Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Thread poster: Jon Reynolds

Jon Reynolds  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:50
Member (2007)
German to English
Feb 19, 2008

Hello,

I am freelancer based in the UK. Just wondering if anyone has any hints or tips regarding professional indemnity insurance, or any companies that they would recommend.

As I'm only starting out at professional translation I am not sure how much I will be translating in a year so it is hard to estimate the level of cover I would need.

Have searched through the forums but not been able to find much on insurance.

Any help much appreciated!

Thanks,

Jon.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 13:50
Spanish
+ ...
You probably won't need it Feb 19, 2008

Hello Jon,

At least here in the States, Professional Insurance is not that expensive. The last time I checked, it was less than $15 dollars per month for Business Liability for up to $1mill, I think that's the minimum. But chances are you probably won't ever need it.

Some clients include a Professional Insurance clause in their Agreements, but it's usually there for Language Vendors not Freelancers. I've only seen these clauses 2 or 3 times, and in all cases, I was able to waive the clause without any problem.

Of course, you would need to ask your client, and it also depends on the kind of translations you do; but as a freelancer, you probably don't need this kind of insurance.

I hope that helped,

Claudia


Direct link Reply with quote
 
The Misha
Local time: 14:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Claudia is right Feb 19, 2008

Claudia is right, you probably don't need - just watch what kind of legalese you sign. In any event, you seem to be putting the horse in front of the carriage here. Start you business first, develop your client base, see how it goes - and only then worry about insurance, if you think it may make sense. Good luck.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jon Reynolds  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:50
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Feb 19, 2008

Thanks both for your help. I am starting to get a steady stream of work and have a major contract on the go at the moment which is why I started thinking of the "when things go wrong" scenario. Good to hear that insurance is probably not really required.

Jon


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:50
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Think about it Feb 19, 2008

Unfortunately, Claudia Alvis' sensible advice shows exactly why you perhaps should have insurance.

It is true that you probably won't need it ever. But 'probably' is the key word. The whole point about insurance is to protect yourself against highly improbable events that you cannot afford to pay for -- events such as your house burning down, crashing into another car and injuring the occupants, or your life-threatening mistranslation in a user guide. There is a current case where a car manufacturer had to pay out damages years after the mistranslated user guide that directly led to the accident.

Another sobering thought is that following recent legislation in the UK, you need to continue insurance for 15 years after you stop translating or retire. After 15 years, you cannot be sued. Until then, you can.

Having said that, you need to do a risk assessment based on the sort of work you do. For example, I avoid all legal or medical work, and stick to a mix of relatively safe work much like yours. Then Claudia's advice might be worth taking.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:50
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Country-specific? Feb 19, 2008

When I checked with a US company a while ago, I was told that the insurance was country-specific and would only cover clients in the US. For my non-US clients I would need a separate insurance for each country... Impossible!

Since I looked into it mainly because a German agency was requiring it, I never did any further research into whether that's commonly true or not. But the company was the one that offers discount to ATA members, so you'd think they're using pretty much standard practices and knew what they were talking about.

Has anybody any more definite info in this regard?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Has it Ever Been Needed? Feb 19, 2008

This is a subject that comes up periodically, and the general opinion is that Liability Insurance in our profession is not a big priority, but some reccomend it "just in case". While it is good to be safe and not sorry, I always ask this same question whenever this subject appears:

Does anyone know of a case where a translator has ever been sued over a translation? (sucessfully or unsucessfully)

So far no one has ever come forth with a single case.

Still, I would ask it again.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:50
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Other insurance Feb 19, 2008

The subject of professional liability insurance has been discussed often. But regardless of whether you decide to get it, you should have insurance for ordinary things, such as to cover you if a visitor to your business trips over a toy your child left in the yard. (In the US, some companies will explicitly exclude this sort of thing from your ordinary homeowner's policy if you run a business out of your home.)

I'd recommend a chat with an insurance agent.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:50
Member
French to English
+ ...
A minefield! Feb 19, 2008

Like Jon, i've always felt that I probably ought to have professional liability insurance.

However, when I've looked into it over here in France, the various insurance brokers I've spoken to weren't really able to advise me.

Amongst other things, I was told that a standard professional liability policy would not cover me for indirect or consequential losses. So, for example, if due to a mistranslation of mine, a large and very expensive print job had to be re-run — the cost of that would not be covered!

Fat lot of good that is then!

I did hear tell that the SFT had an insurance link, but apparently it only led to a general insurance broker, so I didn't bother to investigate further...

And if insurance is also going to be territory-specific, then with my clients all round the globe, it's going to be a non-starter anyway!

All I can say is: let them sue me, they won't be able to get blood out of a stone — and I haven't got a bean for them to take from me!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:50
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Is that what my accountant was maybe talking about? Feb 19, 2008

Paul Merriam wrote:

But regardless of whether you decide to get it, you should have insurance for ordinary things, such as to cover you if a visitor to your business trips over a toy your child left in the yard.


