Professional Indemnity FAQ

PI is worth having even if there is no claim

An innocent Building Designer

This matter is a very good example of how a person can be dragged into litigation, even though they have done nothing wrong. It also emphasises the importance of having Professional Indemnity Insurance.  

Insurance underwriting agent ProRisk’s insured, Mr Richard Roberts, was a building designer. He prepared some plans for the second floor extension of a holiday house which included a staircase with landings and no winder. These plans were preliminary drawings for the purpose of obtaining a permit. They were not intended to be final working drawings.  
 
The owner of the property subsequently carried out the renovations, but did not use the staircase designed by Mr Roberts. The staircase was changed by the builder to include a winder.
 
After the extensions had been completed, a family stayed in the holiday house. Early one morning the grandmother offered to take an infant from her mother. The grandmother took the baby and carried her down the stairs to the ground floor. 
 
In walking down the stairs the grandmother stumbled on the edge of a step at about the point of the winder. She fell in the darkness of the early morning. Unfortunately the baby’s head hit the floor and he suffered brain damage. The baby’s parents’ sued the grandmother on the basis of her negligence in failing to switch on the light so that she could see where she was walking down the stairs.
 
The matter became very complicated because the grandmother’s lawyers and insurer decided to join the builder, the firm which constructed the stairs, and our insured. The insured was alleged to be negligent because he had not designed enough risers in the drawing of the stairway in the first place.
 
At the commencement of the proceedings ProRisk attempted to have the claim struck out against their Insured on the basis that there was no proper cause of action. The insured had nothing to do with the design of the staircase that was ultimately installed. Unfortunately this motion failed as the judge said that although the prospects of the claim against their Insured appeared slim, the case should be allowed to go to trial. 
 
The case was then listed for trial to determine liability only.  The trial went for two weeks. The judge found in favour of the insured in relation to the design and construction of the stair case. The grandmother was found liable for not switching on the light.   
 
The Court ordered that our Insured’s costs (which by that stage were approximately $190,000) be paid on an indemnity basis.
 
Mr Roberts had this to say about the claim:
 
Having notified ProRisk of a possible claim against me, they immediately arranged for Thompson Cooper Lawyers to look after me and nurse me through the traumatic period that followed. 
 
I can honestly say that, for the last two and a half years, I have received nothing but courtesy, understanding and help from both companies. 

I have never experienced this claim situation before and trust that I will never go through it again but, I can sleep easier in the knowledge that I am supported by an Insurer who I feel is second to none and an exceptionally competent and professional legal team whom I would not hesitate in recommending to anyone.”.

Thank you to ProRisk for the use of this article

  

Latest News

CPR joins Ausure

We would like to announce to all our Clients, Prospective Clients, Suppliers and Insurers, that Cooper Professional Risks Pty Ltd trading as CPR Insurance Services, will be leaving National Adviser Services Pty Ltd (NAS) and joining Ausure Pty Ltd as a Corporate Authorised Representative from 5 March 2018.

Fundamentally, there is no difference to you, except our Invoices will look a little different, and the Banking details will be in a different name and account number. Everything else at CPR stays the same.

There are a number of reasons we have made this decision, but the primary reason is for what we believe is best for our clients.

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Special offer to CPR Insurance clients

Employsure are providing a FREE Business Health Check to all our clients and gives you the opportunity to receive an analysis of the health and safety requirements in your workplace. Also. Employsure  will review your employment agreements as well as your wage rates helping you to avoid workplace claims.

Ordinarily this would cost you at least $1,250 but because you are a CPR Insurance client, it is free!

It involves the following review for you.

SAFECHECK

A specialist Work Health and Safety Consultant will visit your workplace and carry out:

A review of your business’ current work health and safety policies, procedures and systems to identify areas of concern or non-compliance

Following the review, you will receive a report summarising the findings and the health and safety

Status of your workplace

WAGE CHECK

A Wages Adviser will review your rates of pay and produce a Wage Check report.

The review will be conducted against the industrial instrument applicable

A report will be supplied advising if the wages are compliant and what steps to take to achieve compliance

CONTRACT REVIEW

A Document Consultant will review an employment agreement and provide recommendations.

The review will highlight compliance issues with the Fair Work Act 2009 as well as best practice

The report will make recommendations to achieve compliance and provide protection to your business.

This will remove any areas of potential dispute and risk

So what do you have to lose? Contact us on 07 3123 1137 and arrange 

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