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.
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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 Indemnity Insurance - Does it Help?
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.
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Professional Indemnity Insurance is an example of very good, quality contractor insurance, and its effects can be felt instantly from its cover. The policy itself protects a contractor should they make a mistake that leads to financial loss to another party. The reason that this would be costly to a contractor is because in these cases the party will no doubt file a negligence claim against the contractor that could then be very expensive. This is where such a policy would be effective as its vital protection would cover a contractor for all costs and fees in this case. In addition, having the insurance will bolster the perception that a contractor is in business on their own account, therefore aiding their IR35 position. Plus it will give clients the reassurance that there are sufficient resources to handle any recourse in the unlikely event of an alleged breach of duty, adding value to any tender.
When looking at all contractor insurances, it becomes clear that Professional Indemnity Insurance really is an essential policy and cannot be overlooked by contractors and freelancers alike. With its many benefits, not only concerning a professional's protection, but also their IR35 related tax status, it is a vital policy and compared to its many advantages, can be purchased easily and cheaply.