is easy to understand why Party Wall underwriters will prioritise carefully constructed presentations over those which have been rushed. A huge data-dump in a drop-box, together with a proposal form which simply refers to the data rather than summarising it, is not going to be lead to a happy conclusion. Underwriters are likely to either reject the presentation of such submissions entirely, or delay their response back in light of how much is involved in identifying what is missing.

There is one key action your clients can take to greatly increase the chances of competitive terms and a quick turnaround on the quote. That is to ensure that the proposal form is completed carefully, and that all questions are directly answered. We frequently see questions being answered with responses such as ‘refer to drawings’. However, this type of response is not acceptable. The purpose of the proposal form is to summarise the technical information, not simply refer to it.

A carefully and fully completed proposal form is generally all that is required for a Party Wall insurer to generate a firm indication, or even a formal quotation. Supporting documentation such as method statements, geotechnical reports and a selection of drawings detailing the structural elements of the project will often be required, but these needn’t necessarily be provided immediately.

If the submission form is not completed in a detailed way, then the proposer is asking the underwriter to delve into large volumes of technical and highly complex supporting paperwork to try and get a handle on the rateable elements of the project. Underwriters simply don’t have the time or the responsibility to do so, and so there’s a strong risk that the proposal will be rejected in this situation.

When we send out our Party Wall proposal form here at Renovation Underwriting, we also send out a sheet of guidance notes. We would urge you to ensure that these notes are attached when you pass the form on to your client, and that you stress to your client the importance of following the guidance. To help further, we have additionally altered our Party Wall proposal form with notes in red so that even the most inattentive proposer can be in no doubt what is actually required.

Our underwriters will review the completed Party Wall proposal form when it comes in and, as we know what the insurers expect, we may have to return this and ask your clients to add further detail even when our guidance notes have been followed. We’re here to guide and advise in order to secure the most positive result, and so we hope you will understand if and when this occurs.

Our Underwriting team is always available to provide expertise and to assist with the completion of Party Wall proposals. Please don’t hesitate to contact the team if you need to – just email team@renovationunderwriting.com.

Category: Industry Knowledge

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