How to avoid a professional indemnity insurance claim

pen writing the word litigation in red ink

Today professional indemnity (PI) insurance is seen as an indispensable tool for securing new contracts and conducting business.

Although professional indemnity cover is a useful safety net, there are many ways to ensure you should never have to claim against your policy. Here are a few valuable lessons to ensure your business is secured, and your premiums remain low.

Constant communication and feedback

Communication costs nothing in the modern world, so make the most of it. There is no reason why either party should be left in the dark over progress or quality control. Stay in close contact with your client throughout the contracted period, and seek feedback on completion of each step of your work. To develop this point further, if you are able to have your client sign off on work you have completed, then you will have greater recourse to dispute a claim further down the line. Retain copies of each communication for your policy providers to refer back to later, should a problem arise.

Use discretion

As a contracted service provider, you may have access to information about a client's business that they would wish to remain private. As such, every client will expect you to adhere to some level of confidentiality and, typically, complying to these needs is very straightforward. Do not make a mistake that leaves you exposed to a professional indemnity insurance claim, however. Avoid discussing clients in public spaces, and try to break the habit of using the “Carbon Copy” (CC) field when sending out emails, as you will expose the contact details of every person you have contacted. Use the blind option (BCC) instead.

Manage client expectations – and know your limits

PI insurance will cover any unintentional breach of contract. However, a service provider must be certain of their ability to deliver specified work before entering into any professional agreement. Although it is healthy to retain confidence in one's own abilities, taking on a workload that is beyond your capacity – or levels of experience – may result in a claim. A failure to demonstrate competence during this claim may mean you are not covered by your policy when you need it the most.

Respect the contract

Respecting the contract means more than fulfilling your side of an agreement: it means taking the time to understand what you are agreeing to provide, too. Your contract is crucial for ensuring a positive outcome for all parties, and if you do not know what is contained within each clause, you cannot be certain of the assurances that you have - nor those which you have given. Even the most complex contract should be carefully read from beginning to end. Depending on the value of the contract, you may wish to have it checked by a specialist, and you should certainly retain the paperwork for future reference.

Finally, the best way to protect yourself is to always maintain your PI cover, so that it is there when you need it. Avoiding claims should not require additional work on your behalf, but having insurance affords you some peace of mind.

For more advice on professional indemnity insurance talk to us today by calling 0345 251 4000, or email us at info@professionalindemnity.co.uk.

 

This guidance note is intended for information purposes only. Whilst all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the guidance note it is not to be regarded as a substitute for specific advice. This guidance note shall not be reproduced in any form without our prior permission. © Professional Indemnity Insurance Brokers Ltd