Updated: Jan 27
Professional indemnity (PI) insurance is a commercial policy designed to protect business owners, freelancers and the self-employed if clients claim a service is inadequate.
Any organisation which provides a professional service or gives advice could be sued if the recipient is unhappy with their work. A customer might say you were negligent, delivered the wrong training or made a mistake which cost them money.
Professional indemnity cover, also known as professional liability insurance, is designed to safeguard service-based enterprises, come what may. As a professional, you take pride in doing great work, but if disagreements occur, this cover handles the cost of putting things right – including legal fees.
What does PI insurance cover?
Professional indemnity insurance is often explained in terms of what might go wrong – but what does it cover? Inpro Insurance Brokers can provide by Professional indemnity policies up to 3 million euros for legal fees or compensation costs. If your business makes a costly mistake – or a customer claims it has – then this financial assistance can help you to survive and thrive beyond the court case.
Professional indemnity cover also provides industry-specific policies for tailored protection. As your business grows, we’ll help you to cover indemnity risks along the way. Professional liability insurance helps in a wide range of scenarios such as professional negligence claims, data loss claims and allegations you’ve given poor business advice.
The primary reason for professional liability coverage is that a typical general liability insurance policy will respond only to a bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury claim. Other forms of insurance cover employers, public and product liability. But various professional services and products can give rise to legal claims without causing any of the specific types of harm covered by such policies. Common claims that professional liability insurance covers are negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice.
Inpro Insurance Brokers samples:
If a software product fails to perform properly, it may not cause physical, personal, or advertising damages, therefore the general liability policy would not be triggered; it may, however, directly cause financial losses which could potentially be attributed to the software developer's misrepresentation of the product capabilities.
SECTOR OF DESIGN
If a custom-designed product fails without causing damage to person or property other than to the subject product itself, a product liability policy may cover consequential damages such as losses from business interruption, but will generally not cover the cost to redesign, repair or replace the failed product itself. Claims for these losses against the manufacturer may be covered by a professional liability policy. Professional indemnity insurance only covers events which have occurred since you’ve held such a policy. This is called a retroactive date.
What is a retroactive date in a professional indemnity policy?
A retroactive date is the date from which you have held uninterrupted professional indemnity insurance cover (even if you changed insurer during this time) or a date in the past from which your insurer has agreed to cover you. Any claims that arise from events prior to this date is not covered by your insurance.
When should I take out professional indemnity insurance?
On the assumption that your business needs PI insurance, that you offer advice or professional services for example, then you should consider buying a policy from the first day you start trading to cover any room for error from day one.
When buying a policy, one question you will be asked is from when you want the policy to run. If you have an existing PI policy in place, you should tell the new insurer the date that existing policy started – this becomes the “retroactive date”. The new policy will then start (the “inception date”) and work done before the inception date with the new insurer, all the way back to the retroactive date, will be included.
Can you backdate insurance?
If you didn’t initially choose to take out PI insurance, but later down the line realise the benefits for your business, it’s not too late to cover previous work done. When taking out your PI policy, you can ask for the policy to be backdated. The underwriter will want to be satisfied that you are not buying the policy with an ulterior motive – for example that if, after a few questions, it seems as if a claim may be coming your way.
But if they are satisfied it was really an oversight and (with hindsight) a mistake, you may be offered terms to cover work previously done, with an agreed retroactive date prior to the start date of your new policy – however, you should expect to pay for this. The insurer is taking on additional risk, so this is likely to be reflected in the premium.
So, yes retroactive date is a technical term for the industry, but one it’s important for small business owners to understand. Do you know how far back your PI policy covers you for work done? If the answer’s no, you may want to check your policy with your insurer for peace of mind.