The Solicitors Regulation Authority has recently announced it will step up its efforts in enforcing measures against solicitor firms within the Assigned Risks Pool who neglect to pay their professional indemnity insurance premiums.
Set up in July of 2010 for solicitor firms that were not able to purchase professional liability insurance, the ARP has since led to the shuttering of 89 firms that had been within the Pool during the 2009-2010 financial year. Meanchile, 48 firms have gone on to leave the ARP by securing business liability insurance on the open market for the 2010-2011 year.
64 firms 2010-2011 ARP insured solicitor firms have already shuttered, 10 of which were closed specifically by the SRA. Only 163 of the 309 firms with 2010-2011 ARP cover have paid their premiums, and the Authority has now taken decisive action against those who have entered into policy default by neglecting to pay their premiums.
17 solicitor firms to date have been subject to formal disciplinary proceedings for failing to pay their ARP premiums. Meanwhile, the SRA applauded a recent Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal decision to suspend solicitor Wendell Arnold for 18 months. Mr Arnold, former director of Swansea-based Arnolds Solicitors, not only neglected to pay his ARP premiums, but also refused to co-operate with SRA investigative proceedings.
The suspension was needed in order to both protect the public and also to maintain the profession’s reputation that firm principals need to not only secure professional indemnity insurance cover but to also pay their premiums in a timely manner, said the SDT. In addition to its crackdown on deadbeat solicitor firms within the ARP, the SRA will also be pouring more resources and efforts into aiding solicitor firms leave the ARP and go on to secure open market insurance cover.