Professional Indemnity (PI) rates look set to fall by up to 10% as the 1 October deadline for solicitors' PI approaches.

Brokers are predicting reductions in rates despite insurers urging underwriters to increase their rates.

Sandra Neilson, European practice leader for law firm's PI at Marsh, predicted that rates, in relation to revenue, could decrease by 10% at firms with good claims experience and risk management.

She said: "Insurers would argue that competition has driven prices down, but we don't think so because this is a self-correcting market and it's up to insurers to set prices.

Geoff King, executive director of Alexander Forbes Professions, said some insurers had offered discounted rates for early renewals of as much as 10%.

"There is no doubt most insurers would like to see the rates increase but we expect to see them reduce this year for firms with a good record."

Gary Head, professions underwriting director at Hiscox, said rates needed to increase.

"There is lots of competit-iveness in PI business with prices being driven down because of this.

"We are well into softer turf now and it needs some resolve. We need to get underwriters to put their rates up," said Head.

Mark Casady, professional indemnity portfolio manager at QBE, said: "We have offered early renewal terms to our preferred risks with rate certainty for future years based on last years premium rate - that is, no increase or reduction."