Rate rises helped to push total premiums up to £217.8m in 2008

The solicitors’ professional indemnity market is now worth nearly £250m, Insurance Times can reveal.

AIG leads the way, grabbing a £36m piece of the £241m cake. Travelers took in £32.2m in premium, closely followed by last year’s top taker, Zurich, which covered solicitors for £30.8m.

The top newcomers were XL Insurance, which wrote £17.1m of business, and Allianz, which grabbed £10.9m.

This year’s market has been driven by a rapid rise in rates for smaller solicitors firms, as insurers fear a backlash in recession-led claims, especially in the conveyancing sector.

The rate rises have helped pushed up the total premium, which last year stood at £217.8m. The market was worth £154m eight years ago.

United Insurance Brokers’ PI divisional director Simon Lovat said: “The rise in the overall premium pool has come from a significant rate rise pushed through by insurers for smaller practices. This comes even with three new insurers writing significant amounts of business, at rates often lower than many of the established insurers.”