In a move that will disappoint many conveyancers Royal Sun Alliance has declined to quote for a number of its existing large solicitor firms. This move will support the concerns that many have that the professional indemnity insurance round will be particularly tough this year.
Marc Charlton External Communications Manager said "After a review of market conditions and a number of issues surrounding the Assigned Risks Pool (ARP) we have decided to make some changes to our Solicitors Professional Indemnity (PI) offering. Only existing clients will be considered for primary (compulsory limit) covers. This means that no new business will be written for these primary covers.
RSA has significant concerns regarding the ARP and is looking to work with the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) to resolve these concerns."
On a more positive note the Law Society has announced that Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Limited trading under the name “Vision” will be offering professional indemnity insurance to solicitors firms of up to 5 partners. Firms will be able to access Vision on a direct basis or through the internet.
Vision will be trading online under the title of Legal and Professional Insurance and will be found at www.LPinsure.co.uk
The announcement was linked to the transfer of the run-off of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund which will be managed by the same group.
For those firms that have been concerned about the quality of their insurer Vision’s parent is Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group. It is a diversified global insurer and fifth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2008 direct written premium. The Company also ranks 71st on the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2008 revenue. As of December 31, 2009, Liberty Mutual Group had $109.5 billion in consolidated assets, $95.0 billion in consolidated liabilities, and $31.1 billion in annual consolidated revenue.
Liberty Mutual Group offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, workers compensation, commercial multiple peril, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, assumed reinsurance, fire, and surety.
The Law Society welcomes the arrival of Vision as bringing new capacity, competition and more choice into this market.
The current LPClaims staff of eight, including the Chief Executive George Raubenheimer, will transfer to Vision but the commercial terms of the deal between the Law Society and Vision Underwriting Limited will remain confidential.
Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive of the Law Society said:
“The Law Society has secured an excellent result for the profession, which secures the viability of the handling of SIF run-off claims at a reasonable cost and at a time when we are working hard to keep to a minimum the overheads on solicitors. I am delighted that we have been able to reach agreement with Vision Underwriting Limited and that I am also able to welcome the arrival of another insurer for solicitors.”
Paul Kurgo, LMIE’s Managing Director Commercial Business UK and Ireland said:
“This is an exciting opportunity for Vision as it enters a sector of the solicitors market currently experiencing a growing concern about the availability of a competitive market place. I am also pleased that we have been able to secure a professional and highly experienced claims team that has been recognised for the quality of its management of solicitors claims, developed over many years. We aim to build upon this reputation with firms knowing that their claims are in the right hands”.
George Raubenheimer, CEO LPClaims said:
“Solicitor firms of 1 to 5 partners will recognise the value, benefits and stability of combining the very best of SIF claims management with that of a large internationally recognised insurer. The profession will have comfort knowing that the run-off of the remainder of the SIF claims will continue to be dealt with professionally and to the highest standards.”