Rate reductions in the professional indemnity (PI) market have stalled as insurers await the outcome of the reinsurance renewal period.

Kevin Culliney, executive director of broker Howden UK, said PI rates were beginning to harden in anticipation of an increase in reinsurance rates.

He said: "The rates are starting to level with insurers no longer pushing for 15% to 20% decreases on premium. This is a pre-emptive push in the lead up to the reinsurance renewal season."

David Jones, Markel managing director, public liability division, said reinsurers were likely to increase PI rates in order to recoup losses from their property and casualty books.

"If rates go up, that will have an effect on stemming the reductions that are occurring in the direct [primary] market."

Earlier in the year, Willis' quarterly index reported rate reductions in the accountants' and auditors' PI market of between 5% and 25% in the third quarter.