Zurich Professional, the PI arm of Zurich Financial Services, is gearing up for the solicitors' indemnity market by appointing two former staff from the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund.

The market is being opened to competition on September 1, when the SIF monopoly on providing compulsory cover to the Law Society's 94,000 members is broken.

Sarah Venus joins ZP as claims manager and Andrew Nickels becomes risk manager. At the SIF, Venus was principal solicitor and claims projects manager and had a role in developing its pre-action protocol, which has speeded up claims resolution.

Andrew Nickels, who qualified as a barrister and a solicitor in New Zealand, was head of risk management of SIF.

Steve Roberts, chief executive of ZP, said it is determined to establish itself as a leader in the solicitors' PI market.

He added that Nickels and Venus will ensure ZP has specific knowledge of the sector.