Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI) is there to protect people in professions who may be accused of negligence, and who face civil action. The policy can help with legal costs in defending the action, and can cover any damages that are awarded in the event of judgement going against them.
Claims can be made against a professional person for years after a service has been provided, even if it was provided without charge, and most policies only pay out on claims received whilst the policy was in force. This is why it is best to continue being covered even after cessation of business or retirement by what is known as 'run-off' cover.
Direct Line For Business was set up in 2007 to provide insurance for small businesses and landlords. Customers can buy their policies online, or over the telephone. They welcome enquiries for professional indemnity cover from members of many professions, including estate agents, graphic designers, accountants and IT consultants. They will not, however, offer it to engineers, solicitors, mortgage brokers, personal trainers, or financial advisors. They can probably, however, offer other forms of business insurance to members of these professions.
Multination insurance company Aviva, claimed to be the biggest general insurer in Britain with about 33 million customers worldwide, can provide professional indemnity cover, but only as part of a package that includes public liability insurance or buildings and contents cover. The customer must employ between one and nine people, and have gross annual fees of no more than £250,000. It is not available to professions that are required to have mandatory cover such as solicitors, accountants and some healthcare professionals. They will not cover pre-notified claims, those arising from bankrupcy or insolvency, or those caused by a computer virus.
Founded in 1901, Bermudan based Hiscox is a specialist business insurer with a 2020 revenue of about £3 billion. They will consider professional liability insurance for a wide range of trades and professions including, for example, 'hands on' businesses that some other insurers shy away from: such as a special professional treatment liability insurance for those involved in holistic therapies or beauty treatments. Even this however specifically excludes botox fillers, medical procedures, hair removal, physiotherapy, to name just a few. Practitioners of those treatments that can be covered must be qualified to practice. All this underlines the need to check carefully just what will be covered, and what will not, in any insurance policy.
AXA provide several levels of professional indemnity insurance in which compensation bills are settled, compensation provided to directors or employees who have to attend court,and defence costs paid, up to a financial limit determined by the cover level. They provide specialist policies for a number of professions, including accountants. In standard policies claims for breach of confidentiality or copyright infringement are not included but are an optional extra. Other optional extras cover defamation, loss of important documents, bodily injury to a non-employee because of faulty specifications, design or advice and employee fraud or other dishonesty. Businesses that have less than 8 employees and are based in the UK may get quotes online, otherwise it will be necessary to contact them. Run on insurance or cover for work previous to a policy's start date can also be included.
Gallagher claims to be one of the largest insurance brokers and risk management companies in the world. They were formed in 1927, provide services in over 150 countries and have around 34, 000 employees. They have access to Lloyds of London underwriters which means that they can handle a wide variety of risks and offer policies ranging from almost 'off the shelf' ones prepared for specific industries as well as having inhouse underwriting abilities for specific cases. In other words people who haven't beem able to obtain cover elsewhere may be successful with AJG. They claim that they can handle clients ranging in size from sole traders right up to major international corporations.
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