Law Society SIF table branded “bizarre'

Law Society figures showing that most firms will pay less with the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) than buying insurance on the open market, have been branded “bizarre” by one of the members of the working party which was set up by the society to investigate indemnity insurance.

Last week The Lawyer alleged that a table provided by the Law Society, comparing how a selection of firms would fare under SIF compared with going to private insurers, was skewed in favour of the fund. The claim has been rejected by both the Law Society and SIF.

In a letter published in The Lawyer this week, SIF managing director Elizabeth Mullins accuses The Lawyer of misleading the profession over our interpretation of the table, which has been sent to every solicitor in the UK, along with a consultation paper on the future of professional indemnity insurance.

And the Law Society complained that the figures used by The Lawyer were “statistical nonsense, comparing as they do a series of case histories with a statistical average”.

But Edward Coulson, who sat on the society's Appleby working party and is speaking at a series of Law Society roadshows on the issue, said he was baffled by the fact that five of the six largest firms on the table did better under SIF than on the open market.

In one case, for a firm with a turnover of £100m, SIF's quote was nearly five times better than the open market equivalent.

He said quotes obtained by his firm, Hammond Suddards, from private insurers suggested the market would be cheaper than SIF. “If you ask me the table is pretty bloody rum,” he said.