Insurance rates slashed by 10 per cent

Overall rates for solicitors’ professional indemnity dropped by 10 per cent this year, according to early predictions.

The total cost of premiums for the primary layer of cover dropped from more than £250m last year to £232m this year, foiling suggestions over the summer that rates would rise.

The three largest insurers – Zurich Professional, The St Paul and QBE – retain nearly 60 per cent of the market between them.

Zurich’s market share is predicted at nearly 25 per cent, with premiums totalling £57.3m. The St Paul, with £38.4m of the total pool, insures 16.5 per cent of the market, while QBE is a narrow third with 15.4 per cent and £35.8m.

David Coughlan, head of Zurich Professional, said Zurich’s success was down to the service the company provided. He added: “We’re delighted that one in three firms have chosen us.”

Richard Gerrard, a spokesman for The St Paul, said: “We’re very pleased with our account this year, and look forward to working together with the law firms to reduce the risk of negligence claims.”

In the four years since the Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund was put into run-off, the number of Law Society-approved insurers has dropped from 35 to 23.

QBE was unavailable for comment.