Professional Indemnity Insurance
Thread poster: Annegret Robinson
Annegret Robinson
Local time: 00:11
English to German
+ ...
Aug 18, 2001

Is this a good thing to have and which companies provide it? I have just been offered a contract by an agency and they want to know if I have this insurance.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
French to English
Aug 23, 2001

Be very careful about the type of work you take on without it! And with it for that matter...

My past employment has included working in professional ethics and discipline, working for a professional accountancy body handling complaints from their clients. Unsatisfied clients who were not seeking damages (compensation) came to us. Conclusion? Anyone can get things wrong and lose their reputation and clients along with it.

Later on, I worked as Litigation Assistant for a firm solicitors specialising in professional indemnity work. Accountants, architects, surveyors. The provision of services can turn out to be a risky business. Your client is relying upon the professional you are to do the work to a professional standard, whatever that is. If your failure to meet that standard causes him to lose face, business or money, then he could look to you to recover some or all of that loss. If you have no insurance to cover that, then technically speaking, in many countries, he could look to your personal estate to recover his loss. Protect that by getting insurance.

As with any insurance policy, get good advice. Shop around. Inform yourself on what is available and at what cost. The web is a good starting point. When you start to get a feel for what it involves, go and see a couple of brokers. Translators professional bodies sometimes propose specific PI insurance at little cost. Good cover need not be that expensive.

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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
English to Dutch
+ ...
Aug 26, 2001


Here\'s an excerpt from

on this interesting subject:

Professional Indemnity Insurance Explained

Professional Indemnity Insurance provides essential financial protection for a wide range of professional advisers. In the event that a client suffers financial loss as a result of alleged neglect, error or omission Professional Indemnity Insurance will meet the cost of defending claims and any damages payable.

Any person who gives advice, designs, or offers similar services in a professional capacity is seen by clients as an expert. In these times of high consumer awareness, clients will not hesitate to pursue a claim if they feel that they have received sub-standard service. The need for Professional Indemnity Insurance has never been greater.

While some professional people see Professional Indemnity Insurance as an expensive and unnecessary overhead, we know from experience that any professional can produce substantial claims. Court awards have risen sharply in receipt years. Without insurance, the financial security of a business is threatened. The following examples highlight the importance of Professional Indemnity Insurance:

A business wished to be known by a particular trade name. After consulting with company registration agents, it was told that there was no objection to its chosen name. Proceedings were issued by a company with a similar name and £20,000 was paid in connection by the agents.

Detailers prepared structural drawings for the erection of steelwork. It was subsequently alleged that the drawings contained errors and £110,000 was claimed for the costs of alteration and the resulting delays in construction..

An auctioneer sold property at auction over a number of years. It was alleged that the property was stolen and a claim for £250,000 was brought for conversion..

It was alleged that consulting engineers were negligent in their design of waste heating boilers. A claim for £4m was brought for the cost of extra work and the resulting delays..

An estate agent missed the opportunity to carry out a rent review because of a defective rent review notice. The claim was settled for £50,000. .



Only the professional can assess the amount of cover appropriate to the business. In determining how much cover to effect, it is important that a realistic view is taken of the potential damages and legal costs for which the business could become liable. Being under-insured can be almost as financially disastrous as being without insurance at all - as the examples below reveal.

We recommend that no insurance policy is taken out with a limit of less than £250,000. We will, however, provide a quotation for lower levels of indemnity if asked to do so. We are also able to provide cover up to a limit of £10,000,000 in most cases. Any professionals in doubt about the amount of cover they should take out should consult their legal advisers.

The following examples highlight the dangers of being under-insured.

Case 1 - It was alleged that surveyors were negligent in their valuation of a property on behalf of a lender.

Loss: £1.5m

Insurance: £1m

Case 2 - A consulting engineer designed a roof which proved to be defective..

Loss: £350,000

Insurance: £100,000

Case 3 - A design consultant provided designs for tools to be used in manufacturing process. It was alleged that the designers were inaccurate..

Loss: £150,000

Insurance: £100,000

Or just consider entering your query at or or for literally thousands of hits, including companies offering this insurance.

Have a nice day,

Evert Deloof-Sys

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Annegret Robinson
Local time: 00:11
English to German
+ ...
Aug 26, 2001

Hi Evert,

thank you very much for your reply, it was very helpful, I will definetely get this insurance!


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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
German to English
+ ...
Sep 6, 2001

It was interesting to read the responses to Annegret\'s original question. However, while I recognise the reasons for getting this type of insurance, is it really necessary to do so in a far less litigious society than the US, e.g. in Germany? I work in Germany and although the thought of getting insurance cover crossed my mind, the likelihood of a mistake so significant that it could cause a situation as described by the others to arise is kind of small (and then, of course, it would have to be traced back to me first and proven that the mistake lay in translation. As we all know, in most cases this would definitely be open to discussion).

Another thing is that although I do translate legal documents, AGBs, business terms and conditions, employment contracts etc., they are only ever valid under German law and in the original version. I always point out to my clients that a clause stating that the German (original) shall be decisive in case any disputes arise, is very useful for them to cover their back. I have checked this with various legal experts and they agree that the original always takes precedence.

OK - I have put on my flame-retardant suit and await your attacks on my naivety. But seriously, I\'d really like to know how necessary indemnity insurance is in Europe. Can anyone offer any statistics?

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
German to English
+ ...
Sep 7, 2001

Hi again Karin,

That\'s an interesting point. I would like to know how many translators have been taken to court for errors or ommissions and what the outcomes were. I recall that a few years ago on another discussion list for translators this topic came up and no one was actually able to come up with a real example of such a case. That doesn\'t mean that there haven\'t been any, or won\'t be any in the future, though, but I guess that is the essence of the risk/gamble with insurance.

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