Some 409 firms applied to enter the assigned risks pool (ARP) on 1 October, the deadline for professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewal, according to figures released by the Solicitors Regulation Authority today.

The SRA said this is roughly the same number of deadline day applications as on 1 October last year, when there were 411.

An SRA spokeswoman said that the figure might fluctuate up or down, because firms can put in a protective application to the ARP, and have four weeks’ grace within which to find cover on the open market.

Many market commentators predicted that the number of firms in the ARP would exceed 500 this renewal. There have been 269 firms in the pool during 2009/10.

The ARP is the mutual insurer of last resort for firms that cannot obtain cover on the open market. Firms in the ARP must pay lucrative premiums, although much premium has been left unpaid in previous years.

The Law Society’s PII helpline can be contacted on 020 7320 9545.