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Professional Indemnity

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Professional Indemnity Insurance Explained

Protecting your business from claims for error, omissions and the professional neglect of you and your employees is vital in today’s marketplace.

Clegg Gifford has a broad level of experience in placing professional indemnity insurance policies, for companies both large and small, and across the professional spectrum including all manner of professional occupations and businesses.

What sort of claims can you face?

Given that Professional Indemnity insurance helps protect your business if a client alleges you’ve been negligent – here are some real-life professional indemnity claim examples.

Specific claims do of course vary by industry so these are just some illustrative examples.

Given that all professionals, regardless of industry,  have a duty of care to their clients when they undertake work for them. It’s a breach of that duty of care that usually sees a claim being intimated.

One of the most common is for negligence. Although negligence is an expansive term, it covers a very wide range of potential circumstances.

So let’s say, you as a professional have been accused of negligence. When a claim is made against you for perceived negligence on your part, your professional indemnity insurance picks up the cost for legal costs and compensation.

Most Professional indemnity insurance policies will also cover infringement of intellectual property & defamation.

Some other potential examples of claims, which might relate to your own business…

Marketing / printers who mistakenly provide the wrong content and therefore have the costs of re-printing large orders and redesigning.

A company can be sued by a competitor for copyright infringement and/or intellectual property theft relating to say a business model, website and other marketing literature.

Marketing agency using images it doesn’t have a right to – where damage and losses can be proved.

IT providers, for instance for web hosting services, where it leads to a lack of access / forcing websites down and loss of business.

Builders and architects / kitchen designers who provide flawed plans which lead to losses / rectification costs once built.

What level of cover / indemnity levels are common?

A policy can be tailored by insurers to meet your requirements / perceived comfort level. Unless you are a larger organisation, it’s unlikely you will need an indemnity level in the millions – but there again some companies engaging in high risk activities or with specialist requirements sometimes ask for coverage levels (usually through specialists insurers at Lloyd’s) of up to £10M. In this sense, cover options are akin to Directors & Officers insurance – where indemnity levels can be tailored in common increment levels.

It also of course depends on the size of the company you are seeking to insure. Most commonly SME companies are content to have cover up to £100,000 but for modest increases in  additional premium to the base policy coverage,  can secure cover in increments of £250,000; £500,000 and £1M. The best policy is to ask and see what is affordable, and ascertain what you think you are comfortable with.

However, when you’re deciding how much professional indemnity insurance you need, it’s a good idea to check whether your professional body or regulator specifies a minimum level of cover. For instance; Architects Registration Board recommends at least £250,000 for its members, for example, while some businesses regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission are usually required to hold more than £1 million of cover; which is similar to the UK regulators. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has its own stipulations.

The other circumstances to check in deciding which professional indemnity insurance indemnity level to choose, is to consider:

Contractual Requirements 

If you are supplying professional services to a client, it maybe a stipulation of the may ask you to have professional indemnity.

Then check whether clients / other stakeholders require you to hold a specific amount of professional indemnity insurance. It is common for businesses to require their suppliers to hold certain types and amounts of insurance so that if a mistake arises all parties are protected by an independent insurer, usually with deeper pockets than the company supplying the services!

Professional Body Requirements 

As described above above, if you or your company are a member of a professional body, they may also require you to hold a certain amount of professional indemnity insurance as a condition of ongoing membership.

True cost of Professional Indemnity insurance claims in Guernsey 

Where a claim is successful, most professional indemnity insurance policies will provide cover for the compensation to a claimant to cover the monies outlaid for your work, as well as the costs of rectifying mistakes you / your company have made during the course of that work. This includes likely legal costs incurred as a result of investigation and defending your case. 

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    One of the benefits of having been in the island for so long is that we can feedback the unique needs of islanders back to insurer partners. This counts when it comes to claims arrangements and for instance fighting for local choice on repair networks. It also means working with insurers to create flexible products such as our unique family fleet policy, which makes arranging insurance for your whole family that much less stressful – one premium, one renewal date, one policy.

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