New approaches to building projects, as well as new techniques, are leading to increased demand for Professional Liability insurance for contractors.
A few years ago, people would shake their heads at the idea of this coverage, asking how contractors could be held liable for professional risk when they don’t provide professional services.
However, there has been a blurring of the once-sharp lines between contractors and architects and designers, as more and more contractors are being drawn into the design process. Under the traditional “design-bid-build” method, a project would be designed, bids put out, and the project built. However, the spread of the “design-build” concept – which decreases the amount of time, and the cost, of the project involved – has meant that medium sized and large contractors often take the design responsibilities in-house, and even subcontract them to design firms.
These contractors’ biggest exposure is for claims filed against them for project delays and cost overruns. However, traditional General Liability insurance offers coverage only for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, and does not cover financial or economic losses. Contractors Professional Liability insurance fills this gap.
Because these policies are relatively recent, only a limited number of insurance companies offer them. These companies haven’t paid enough claims for underwriters to establish the underwriting history and set standard rates – which means that policies are usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The amount of insurance can be up to $50 million; if a contractor needs more capacity, coverage can be added through excess layers.
If your firm is (or might be) taking on project design responsibilities, a comprehensive Contractors Professional Liability policy can help protect your pocketbook – and provide peace of mind. To learn more, just give us a call.