The Law Society has announced that the number of law firms securing cover in the assigned risks pool (ARP) is smaller than predicted due to qualified insurers entering the professional indemnity (PI) market and Law Society initiatives.

The Law Society has a PI helpline, and has provided practice notes on renewing PI, guides for the profession and an intelligence gathering service in the past year.

396 legal practices have been unable to secure cover on the PI market and have sought insurance in the ARP. Many of those in the ARP can leave and find alternative insurance from qualified insurers.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: "Very early indications on the basis of information that we have received suggest that numbers in the ARP in the immediate aftermath of the 1 October renewal may not be as high as has been predicted by many market commentators. That is not to ignore the severe pricing pressure parts of the profession faced.

"This figure will, at least initially, be subject to daily fluctuation as firms exit the pool through obtaining market insurance, merge or cease trading. Though the picture is not yet clear, it appears that the entry of a number of new qualifying insurers to the market, serving that part of the profession who have previously faced the greatest challenges in obtaining cover, coupled with the range of Society initiatives this year to assist the profession, has had some positive impact on numbers."

The Society also launched its SafetyNet initiative this year to help legal practices secure cover. The scheme remains available to legal practices currently in the ARP.

Hudson said: "The size of the total premium pot for the profession for this renewal remains to be determined. The Society will continue in its efforts to assist members of the profession currently in the ARP to exit within the 30 day window and beyond, through the dedicated PII helpline and via the 'Safety Net' scheme operated in conjunction with brokers PYV."