Professional Indemnity Insurance, also known as Professional Liability Insurance or PI insurance, is a type of insurance that protects professionals against claims for financial damage resulting from the advice and services they provide to their clients. It also provides financial assistance to cover the costs of defending legal actions as well as any resulting damages.
Large corporations, in addition to individual professionals, must protect themselves against potential claims; hospitals, law firms, architectural firms, and other similar service providers must have this insurance. It is also appropriate for consulting firms to have because it can protect them from any errors in judgment that may harm their clients.
This is NOT a question of whether a company is competent or not. Just like any other insurance, PI insurance is a safety net just in case any untoward incident happens. These may arise from wrong assumptions, overestimation/underestimation, honest mistakes, etc.
In this article, we have included a case study to help you understand how PI insurance can help you in a variety of situations. Please keep in mind that the scenario below is based on actual publicly known cases, but the names have been changed out of respect for the individuals and/or corporations involved.
On April 30, 2020, a wall located in the parking area of a mall in Makati collapsed damaging 3 cars and causing, at least, 2 injuries. According to reports, the people affected were the drivers of the vehicles. One of them suffered minor injuries but the other one was hospitalized.
According to Company X, owner of the property, an investigation to derive the causes of the collapse is underway. "We are relieved to report that, apart from two people who sustained minor abrasions, there were no casualties resulting from this event. The cause of the incident is under investigation and we will take whatever measures necessary to address the situation and avoid any recurrence,” Company X, stated.
One resident mentioned hearing cracking noises in the building some days before the collapse. He also described the moment of the structural failure. "...when we arrived at the unit, we heard noises again and after that a sound of an explosion. But not like that of a bomb," he said.
Since investigation is underway, it is hard to determine whether the company and the contractors will have liability on the incident. However, in the event that there is indeed a design or construction flaw and a case is filed, Company X and its contractors might be liable to damages. In this situation, a PI insurance can assist with legal fees and partial to full payment to victims.
Such situations do not only occur in corporations but can also occur in individuals or professionals whose line of work can lead to disputes over quality, vision, or copyright – for example, if you are a graphic designer, doctor, or architect.
In any business, mistakes are unavoidable, so we must have a plan of action in place when they occur. In such cases, PI Insurance can be extremely beneficial, especially for those who provide advice or services to clients, as purchasing the right one will not only protect your company and ensure your peace of mind but will also assist you in covering legal fees and compensating your clients if the need arises.