A City of London insurance broker claims to be the first to arrange bespoke indemnity cover for solicitors becoming freelancers.
Solicitors’ PII specialist Inperio has joined with underwriter Accredited Insurance (Europe) Limited to capitalise on growing demand from solicitors opting to come out of the law firm environment and offer legal services themselves.
Although the SRA changed its rules to open the way for freelance solicitors in November, few have taken the opportunity as yet, partly because they have been unable to secure insurance.
Inperio chief executive Simon Lovat said his company can offer PII to the full range of both reserved and non-reserved activities being undertaken by freelance solicitors.
‘At this stage we know that there are a large number of individuals interested, and that insurance has been a major sticking point,’ said Lovat. ‘We hope that we can help as many of those individuals as possible, and haven’t set any targets or limits at this stage.’
Inperio, which has operated in the solicitors’ market for eight years, will offer limits between £500,000 and £2m. Its proposition is unlikely to be suitable for solicitors taking on higher-risk work or undertaking large commercial contracts.
Freelance solicitors can offer reserved legal services through their own account providing they have been a solicitor for at least three years and practise in their own name.
They must inform clients they will not be covered by insurance on the SRA’s minimum terms and conditions and that alternative arrangements are in place. Freelance solicitor must take out and maintain insurance that ‘provides adequate and appropriate cover’ in respect of the services on offer.
But there has been commentary in the last year that insurers would not be interested in covering freelance solicitors because of the relatively small profit to be made and the potential risk involved.