The Solicitors Regulation Authority has agreed ‘in principle’ to scrap its plans to close the assigned risks pool (ARP), but will tighten the rules on eligibility and how long firms can stay in the pool.

The SRA said the decision to retain the ARP, the insurer of last resort for firms unable to obtain professional indemnity insurance on the open market, is conditional on the SRA board approving an equality impact assessment in May.

The modified ARP will be closed to new start-up firms from October this year. Firms will only be able to stay in the pool for 12 rather than 24 months. The SRA board will also pursue ‘an initiative to manage down the risk of unstable firms’.

SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said the regulator had received ‘strong arguments’ in support of keeping the ARP in its two consultations on the issue.