Axis enters solicitors' indemnity market
INTERNATIONAL insurance giant Axis has made an 11th-hour entry into the rapidly shrinking solicitors' professional indemnity market.
The news comes after four of Ireland's nine solicitors' professional indemnity providers pulled out of the loss-making market ahead of the December 1 renewal deadline. Industry sources had been warning that solicitors faced premium hikes of up to 50pc as reduced competition and soaring claims costs took their toll.
It has emerged that Axis has agreed to join the market, offering its services through commercial insurance broker McGivern Flynn & Co.
"We have heard reports of premiums being increased from €15,000 to €75,000 for single practitioners, an area where only two insurers are at present offering new business terms," said McGivern Flynn's Eimear Lane.
"There's a real need for greater competition at that end of the market if solicitors are to survive during these more difficult times."
Ms Lane added that the Axis premiums would be "competitive" since the insurer was "not carrying the historic losses that others have and so is not looking to recoup these with exorbitant premiums".
Insurers who have pulled out of the market include Quinn, which was the third biggest player in the market, RSA, AG Dore and Hiscox.
Solicitors and practices that are unable to get cover are allowed to apply to the Law Society's Assigned Risk Pool (ARP), a collective insurance scheme underwritten by all the market players.