What is Professional Liability Insurance?
Businesses and other organizations are typically required to carry insurance, and many types of commercial insurance exist. Discussed here is one type of commercial insurance, professional liability insurance.
Like any type of insurance, professional liability insurance involves premiums paid to secure insurance coverage. When there is an event related to the policy, the insurance company or its representative is supposed to investigate the claim. If the event results in losses that are covered under the policy, the insurance company is supposed to pay out.
Professional liability insurance, which is also sometimes called professional indemnity insurance, is specifically designed to cover losses associated with errors and omissions made by certain professionals or negligence of those professionals.
Additionally, insurance bad faith claims are possible in professional liability cases, which occur when the insurer ignores its obligations under its own policies and fails to pay out claims as it should.
One of the first steps in seeking compensation from any insurance company is knowing what type of coverage your policy provides.
Who Needs Professional Liability Insurance?
Typically, businesses only need this type of insurance if they offer specific types of guidance, advice, and services. Some types of businesses that need professional liability insurance include:
- IT and business consultants
- Life coaches or trainers
- Construction professionals
If the advice or services you provide could in any way seriously impact the business, lifestyle, or livelihood of your clients, you may need professional liability insurance. It is important to talk to an experienced professional liability insurance agent to understand what policy and insurers may be right for your company.
When Will Professional Liability Insurance Pay Out?
Professional liability cases can include a wide variety of scenarios. Some examples are:
- An accountant makes a mistake on a tax return, resulting in a loss for a business. An error on the part of a professional in his or her line of expertise that causes damages for the client can result in a claim.
- A construction company does not complete permit paperwork in a timely manner, resulting in long delays and more expenses for a project. This might be considered negligence because the construction company failed to act in the best interests of its client, which could result in a professional liability claim.
- A business consultant misrepresents their knowledge in a specific niche area, resulting in a client relying on poor advice. If this advice leads to losses, the client might have a claim for damage.
Note that professional liability insurance does not cover criminal acts, nor does it cover breach-of-contract, negligence, or personal injury claims. Professional liability coverage may be denied where the claim arises out of activities not associated with the professional duties being insured Many businesses that are required to carry professional liability insurance also must carry public or general liability insurance to ensure they are covered in such scenarios. These policies are almost always known as claims made policies where claims must be made within a certain period of time after a known claim exists. It is critical that one a policyholder is aware of a potential claim, that a claim is made under the policy.
What Happens When You Have a Claim and the Insurance Company Will Not Pay?
Professional liability policies are almost always known as claims made policies. Claims must be made within a certain period of time after a known claim exists. It is critical that once a policyholder is aware of a potential claim, that a claim is made under the policy. The claim may be a lawsuit against your business or a letter accusing your company of professional negligence. It is critical that you immediately submit a claim to your insurance company.
If you have a claim against your business and believe that your professional liability insurance should cover the claim, you first need to submit a claim as soon as possible. In cases where the insurance company does not review the claim and agree to a settlement you feel is fair, you may need to seek further legal recourse, including filing a lawsuit for breach of contract and insurance bad faith.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny valid insurance claims. Most insurers have shareholders and others to whom they must answer financially, and the friction between profits and compensating business for their losses and defense costs can easily lead to bad faith practices. Insurance policies are typically long and complex, which allows insurance companies to take advantage of this to improperly deny claims and exclude coverage based on ambiguous policy language.
To reduce the chance that you deal with such insurance bad faith practices, consult an experiences insurance bad faith lawyer before you submit your claim or, if you have already submitted a claim and the insurance company has denied it, contact McKennon Law Group PC and schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help with your case.