Everything You Need To Know About Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

As a contractor, you’ll find that clients and agencies will often insist that you hold adequate insurance before you undertake a contract. Having the right insurance in place will ensure you’re in line with the terms of your contract, and will provide you with cover should a claim be made against you. One of the most important covers for a contractor or freelance professional to hold is professional indemnity insurance (also known as PI.)

PI is a key IR35 indicator. It’s not a requirement for a traditional employee as they’d be covered by the insurance provisions of their end client. Holding professional indemnity insurance therefore provides a clear distinction between contractor and employee. The fact that you, as the contractor, have purchased professional indemnity insurance demonstrates a financial obligation and a responsibility to protect your interests.

Below you’ll find an easy to follow breakdown of what PI is, why you need it, and a few examples of claims so you can see the full picture.

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Myths of Contractor Insurance

Myths Of Contractor Insurance

The world of contractor insurance can sometimes be a little confusing to navigate. Everywhere you look there are people telling you what you need and what you don’t. Here at Kingsbridge we know the contractor marketplace inside out. With fifteen years of experience serving the contractor community, we’re able to provide knowledgeable, trustworthy, and impartial advice. Below we’ll try and clear up a few of the most common misconceptions that surround contractor insurance. Without further ado:

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Which business insurance do I need as a contractor?

Contractor Insurance

We know it can be a minefield for contractors when it comes to purchasing the right insurance cover to protect you and your business. The volume of products available to you can make the whole process a little overwhelming, so we’ve set out five essential insurances you’ll need going forward. Read on below:

Professional Indemnity Insurance:

Professional indemnity insurance is designed to protect contractors against claims for negligence (such as making a mistake, or giving bad advice.) It also provides cover for loss of documents, loss of data, breaches of intellectual property, as well as defamation and libel.

If you do make a mistake for which you are responsible or are deemed to have been negligent, then professional indemnity insurance will cover any compensation that you have to pay as a result, as well as any legal costs you’ve incurred in the process. A mistake could end up costing you tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds so it’s vitally important to have the right protection in place. It’ll also cover the cost of fixing any mistake you may have made, which could help you to avoid having a larger claim made against you.

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Our Budget reaction: What impact will it have on the contractor community?

Summer Budget Reaction

The first Conservative-only Budget in 19 years took place in the House of Commons yesterday and whilst there were some positives, the Tories announced a number of changes which will undoubtedly affect contractors in a negative way, with contractor dividends, expenses, and IR35 among the areas targeted by the Chancellor.

Chris Bryce, CEO of IPSE, noted: “The combination of the action on dividends, clamping down on travel and subsistence and potentially toughening up IR35 legislation could leave many contractors feeling pretty sore.”

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How every contractor can benefit from Professional Indemnity insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

We’ve no doubt that you’ve heard of Professional Indemnity insurance before. You may know it by a different name; errors and omissions, PI insurance or professional liability insurance. Whatever you call it, it means the same thing.

It’s insurance that provides cover for freelance contractors in the event that a client suffers financial losses as a result of a ‘breach of professional duty’. That could mean neglect of professional responsibilities, an error in work or omission on the part of the contractor.

It’s a pretty fundamental element of cover for any contractor. It will protect you if a client alleges you’ve made a mistake in any designs, advice or specifications you provide during the course of your contract.

Many freelance contracts now require you have a minimum level of Professional Indemnity cover and for good reason. Read on to find out what we think are some of the main benefits that this insurance can bring to a contractor’s life.

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Five resolutions every contractor should make for the new financial year

New Financial Year 2015

We all made our diet, fitness, productivity and anything-else-you-can-think-of resolutions in January, as the new calendar year rolled in. However, April brings us a new kind of New Year: the new financial year.

As we covered last month, the Chancellor has revealed his final Budget before the general election and the calendar has officially restarted on the fiscal year. So, what better time to look at some practices every contractor can assume for the benefit of their finances. Here are our five financial resolutions that every freelancer should think about implementing this financial year.

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A Contractor’s Guide to Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Whether you’re a career contractor or you’ve just dipped your toe in the world of professional freelancing, you’ll have likely heard about Public Liability insurance. And there’s a reason for this; it’s one of the most important types of business cover and it’s an absolute essential for any contractor.

Why is it so essential? Well, as we all know, accidents and mishaps can happen, but that doesn’t mean that you, or your business, need to be out of pocket as a result. Public Liability insurance protects you and your business in the event of an accident or damage being caused where you could be held liable.

If you don’t invest in Public Liability insurance, and someone is injured or property is damaged as a result of your actions, then you could become legally bound to pay them compensation. Simple mistakes can become expensive, fast!

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Health and Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry

Oil Gas Health Safety

It’s no secret that the petroleum industry is exposed to certain, very specific risks. If you’re a freelancer in the oil and gas industry then you will be more aware than most about the risks inherent in this line of work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in its Offshore Strategic Context report for 2014-2017, outlines their priority for the health and safety of the UK’s offshore industry is maintaining the integrity of the existing infrastructure that makes up approximately 50% of current offshore platforms. The main aim of this is to avoid a major incident that could result in the death of any offshore workers.

