November 26, 2021

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance is a Liability Insurance policy that protects businesses, institutions, and individuals from losses caused by lawsuits claiming negligence in their professional duties.

Professionals such as doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, architects, and others offer major contributions to society through their work. However, these professionals are, after all, human beings. And just like all of us, they are prone to human errors and lapses in judgment that may cause problems for their clients.

If these professional end up making a mistake, their clients may decide to take legal action against them. To combat the financial repercussions of such a risk, businesses and individuals purchase Professional Liability Insurance.

Also known as Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance, this policy seeks to protect the legal liability of professionals like doctors, lawyers, chefs, consultants, etc. This liability could arise out of claims of negligence, wrongdoing, misrepresentation, or harmful misconduct during the course of their professional duties. E&O insurance is also ideal for businesses like consultancy firms, financial institutions, IT companies or any other service-led business.

A Professional Liability/Indemnity Insurance policy primarily covers the insured business or professional’s legal liability to pay compensation in the event of :

  • Third party claims of negligence, wrongdoing, misconduct, error, or omission in professional services that resulted in death, bodily injury, or property damage

The legal costs incurred during the investigation and subsequent court appearances, including cost of representation, damages, etc. are also covered under this policy.

This cover can also be extended to cover joint ventures, subsidiaries and managed organisations.  

On payment of additional premium, some insurers also offer certain add-on covers. These can vary from insurer to insurer. Some of these are :

  • Employee Dishonesty cover
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement liability cover

Professional Liability/Indemnity Insurance comes with the following exclusions :

  • Any criminal act, dishonesty, fraud or any act committed in violation of a law or ordinance
  • Fines, penalties, punitive or exemplary damages
  • Deliberate, wilful and intentional non-compliance of statutory requirements and technical standards commonly observed in professional practice as laid down by law or regulated by official bodies
  • Services rendered while under the influence of narcotics or intoxicants
  • Personal injuries such as libel, slander, false arrest, wrongful conviction, defamation, etc.
  • Claims involving Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), unless covered as an add-on
  • Financial loss such as loss of goodwill, loss of market, etc.
  • Failure to provide support to the claimants
  • Aviation liability
  • Delay in delivery or failure to deliver
  • War and nuclear perils
  • Contractual liability
  • Prior and pending claims
  • Any third party public liability

Some insurers also provide Errors and Omissions Insurance for the insured’s products. Here, the business’s legal liability to pay damages in the event of the insured product not performing the intended function due to defect, deficiency, inadequacy or hazardousness can be covered.

Additionally, professionals can also opt for group Professional Indemnity Insurance policies that provide coverage to multiple members of a single profession. These are often taken by establishments like hospitals, accounting firms, and other service institutions. Group policies generally come at cheaper premiums depending on the number of members added to the group plan.

Professional Indemnity Insurance is a crucial security for millions of professionals in the country. Apart from indemnifying professionals against their legal liability, this policy also helps claimants duly receive the compensation owed to them.

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Opinions, conclusions and statements of intent expressed in this article are that of the author and Verak does not accept liability for the views expressed unless confirmed by an authorized representative of the Company independently of this communication.