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?
Professional Indemnity Insurance is designed to protect your business against any claims arising from negligence advice or services. It covers for people working for a business that involves risk.
Professional Indemnity Insurance policies are purchased by business owners to protect their companies from financial liability in case of claims of negligence. The individual under this is at the same time provided with assistance by Professional Indemnity Insurance when fighting lawsuits. Professionals like accountants, engineers and architects can choose several types of this insurance plan and make their business well protected.
However a professional can be granted or denied by an insurer upon applying for a Professional Indemnity Insurance for several reasons. These factors may include business locations, claims history, industry and coverage amount. The degree of risk reflected by the premium amount is determined by these factors. The insurance company will raise the premiums if a professional is granted a policy but poses a higher risk than standard applicants.
What Is Professional Indemnity 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.