Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund is still searching for reinsurance cover

Insurers have refused to take part in last-ditch talks on a professional indemnity pool for Irish solicitors, fearing a backlash in claims.

The Law Society of Ireland has confirmed there will be no assigned risk pool (ARP) this year, a move that threatens the practice licences of solicitors who fail to get cover by the 1 December deadine.

The ARP offers cover to the most at-risk solicitors, albeit for a high premium.

A market source told Insurance Times that underwriters were put off the pool by the prospect of a flood of recession-related claims.

However, XL and broker Aon announced a deal this week that aims to boost capacity in the market to cover the better risks.

XL said it would offer quotations across the range from a small sole practitioner to larger multi-partner firms.

XL chief underwriting officer Bill Wharton said: “We are pleased to be supporting legal firms in Ireland as a primary PI insurer, as well as bringing much-needed capacity and competition to the market.”

Aon currently has a 20% market share for solicitors’ PI in Ireland.

Director Gerry Conway said he hoped the deal would give solicitors confidence to find cover.

Both Aon and XL will be hoping to capitalise on solicitors leaving the Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund.

The fund’s brokers, Miller and JLT, are at present scouring the London market looking for reinsurance cover to allow it to continue for another year.