Professional insurance: Five practical tips
If you provide advice or offer a service, you will be seen as an expert by your clients. Lorraine Marchetti, from Bluefin Insurance Services, outlines her top five tips to make sure you have the cover you need, should the worst happen.
If something were to go wrong, in today’s increasingly litigious society your clients may take issue with the advice you have provided - whether you are at fault or not. Professional indemnity insurance can help protect your business, but it's important to make sure you find the right policy and provider.
1. Do you have the right cover levels?
When looking to buy professional indemnity insurance (PI) it is really important to make sure the cover is at the right level. By working with a broker who specialises in the field, you can discuss with them the breadth and amount of cover you require.
These will be determined by a number of factors, including any contractual obligations you may have, and the length of time you are required to be covered post-contract.
The value of your contracts, and of course cost of the policy, should be taken into account. Having taken the time to choose a reputable insurer and broker, make sure you take the time to read and understand your policy wording, endorsements and exclusions.
2. Consider your own risk management
Alongside taking out the correct level of PI, take a look at your risk management - are you doing everything to protect yourself?
Obviously ensuring you have a good knowledge of your products is a great place to start – but undertaking due diligence on advice and services is also important. Even if you are not at fault and can successfully defend your claim, you could be left with significant legal costs, which could be crippling to you and your business.
3. Above board marketing
Check that your marketing literature is clear, accurate and not misleading. When dealing with clients undertake a level of fact-finding to ensure you are providing them with the right advice.
4. Document everything
If you find yourself in a situation where you do have a claim made against you, it is vital you are able to provide evidence to support the advice you have given.
Detailing your procedures and keeping copies of documents and notes on file is not only good practice, but could protect you from a successful claim being made against you in the future.
5. Defending a claim if the worst happens
Whilst there is no way to predict if someone may claim against you, by ensuring you have PI in place, you can provide yourself with a certain level of protection.
PI provides cover for the legal costs and expenses in defending a claim, as well as compensation payable to your client if you are found to be responsible for providing inadequate advice, services or designs that cause your client to lose money.
In the event that a mistake does happen PI can help you to manage the situation quickly and efficiently. The fallout from a claim being made against you has the ability to be damaging to your business.
In most cases the sooner you are able to respond to a claim the better the outcome - both financially and for your reputation.
Bluefin Professions is the specialist professional indemnity division of Bluefin, one of the UK’s largest, but more importantly market leading insurance brokers.
About the author
Lorraine heads up the Edinburgh branch of Bluefin’s specialists professional indemnity insurance (PII) division, Bluefin Professions. She has more than 20 years experience and is an expert in the placement of accountants’ PII.
About the company
Bluefin Professions is a specialist team at Bluefin Insurance Services offering insurance solutions and risk management advice to businesses of all sizes offering professional services throughout the UK.
ICAS have worked with Bluefin Professions for over three years to provide members with professional indemnity insurance. More than 12,500 professional firms and 5,500 accountancy practices ranging from sole practitioners through to 'Top 10' organisations place their trust in Bluefin Professions to manage their insurance programme.