Law firms have been urged not to panic even if they cannot meet this week’s deadline for securing indemnity insurance.

The renewal period was set to close today with potentially hundreds of firms expected to have missed out.

The list mostly consists of a tranche of firms left without an insurer after the pull-out of Berliner and previously Balva, but the Gazette understands it may also include two top-100 firms which had not secured insurance at the time of going to press.

Those who have missed out now enter the extended indemnity period, a 30-day window in which a firm can continue to practise and try to obtain qualifying insurance.

There are believed to be several rated and unrated insurers still prepared to accept applications from firms in this situation.

A Law Society spokesman said: ‘The important thing for firms who are yet to seek alternative cover is not to panic. Firms should, however, be aware of their regulatory obligations during this period, which include giving notice to the SRA and the requirement to cease to practise if a policy of qualifying insurance is not in place within 90 days.’

The SRA is expected to confirm by the end of this week how many firms have had to invoke the 90-day extension.

Frank Maher, partner for Liverpool firm Legal Risk, said he expected several hundred law firms to miss the renewal deadline. ‘As expected, large firms have had no trouble apart from the odd one with significant problems still awaiting a quote,’ he said.

‘The real problem is with the 1,300 Balva firms. I know one or two brokers have placed some of them, but we are receiving a lot of calls from firms closing either now, or looking to close after triggering the extended indemnity period.’