SRA to consult on unrated insurers

  • 29/01/2014

Issue Date: 28 January 2014

SRA to consult on unrated insurers

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is consulting on only allowing rated
insurers to provide professional indemnity (PII) cover to SRA-regulated law
firms following problems caused by the insolvency of a number of insurers.

To clarify the risks posed by changes in the market, the SRA commissioned
insurance broker and risk specialist Marsh to determine whether unrated
insurers in the market for PII insurance for SRA-regulated firms had a
detrimental effect upon clients and law firms. The review was sparked by
problems faced by Latvian insurer Balva, and the increasing frequency of
similar events, which raised concerns about the way clients were in practice

Marsh’s initial findings suggested there may be inconsistencies in protections
for clients depending on the status of the insurer, and the SRA’s experience of
the disorderly exit of several insurers from the market leads the SRA to
conclude that unrated insurers may pose a significant risk to client
protections and to legal services and legal services regulation. The SRA Board
has decided to consult on the proposal that all those applying to be added to
the Participating Insurers list have a financial strength rating of at least B
from a recognised rating agency.

Agnieszka Scott, SRA
Director of Policy and Strategy,
“We have always resisted calls to insist that insurers have a rating. Recent events such as the
growth of unrated insurers in the market and higher risks of insolvency have
made us consider this afresh.

“Our overriding objective is to ensure appropriate protection for consumers
without driving unnecessary costs on law firms. This consultation will assist
us in striking that balance.”

To be eligible to write compulsory indemnity insurance for solicitors, an
insurer must be authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or be
an EEA insurer passported into this country to write insurance business. The
SRA has always deferred to the relevant regulatory bodies to vet the financial
stability of insurers.

The exercise starts today (28 January) and will last eight weeks until 24

It is available at:

The SRA has also finally received all market share information from the
participating insurers and published this on its website. In previous years,
this has been prepared to show what liabilities each insurer had for the
assigned risks poll (ARP), but as the ARP no longer exists, these figures are
for information only.

The market share information is available at: