SIF: The truth is out there

Fox Mulder would be proud of you. Your ability to see conspiracy theories easily rivals that of the extra-terrestrial chasing FBI special agent.

Your leader column (The Lawyer, 14 April 1998), refers to the recent Law Society consultation documents, in which a comparative table of quotations provided by SIF and three commercial insurers appeared.

You express astonishment and disbelief that one large firm would pay four times more for its insurance if it went on the open market, than if it remained with a reformed SIF.

You claim the open market quote must be "vastly over-inflated". Why on earth would a leading firm of insurance brokers and three professional indemnity insurers deliberately over-inflate their quotations in order to make SIF look more attractive? They want the business! If anything, they will be optimistic in their quotations.

There are enormous cost advantages to a mutual fund which enable SIF to be more competitive for the majority of individual firms and for the profession as a whole. We do not pay brokerage, we have no marketing or sales costs, we do not pay dividends to shareholders and we pay no tax to the Government. These savings are passed on in the form of lower contributions.

Surely it is time to accept the Law Society's consultation paper as a genuine and fair comparison, in which the majority of SIF contributions were more competitive than those provided by the open market.

The truth is out there, but some still refuse to accept it!

John Stoneley, head of Practice Solicitors Indemnity Fund