The Blind Spots: What Professional Indemnity Insurance Won’t Protect You From


Professional indemnity insurance is a safety net for professionals, guarding them against financial losses akibat lawsuits due to negligence, errors, or omissions in their services. But even the most robust net has holes, and understanding where your PI insurance falls short is crucial for managing risk effectively. So, before relying solely on this insurance, let’s shed light on the areas where it won’t be your knight in shining armor.

  1. Deliberate Wrongdoing and Dishonesty

This one’s a no-brainer. If you intentionally mislead, defraud, or commit acts of criminal malice, your PI insurance won’t be the cavalry. Dishonesty is a deal-breaker for any insurance policy.

  1. Contractual Disputes

While PI insurance covers claims arising from professional negligence, it doesn’t automatically extend to breach of contract. If you fail to deliver according to the terms of a contract, and the client sues you, your PI policy might not step in unless it has specific add-ons for contractual liability.

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  1. Reputational Damage

Even if you win a lawsuit related to negligence, the mere fact of being embroiled in it can damage your professional reputation. Unfortunately, PI insurance doesn’t offer public relations assistance or cover for lost goodwill.

  1. Fines and Penalties

Did a regulatory body slap you with a fine for non-compliance? PI insurance likely won’t cover it. These penalties are considered punitive, meant to deter such actions, and fall outside the scope of professional negligence.

  1. Pre-existing Conditions

If a claim arises from a problem that existed before your policy took effect, even if it manifested during the policy period, you’re usually out of luck. PI insurance protects you for present and future events, not past transgressions.

  1. Personal Injury and Property Damage

PI insurance deals with financial losses akibat professional negligence, not physical harm or property damage. If your services directly result in someone getting hurt or property being destroyed, you’ll need separate liability insurance coverage.

  1. War and Terrorism

Acts of war, terrorism, and civil unrest are often excluded from PI policies. These events are considered unpredictable and beyond the scope of professional negligence.

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  1. Pollution and Environmental Damage

If your profession involves handling hazardous materials or poses a potential environmental risk, you might need specialized environmental liability insurance in addition to PI insurance.

  1. Intellectual Property Infringement

If you infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights, like copyrights or trademarks, your PI insurance likely won’t cover the legal costs or damages. Separate intellectual property insurance is recommended for such risks.

  1. Claims-Made vs. Occurrence-Based Policies

This distinction is crucial. Claims-made policies only cover claims filed during the policy period, even if the incident occurred earlier. Occurrence-based policies cover incidents that happen during the policy period, regardless of when the claim is filed. Be aware of which type of policy you have, especially when renewing or switching insurers.

Remember, PI insurance is a valuable tool, but it’s not a magic shield. By understanding its limitations, you can make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and build a more comprehensive safety net for your professional practice.

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Additional Tips:

  • Always read your PI policy carefully and understand the specific exclusions listed.
  • Consult your insurance broker to identify any gaps in your coverage and explore relevant add-ons. We are here to help so please do call us on 01273 827090.
  • Regularly review your insurance needs as your practice evolves and potential risks change.

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