Professional Indemnity Insurance in South Africa – Are They the Answers to Your Liability Cover?
One of the areas of greatest confusion is the difference between Professional Indemnity, General Liability and Product Liability Insurance. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides coverage for professionals (corporate or individual) for any negligent act, error or omission alleged to have occurred while in the performance of their professional activities and duties. It differs from General Liability and Product Liability Coverage in that the acts covered are those acts performed by an engineer, architect, doctor or attorney in rendering professional services to their clients. To better understand this coverage we will have a brief discussion below of Product Liability, Professional Indemnity and the application of the latter and how it functions.
A. Product Liability
Product Liability is the legal responsibility of a manufacturer to a consumer of its’ product. Liability arises out of the negligent manufacture of a product including defective or faulty workmanship, materials or components. It is a liability that arises from the failure of a manufacturer to properly manufacture, test or warn about its product and occurs when the product departs in a negligent manner from its intended function.
Do You Need Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Business insurance is to protect the business against any risks associated with their business practices. This may include risks of personal injury to customers or employees, fire, flood, theft, natural disasters, malfunctioning computers, construction accidents, financial losses and other damages if the business was not acting negligently. There are many different types of business insurance and each business can customize their coverage. The cost will depend on what kind and how much coverage is required. Consultancies in the UK, that offer advice to clients, especially need Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover the risk that the advice may cause a client financial or other type of loss.
Professional Indemnity Insurance will cover any claim made against your company. Without this insurance, the claim could be large enough to ruin your company. Management consultants, IT consultants and design consultants are examples of consultancies that would need protection.
There are other types of insurance a business in the UK should have. Construction companies may want tool insurance and heavy equipment insurance. Also, Public Liability Insurance may be a legal requirement to protect your business or employees against any claims made if a person is injured or property damaged in the course of your normal business practices.
Insurance companies will help any business choose the best combination of coverage for the type of operations involved.
Professional Liability Insurance
When professionals are hired, they are done so with the belief that they have the necessary expertise and knowledge to carry out the task to the best of their abilities. Added to that, there is a certain code of conduct they are expected to abide by while doing their jobs. When professionals fail to meet the standards desired of them and their skill levels fall much below expectations, they are liable to be taken to court for the loss they inflict upon the business of another person. Thus, they need professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance is termed "errors and omissions" liability, when liability is confined to acts of negligence.
There are different types of personal liability insurance coverage. Personal injury covers the client against claims of slander, libel and invasion of privacy. Intellectual property infringement coverage covers the client against claims of copyright infringement. Software processes and systems are commonly termed "intellectual properties." Also, worldwide coverage is provided if the suit is bought in America.
Professional Indemnity Insurance - Does it Help?
Where are we now - and the future?
The Professional Indemnity (PI) market is currently in its soft phase, with insurers still placing emphasis on volume at the expense of profit.
And what of the future? It is certain that at some stage the market will enter harder conditions. There is uncertainty as to when the market might harden and by how much. Invariably the deeper and more prolonged the soft market the more pronounced the adjustment will be when it comes.
Events in insurance, as in life, are powerful and unpredictable. What future events might conspire, individually or collectively, to prompt a return to harder market conditions? The following is a list, by no means exhaustive, of the likely culprits:-
Griffiths & Armour Professional Risks acts as manager for the professional indemnity division of Griffiths & Armour.
Griffiths & Armour Professional Risks Ltd is an appointed representative of Griffiths & Armour which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
All rights reserved. This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of fact or the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that might be of interest to Griffiths & Armour clients; specialist legal advice may be required where appropriate. Where links to third party websites are provided, we accept no responsibility for their content.