With health and safety such a critical issue within the industry, there are a number of principal risks that the HSE find must be eliminated in order to ensure the safety of the more than 32,000 workers in the petroleum industry.

Risk of fire and explosion

Any release of hydrocarbon carries the risk of ignition, fire and subsequent explosion. Hydrocarbon releases, or HCRs, can be caused either by the breakdown or erosion of a station’s assets (pipelines, pipeline risers or process plants) or by improper maintenance.

In its report, the HSE highlights that the industry has noticed the importance of reducing HCRs and that by April 2013 there was a near 50% reduction in releases, and a plan had been set out to achieve a further 50% reduction by 2016. However, by late in 2013 there had been a 30% rise in releases once more. It’s clear that this is a continuing issue for the industry and one that could have deadly consequences if not attended to.

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Budget 2015 – Kingsbridge round-up

Budget 2015 Reaction

In his speech, George Osborne today promised that today’s final, pre-election Budget will “back the self-employed, the small business-owner and the homebuyer” proclaiming that Britain’s economy is once more on the rise, dubbing the nation, ‘The Comeback Country’.

Freelancers face a mix of measures following Osborne’s 59 minute speech yesterday, many of which appear to be aimed at making the life of the independent professional much easier, while some still target cracking down further on tax avoidance.

Despite Osborne’s insistence that Britain is in the midst of an economic comeback, much of the rhetoric used throughout the speech focused on further reducing the deficit and national debt, with Osborne even expressing at one point, “we choose… to use whatever additional resources we have to get the deficit and the debt falling.”

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the main measures from 2015’s Budget that are likely to affect freelancers, contractors and independent professionals over the course of the next year.

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Meet The Kingsbridge Team – Lauren Costello, Client Services Advisor

As promised, here’s the next installment in our ‘meet the Kingsbridge team’ series.  Our next victim participant is Lauren Costello, champion show-jumper and future zoo keeper.  Thanks for taking part Lauren.

Name: Lauren Costellolauren

Role:Client Services Advisor

How long have you been working with KPSOL?

Since November 2011

What does your job role include?

I speak with at least 50 people a day on the phone as well as responding to email enquiries.  Most of the conversations I have are with freelancers and contractors who are interested in the KPSol insurance package and either want to put a policy in place or have questions about the cover levels and whether it’s the right policy for them.

I also work with some of our business partners.   Often accountancy firms are keen to ensure their contractor and freelancer clients have the necessary insurance in place and many recruitment agencies insist on it before they’ll add them as candidates.  KPSol works closely with them to help them provide an end to end service.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A famous show jumper, a vet or a zoo owner (I’d actually still like to own a zoo)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Making a difference for a client is important to me and when I can do that I get a real buzz.  I also count myself as lucky to work with some brilliant people so just being in the office is enjoyable, even if I’m having a tough day.  We have a lot of fun.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Last year I went to the Gastech exhibition at ExCel in London.  One of our specialisations is in providing cover for Oil and Gas professionals and this is a huge, global event for the industry.  It hadn’t been held in the UK for 40 years (it’s in South Korea next year!) so I was really lucky to be able to attend and meet so many people in the industry.

What is your favourite thing about the company and what makes them different to work for?

The company has grown quickly over the last few years and it’s given opportunities to and invested in a young team (myself included) and it continues to do that.  Although traditionally the Client Services team would probably be referred to as a call centre, we’re encouraged not to be robotic, to build a real rapport with our clients.  We’re involved in planning and agreeing processes and we have regular communication from senior management around strategy and developments in the business.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Horse riding and watching the rugby.  I’m also a cinema addict!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

When I was younger I won the regional Jump Cross event on my horse, it’s a mixture between show jumping and cross country.  I was also on a TV show with Eddie Izzard once, I can’t remember it though!

Any advice you could give to someone looking to get a job in a similar environment?

You need to be very proactive.  Although most of the enquiries the Client Services team deals with are inbound, we still have to actively build relationships with our clients and make sure we’re answering their questions quickly and accurately.  You need to have a passion for customer services and also a willingness to learn and develop a good understanding of your clients’ needs and the insurance industry in general.  It’s hard work, but really satisfying.

What do you think makes Kingsbridge stand out from other insurance providers?

We’re often able to cover people who haven’t been able to get insurance elsewhere, or who thought they would have to pay thousands to get cover.  The set package of insurance is designed so our clients have peace of mind that they have the right cover, without the time and confusion they can experience from sourcing separate policies from multiple providers.

Any advice you have for freelancers or contractors looking for insurance?  

It’s vital that you’re adequately protected and equally, that you’re protecting anyone who might be affected by the work you do.  Don’t assume that you are automatically covered by your agency, your accountant or your professional body.  This is not always the case and we have so many contractors getting in touch, panicking as they won’t get paid until they can provide proof of insurance.

 Where do you hope to be in a few years’ time?

The plan is to get more involved with the work that the team that manage our partnerships and affiliations do.  I’m training with them at the moment, working towards a role as an account manager. 

We’ll be featuring more Client Services profiles over the coming months.  If you need to talk to a member of the team for a business insurance quote you can call on             01242 808740 or send an email to enquiries@kpsol.co.uk.