PI Direct offers reduced premium for early renewal of solicitors' PI

PI Direct is offering solicitors the opportunity to agree rates now for their professional indemnity (PI) insurance in order to avoid the annual rush on 1 September.

The announcement follows Marsh's decision to allow solicitors to begin the PI renewal process at the beginning of May this year.

But while solicitors can agree renewal rates now, insurers cannot bind cover until 1 September because of Law Society rules.

PI Direct chief executive Michael Wood said: "In terms of good risks we want to renew, if you want to come in early you'll get a slightly lower rate than in July and August.

"We're saying to good risks, we've looked at your record over the past ten months and if you take the price we offer it won't be affected by your record in July and August."

Wood added that PI Direct aimed to settle around 10%-20% of its solicitors' PI book in this way.

PI Direct is offering solicitors the chance to agree PI rates now in order to reduce its workload in the coming months. "We get inundated in July and August with our renewal book," Wood said.

Though the renewal date for solicitors' PI will be moved to 1 October in 2004, insurers and brokers are calling for year-round renewals.

One regional PI broker said year-round renewals would give law firms more time to negotiate policies and would lead to average premium savings of around 15%-20%.

"At the moment, we're seeing about 60,000 quotes going out around the month of the renewal date and insurers can't cope."

One Lloyd's broker said he expected solicitors' PI rates to increase by around 10% this year.