I got a letter from my accountant recently on another topic (my business figures) and then he stuck a sentence on the end of the letter advising me to "urgently take out third party liability insurance". However, he didn't give any reason for his recommendation, and I am not terribly fond of receiving other people's good ideas about how I should spend my money.

Astrid


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:50
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
interesting article Feb 20, 2008

I've always wondered whether a translator could ever be held financially responsible for any damages caused by a less than perfect translation as long as the translator was not negligent in any way. I.e. if there was one typo severe enough to have a brochure re-printed, they would have to prove that this typo was caused by the translator's negligence - apart from the fact that anything going to print should have been proofread by a separate entity anyways, relieving the translator from that burden.

Generally, I don't think it would be any easy claim to make against an otherwise conscientious translator.

Cf. this article:


Insurance is purchased to protect against losses, and a major source of loss, especially in this litigious society, is legal liability. Legal liability is the liability of a party imposed by a court for its actions or, in some case, inactions, and for which the courts will award pecuniary damages as a form of redress. A legal wrong is either a violation of a person’s rights or the failure to perform a legal duty for a party.

Legal liability arises from 3 general classes of legal wrongs: crime, tort, and breach of contract. Crime is a wrong in which a person intentionally inflicts injury, or takes something from another, such as murder, robbery, rape, theft, and so on. Torts are legal or civil wrongs committed against people or organizations, causing them a loss. Intentional torts are willful acts or the willful failure to act when required to do so that causes injury to someone else. Crime is a specific type of intentional tort that causes physical harm or loss, such as murder, rape, or theft. Other types of intentional torts include slander and libel, patent infringement, and false imprisonment. Torts result either because the tortfeasor, who is the one who commits the tort, is either negligent in his duties which arises out of law and not contract, causing someone else a loss, or causes a loss through his actions. For example, causing an auto accident, or failure to make a safe product are torts. Breach of contract is the lack of performance by a party to another to satisfy a contract that the parties agreed to.

I guess we can exclude crime and breach of contract here - unless the translator has actually signed a contract where he/she promises a 100% perfect translation... That leaves tort as the only possible argument.

Negligence

Negligence is the failure to exercise the required amount of care to prevent injury to others. For example, if you cause an accident that injures someone or damages their vehicle because you were driving at an unsafe speed, then you could be sued for negligence.

In some cases, the law imposes absolute liability (aka strict liability) on specific parties without regard to fault, and, therefore, obviates the need to prove fault in court. For instance, manufacturers are held strictly liable for defective products that they manufacture.

Sometimes, the law designates other parties as being responsible, whether they are or not. Imputed negligence results in vicarious liability, where the principal is responsible for the acts of his agents. For example, employers have vicarious liability for the actions of their employees. If an employee injures someone in the course of employment, then it doesn’t matter whether the employer could have done anything to prevent it—the employer will be held liable regardless. Other instances of imputed negligence is through the effect of the family purpose doctrine that holds parents responsible for the negligent acts of their children, or the dram shop law, which holds the seller of alcoholic beverages liable for drunken patrons. If a patron drives after drinking at a tavern, and subsequently kills or injures someone with his vehicle, then the tavern owner can be held liable.

Sometimes, the act itself determines negligence. Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, (Latin term for “the thing speaks for itself”), there are some actions so obviously negligent that the law presumes negligence, such as when a surgeon operates on the wrong side of the body, and the defendant, in such cases, must prove that he wasn’t negligent.

Insurance can be purchased to protect against lawsuits that arise from strict liability and from negligence. However, all insurance contracts exclude intentional torts by the insured, since the insured can easily prevent such torts, and because, in general, intentional torts by the insured are not insurable risks.
Requirements for Negligence

Most cases of negligence cannot be determined absolutely, for it depends on many factors. The main measure used to determine whether an act was negligent is to consider what a reasonably prudent person would do, given the age and knowledge of the tortfeasor, and other relevant factors.

Before a court will award damages, the presumed negligence must satisfy 4 requirements:

1. there must be a legal duty to perform or to use reasonable care;
2. there must have been a failure to perform that duty; [i.e. if the translation was proofread and spellchecked by the translator and yet some error remained unnoticed, the translator cannot be deemed negligent.]
3. the plaintiff must have suffered an injury or a loss;
4. and the negligent act must have been the proximate cause of the injury. The proximate cause is a cause that directly caused the loss or suffering; if the proximate cause didn’t happen, then the harm would not have happened.


All 4 elements of negligence must be present before a court will award damages.
Defenses Against Negligence

There are various factors that can either prevent a plaintiff from collecting damages or that will reduce the amount awarded.

Contributory negligence is negligence that is caused by both plaintiff and defendant. If the plaintiff contributed to his injury, then, in some states, the plaintiff will be prevented from collecting any damages.

