I am pleased to hear that the Law Society is considering staggering the renewal dates for Professional Indemnity insurance and a return to the Solicitors Indeminty Fund (SIF) (although whether the latter is the best option is not something on which I am qualified to comment).
Clearly something drastic was needed following the insurance fiasco firms faced this summer. This resulted in a six fold rise in the number of firms that went into the Assigned Risks Pool – a place normally reserved for firms with poor claims records, or some other serious problem. As the insurers were taking their time in issuing quotes it was scary. Many of us were left imagining how awful it would be to end up in the ARP on the one hand, and then thinking surely that's impossible given that I have a completely unblemished claim free record. What I hated the most about the experience was that one was completely powerless to do anything about it. Only 3 insurers would look at IP work, so this so called competitive market place where one could shop around was simply non existent. What made matters worse was that some brokers were implying that IP was a No Go area - far too risky to entertain.
Interestingly, some of us had a meeting with Redvers Cunningham of the Bar Mutual Insurance Fund Ltd. He is also a director of PAMIA. Amazingly he told us that IP is in fact one of the lowest risk areas of work – particularly where that work is done by practitioners who specialise in the area. So, I hope the Law Society’s PII group will speak to knowledgeable individuals like Redvers when reviewing PII.