Lockton’s professional indemnity (PI) business is in freefall after losing four major law firm clients to rivals in recent weeks and seeing its revenue slashed by £300,000 as a result.

The broker also saw two senior people depart within the professions division last week and is getting rid of a further 16 people from Bristol and London.

Both Brian Muxworthy, operations director at Lockton’s professions division and Roger Brown, chief executive of Lockton’s Corporate Risk Solutions, were forced out of the company.

A well-connected source revealed to Insurance Times: “They’re just losing shed loads of business on a weekly basis. I doubt they will have 10 solicitor firms left by the end of renewal.”

The news conflicts with Lockton’s aim back in February that it was gearing up to regain its top slot as the PI broker for the UK’s leading law firms, after being toppled by Marsh in a Legal Risk survey.

The same survey revealed that Lockton had a 23% share of the solicitor’s PI market in 2006; compared to 38% share in 2005.

The top UK law firms which have since switched from Lockton to competitor brokers include Lawrence Graham, now at Aon.

Stephenson Harwood has gone to Windsor and both Kendall Freeman and Trowers & Hamlins are now at Prime Professions, where last year 20 former Lockton staff defected to.

The same source added that morale was so low within the professions division, that employees within Lockton’s PI business for solicitors were keeping their heads down.

A Lockton spokesman confirmed that the employees in question were undergoing a “consultation process” with management.

The spokesman maintained that the company had the largest broker share within the solicitor’s PI market, excluding the top 100 law firms.

But an expert in the solicitor’s field said: “I would have some doubt whether they have the greatest share. I would be surprised if it’s true.”

Aon confirmed it had 23% of the market and Marsh is believed to have between 25% and 30%.