• 04/10/2013

 As of Tuesday, firms that have failed to secure cover from their existing insurer, or any other underwriter, have entered the Extended Indemnity Period (EIP) – thirty days when cover is provided by their previous insurer and a time when they can try and secure insurance for the forthcoming year. 
Beyond that you have a further 60 days in the Cessation Period (CP) in which to finalise matters or wind up your firm.  Remember there is no Assigned Risks Pool safety net.

This year the insurance market has thrown up a number of challenges for firms, not least the fact that Berliner Insurance exited the market in the second week of September. 
Additionally we saw a couple of insurers either withdraw from the market or release renewal terms so late and at such levels as to make premiums unaffordable for many firms.

Some firms find themselves heading in to October with a degree of uncertainty hanging over their heads with regards to their insurance arrangements and firms with no PII in place need to be engaging with the SRA as a matter of urgency. If you are in this position, help could be at hand.

Manchester Law Society has teamed up with its partner broker, MFL Professional, and Weightmans’ Compl-i team to provide a Helpline for those still looking to secure cover and/or have queries about  notifying the SRA or are contemplating possible closure.

The Law Society has also issued some guidance. MFL Professional is one of the largest independent PII specialists in theUK.  They are ideally placed to help you find your way through a difficult market this year.  Should you need assistance in securing alternative terms at renewal this year please call our PII Helpline on 0161 237 7730.

Weightmans’ Compl-i team is an MLS Advantage group member and provides legal assistance and support to law firms on regulation, compliance and risk management. Anyone requiring advice on their regulatory position should contact their free Helpline on 0161 214 0590


We are aware that a number of firms have yet to obtain professional indemnity insurance for the year beginning 1st October 2013. Precise numbers are unclear at the moment. However, it is important that those members of the profession effected should be aware of the options available.

Under the new rules, firms have an Extended Indemnity Period (EIP) of 30 days and a further 60 days in the Cessation Period (CP) if they are unable to obtain cover. This provides a further opportunity for firms to obtain insurance. If they fail to do so, firms will be restricted in the work that they can undertake and will need to move towards closure.
We understand that a number of insurers are still considering and accepting business.
(See below)

  • AmTrust
  • Chancery Pii (1-4 partners)
  • Law Select
  • Travelers 
  • WR Berkeley – but not for conveyancing firms 
  •  Zurich
  • Elite – but not for sole practitioners

The Law Society is constantly monitoring the position and will update this list regularly. For further information about segments and types of firms that these insurers cover see the Law Society’s Insurers Guide.
Solicitors experiencing difficulties obtaining PII can also:

* Contact the Law Society’s PII helpline – 020 7320 9545 – which will have the most up to date information and advice;

* Consult the Law Society’s guides on PII –;

* See the Law Society’s advice on the EIP and what it means;

* Explore the option of Chancery Pii, which is a managing general agency that has been created to provide primary layer PII cover for solicitors’ firms in England and Wales with 1-4 partners. Chancery Pii places insurance with a panel of participating insurers. Each insurer has a financial strength rating of at least A- (Standard and Poor’s) or equivalent and each takes an agreed percentage share of the liability/premium for a policy.
More information is available at 

Solicitors without insurance will need to notify the SRA within five working days of entering both the EIP and CP. The address to contact is: [email protected] Rule 17.3 of the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules:

 and the SRA’s notice to firms



 Fran Eccles-Bech
Chief Executive
Manchester Law Society