Comparative negligence allows the plaintiff to collect some damages, but it will be reduced by the amount by which the plaintiff contributed to his own injury. There are 3 major rules, which differ according to state law and according to the amount of contributory negligence, that determine the amount that the plaintiff can collect.
[...]

The last clear chance rule modifies comparative negligence by allowing the plaintiff to collect damages from the defendant, even if the plaintiff contributed to his injury, if the defendant had a last clear chance to prevent the injury. In other words, could the defendant have prevented the injury regardless of the plaintiff's negligence? If the answer is yes, then the plaintiff will still be able to collect regardless of comparative negligence.

Finally, there is the assumption of risk—one assumes risk by engaging in an activity that is inherently risky, and, therefore, should not be allowed to collect damages if an injury results by engaging in the activity. Thus, if one plays racquetball without wearing goggles, and her opponent hits the ball and injures her eye, she will be prevented from collecting damages from her opponent, because by playing racquetball without wearing goggles, she assumed the risk that she will suffer an eye injury or even lose an eye while playing.
[couldn't one count translation as a "risky" activity? Unless there is an independent, highly qualified proofreader (and even then), there is a good chance that a typo, a somewhat ambiguous translation etc. remains unnoticed. I.e. unless the translator him/herself is responsible for the final proofing, he/she's off the hook, right?]

[...]

http://thismatter.com/money/insurance/legal-liability.htm


Any comments to my completely unqualified legal reasoning?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:50
French to English
+ ...
SFT liability insurance Feb 20, 2008

Tony M wrote:

I did hear tell that the SFT had an insurance link, but apparently it only led to a general insurance broker, so I didn't bother to investigate further...



Hi Tony,

As is the case for other professional organizations, the SFT does not make detailed information on its group insurance packages (health + liability) available to the general public on its website. Members, however, who log on to the member section of the site have access to the contracts, details and subscription information.

Should you wish further information on these insurance options, please feel free to contact me privately.

Cheers,

Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Certainly not tort Feb 20, 2008

It certainly wouldn't come under tort. I've only studied law, never practised but this issue belongs to contract law maybe commercial too. Damages is a difficult and quite unpredictable area in English law. Your mistake would be considered in the light of the whole translation in terms of its importance and damages would be taken from there. If you knew that it was going to be printed then you may be held liable to some extent, but if you did not know then you may not. But this is all very difficult to say because in theory whether or not your work is going to be published shouldn't affect its quality. In England there would need to be a bit of case law to get a better insight. I'm sure there must be some tucked away somewhere but its never seen the light.

I would like to take out insurance here in Spain but I've yet to find an insurance broker who can help me. Translation agencies must by law carry insurance so I think I might attack the question from this angle on my next stint. I've contacted a couple of English insurance companies and they wouldn't insure on a Europe-wide scale. That's what they told me when they had stopped laughing, "just in case you make a booboo in one of your translations!".


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:50
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
100% perfect translation guarantee Feb 20, 2008

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

I guess we can exclude crime and breach of contract here - unless the translator has actually signed a contract where he/she promises a 100% perfect translation...



This discussion is extremely interesting. I don't have insurance, but have been thinking about it, especially since I passed a test to work for an agency here in the UK and they required a policy to cover £1 million, and a guarantee with every translation that it was 100% perfect. I haven't actually ever worked for them as I don't like the conditions, especially having to sign a guarantee. After all, I might think that my work is perfect when I hand it in, but that, unfortunately, doesn't mean it always is..., so I could, therefore, only ever sign a guarantee that states my work is 100% perfect to the best of my knowledge and belief.

What are others' views on this? Is asking for a guarantee like this standard practice? Would an insurance policy cover you if you have signed a guarantee stating that your work is perfect anyway?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 13:50
Spanish
+ ...
I wouldn't sign such document ... Feb 20, 2008

... however:

The first time I was given a document like that, I decided to search the boards for more information. I don't remember if I posted the question or if somebody else had, but another colleague mentioned that such kind of insurance is only required for language vendors (agencies) NOT translators. I talked to somebody from the agency that had issued the Service Agreement (however it was called), and confirmed this. She said that they use just one Agreement for both freelancers and vendors, and that translators could add a waiver for that particular clause. I ended up doing the same thing with two more clients of mine, one agency and one direct client, who said basically the same thing: not for freelancers, add a waiver.

I'm not urging anybody not to get Liability insurance, I'm just saying that there's a possibility that such a requirement doesn't apply to us translators. The best thing is to ask the client.

When I requested information about Business Liability, it turned out that I could get Professional Insurance as a part of a very good package. I don't remember the exact terms, but it included Loss of income and Medical expenses in case of personal and material damage; Equipment damage, Theft, etc.; Business Liability (customizable) for up to 1 million; and probably other things I can't remember now. The premium was around 20 dollars with a deductible, I don't remember how much. But I thought it was a good deal.

About the "100% perfect translation" requirement, that's just ridiculous. I would never sign such a thing.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Advanced search







Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search