My firm specialises in CPD legal training. With the furore over opting out of SIF, we approached Lloyds to undertake a course discussing opt-out options.
I am strongly in favour of opting out, but my discussions with the insurance industry were eye-opening. I have seen little evidence of in-depth investigation as to alternative costs and general options. Perhaps this is unsurprising given the industry views we came across.
We approached insurance companies that provide top-up insurance for firms, over and above the level they achieve through the mutual fund.
Insurance companies at Lloyds are unenthusiastic about the new business. The consensus is that no firm will leave the mutual scheme, once practical considerations of private insurance are taken on board.
The mutual fund still has many outstanding claims. It is doubtful whether anyone can leave until these are paid or arranged for.
A major sticking point for insurers is that they will have to take a hard-line approach with firms that apply. This will almost certainly mean a big premium increase. This will make private insurance uneconomic. The mutual fund will be cheaper.
I cannot see how any vote on the mutual fund can take place without knowing alternative costs. If insurers are dubious, where does this leave firms?
The Law Society, prior to any SGM on the subject, should investigate such comparisons. If already done, the results should be publicised.
Gaon Hart, CPD director, Premier Legal Training.