Professional Indemnity Insurance: Be Protected

No-one wants to make errors in their advisory work but even the most qualified of professionals can make mistakes. Professional Indemnity insurance is there to help protect against any likely claims.

If you are alleged to have provided inadequate advice, services or designs to a client, professionals can find themselves faced with some hefty expenses.

Professional negligence, loss of documents or data, unintentional breaches of copyright/confidentiality, loss of goods/money can all lead to expensive claims. As can defamation and libel cases, which are becoming increasingly common.

Whilst most businesses enjoy good relationships with their clients, one small mistake can change this overnight, especially if the clients suffer a significant loss as a result of the mistake.

The business world is constantly changing and it is not just those with technical expertise that can face claims. Corporate scandals, increased shareholder awareness and extended rules on corporate governance have made being a company director an increasingly difficult task.

Stakeholders have far greater forms of remedy against individual directors and there is an increased willingness to pursue claims against them.

Once a claim is alleged against a director or professional for any wrong doing they have two sources of protection – they can either turn to their company to seek indemnification, or they can seek assistance from their company’s professional indemnity (PI) policy.

Many professional and industry bodies and regulators require professional indemnity insurance for practising members. These include accountants, engineers, surveyors and doctors.

Most professionals working on a contract basis will almost certainly need PI cover, as many clients request this to be in place before a contract is awarded.

Whether or not the individual is ultimately held responsible, the defence costs associated can be extremely expensive and the process can take months or even years.

For directors, a form of professional indemnity policy called Directors and Officers provides personal asset protection should the employer’s indemnification fail for any reason.

For the company, a policy provides balance sheet protection where the company has indemnified its directors.

It is not only the directors of large companies that need to be protected. If an SME does not have D&O insurance, directors face a greater risk of not being able to defend themselves.

SMEs face exactly the same risks and regulations as their larger peers and often do not benefit from in-house HR or legal teams when faced with a claim.

Claims from employees and regulators are particularly prevalent and may involve anything from unfair dismissal, discrimination to health & safety misdemeanours.

Without the correct insurance, the directors’ personal assets are at risk. To find out more about how you can protect yourself and your business please get in touch.