UK’s biggest professional indemnity Insurance provider lacks appetite for SMEs

As revealed in the Gazette earlier last week, Britain’s biggest PI insurance provider lacks an appetite for doing business with newer law firms that do not have in excess of ten partners.

Chartis, which was known previousl by the name AIG, had a 15 per cent share of solicitors’ PI insurance market in 2009, but has said that it will be focusing instead on new clients with 10 partners or more, rather than on any existing clients it is already servicing.

a spokesman for Chartis stated that the company has informed its brokers that it has no appetite to offer insurance to solicitor firms unless they have 10 or more partners.

This news will undoubtedly come to be disappointing to the more than 3,000 sole practitioners and smaller law firms who are most likely going to be in need of finding a new insurer due to not only Hiscox’s recent departure announcement, but of the expected exit of Quinn from the market as well.  The next largest insurer for business liability insurance, Zurich (who had a 13 per cent share of the market in 2009), also announced that it will be cutting the number of firms it will be servicing significantly this past July.

The spokesman for Chartis spokesman continued, stating that there have been difficulties in 2010 for the solicitors’ market in regards to claims and also regarding the future of the assigned risks pool.  Predictions have been made that firms in the ARP could double in number quite easily this year, the spokesman continued, saying that due to a rise in claims from the ARP, premiums will rise as well as underwriters adjust their current view of the market landscape.

Travelers, which is the second largest commercial insurance firm, has not taken an opportunity to comment on what its plans may be for the impending renewal period.  Travelers’ market share for 2009 was in excess of 13 per cent.

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