ARP grows by 55 firms with no professional indemnity insurance

The insurance scheme put in place by the Law Society to provide professional indemnity insurance cover to solicitor firms unable to secure any for themselves has been reopened in Ireland, resulting in 55 firms joining the Assigned Risks Pool just a scant two days after the renewal period for the industry closed.

As firms that do not currently have professional business liability insurance coverage can neither renew their practising certificates nor practise law, the high number of firms that have opted to join the ARP indicates that they have been having difficulties during the renewal season.

While 55 may seem like a large number of firms, the total figure for firms in operation according to the Law Society is over 2,300, stated Ken Murphy, its director general.   Mr Murphy was quick to point out that the vast majority of solicitors’ firms had the ability to obtain business insurance cover, even if this renewal season led to heightened difficulties for some select firms.

The ARP had been closed the previous year due to a lack of insurers willing to participate in the so-called “safety net” coverage.

The scheme, as operated by the Law Society, provides insurance cover for those firms who cannot obtain it for any reason.  There are similar schemes in operation in in other sectors of business where such cover is mandatory.

Mr Murphy stated that any firms that join the ARP will face higher premium payments but do have the option of leaving the scheme in the event of their securing cover from a traditional insurer.  The ARP is most typically employed by firms who are currently in negotiation with their insurers over terms of their renewal.

Insurers participating in the ARP underwrite any claims that arise from pool members based on how large their share of the insurance market is.

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