Older practitioners are facing increasing difficulty securing professional indemnity insurance (PII), leaving many unable to continue working.
The RIBA's director of practice, Keith Snook, this week identified the worrying new trend, just as the government sets out to encourage workers to postpone retirement until 70 or later.
Snook is collecting anecdotal evidence from those in their 70s who have been turned down to present to the next RIBA insurance board meeting: 'Never before, in my experience, have people been refused PII because of their age. But the known names are now turning people away and one of the reasons is age.'
Snook blamed the trend on a reluctance among insurance companies to offer the less lucrative policies, such as PII. 'Ten years ago, there were 20 brokers in Lloyd's underwriting the profession. Now it's just three.'
But Snook was pessimistic about the institute's ability to influence the situation. 'There is little we can do to affect the market, ' he said. 'But we can set the standard through RIBASure.'