what is Computer contractor PII and why might you need it?

July 5, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

With a long list of happy clients behind them, a computer contractor may feel there is no need for any extra cover for their business. Things like professional indemnity insurance have in the past often been associated with people like accountants and architects, so other professionals may think this kind of cover is unnecessary. While it’s true that legal action is by no means guaranteed, there is a chance that any future dispute with a client could lead to a problem. Computer contractor PII can also be less expensive than people think, and can kick in to pay someone’s legal bills if it is ever needed.

PII stands for professional indemnity insurance, which is a brand of cover designed to help somebody if they are ever sued following a mistake. This is a basic generalisation and a more precise definition would be to say it pays out in the event that an individual or business is accused of having made a mistake or committed an act of negligence in their work.

While most jobs will go smoothly and without incident, some cannot go completely to plan and at times a client may legitimately or unfairly accuse the consultant of making an error which has cost them money. This is a typical circumstance in which legal action might ensue.

Computer contractor PII would not only cover the legal cost of hiring help to defend a case, such as fees run up by a defence solicitor, but will also pay the cost of any compensation if it happened to be awarded against the policyholder. This kind of cover can also be more flexible than people think, and something known as retroactive cover even protects the policyholder against claims which arrive in future but which date back to something which happened in the past. This can be helpful for anyone who has only just got around to organising this kind of insurance.

Computer contractor indemnity cover can also be tailored to protect a business after it has ceased trading or the owner has retired, as they may still be vulnerable to legal action relating to past events. This is known as runoff cover, and can also be used when someone is looking to change insurer.

There will of course be a policy limit as with other kinds of insurance, and beyond this agreed amount an insurer will not pay out any further towards legal fees or compensation. This is agreed when someone formalises computer contractor PII with their insurer.

Choosing a computer contractor PII policy

June 22, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

Whether your specialist area is internet marketing, hardware and networks, or data storage and distribution, the work of a computer contractor can be extremely useful to businesses who do not have the necessary skills in-house. But knowledge and organisation are typically not enough for many businesses, and it can be sensible to have a few other things in place to run in the background. Computer contractor PII is one option, as it can provide valuable protection in the event that you ever faced a legal claim.

Standing for professional indemnity insurance, PII is popular with many experts and companies which provide professional advice on a consultancy basis. In summary, it pays out towards your legal defence and even any compensation that might be awarded against you should a client accuse you of doing a poor job and losing their money.

Legal claims often arise because someone feels they have suffered what is known as a financial injury, because of something someone has done or failed to do. Computer contractor PII normally protects against claims from clients that you have made an omission, error, or even committed an act of negligence. Other circumstances in which this kind of cover will pay out typically include allegations of breach of confidence or copyright, claims you have committed defamation through libel, and even the dishonesty of any employees you may have.

Many of these situations will require hired legal advice, which can be expensive. The PII element would pay out for the cost of your legal defence and advice, and even any court order which saw you ordered to pay money to a claimant who is successful.

While the prospect of facing a legal case is not guaranteed, if it does happen to a business it can be extremely damaging for a variety of reasons. It can take up a considerable amount of time to organise, and depending on the detail and type of the case, it may drag on for months or even years. This is why many professionals have found it is vital to have a form of professional cover in place which can pay for the legal costs.

One of the key benefits of this type of cover is that it does not matter what level of court your case reaches. Provided you are still within the clear policy limit, you will still get your protection whether you are at an initial hearing or have ended up at the High Court.

The policy limit is particularly important because it is often set by the policyholder at the start of the cover. Beyond this point an insurance company will not pay out any more towards legal bills or compensation, so its important to select something which is right for the business.

Computer contractor PII can also include public liability insurance, protecting you in the event you face a claim from a third party, such as a member of the public, following an incident either on your own premises or in the public domain off site.

What is computer contractor PII?

May 22, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

It is easy to get tied up in jargon and phrases when you’re sorting out insurance cover for your business, and PII is a phrase you may have heard of but which you may not fully understand, or have never looked into properly. It stands for professional indemnity insurance, and it is a type of cover which pays out if you face legal action because of a mistake you have made professionally. Computer contractor PII is simply a form of this cover which is geared specifically towards computer consultants.

PII can be used by a company as a whole or by one freelance individual. It gives you financial support towards a legal defence should you ever face action because of an error you have made professionally. Typically this means being sued, to use a colloquial term.

Even actions which are completely invalid and unfounded may have to be defended properly in a court. This means hiring legal help and although cover can’t take away the action, it can remove the financial strain associated with it. The normal circumstances covered by this kind of policy are mistakes and omissions, acts of negligence, and claims you have breached confidentiality or copyright. It also normally pays out if you are accused of unintentional defamation, or if the employees of a computer contractor company are accused of acting dishonestly and perhaps stealing from or defrauding a client.

Computer contractor PII will normally pay out towards your legal defence no matter how far your case gets. Should you end up in the High Court, for example, it will still pay for your legal help, provided you are still within your cover limit. The limit applies because insurance companies do not agree to pay out towards an indefinite amount of cover should you need to use your policy. However, limits can be set quite high, to hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. Of course, not every company will need this, but you will need to decide what is suitable for you.

This kind of insurance also pays out towards the cost of compensation should it be awarded against you. Normally a policy will also allow you to add some optional extras to her, such as public liability insurance an protection for a period after you winds down a business or retire, as no longer trading is not a defence against a legal claim relating to something which happened in the past.

Computer contractor PII can also be arranged to protect you against things which happened in the past. This might sound strange, but is often referred to as ‘retroactive cover’, a clause which allows you to claim if you faced a legal action in future which refers to an event which happened before you even bought the insurance, although of course you will need to have had no notification you are going to be sued before you took out the policy.

What computer contractor PII can protect against

March 31, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

Finding out what you need when setting up a new business can be a bit of a learning process. Companies who offer their services on a freelance basis often look for insurance for their equipment and perhaps the likes of public liability cover. But people taking on contract work may also want to think about legal implications related to mistakes. For example, computer contractors might run the risk of legal action if they ever made an error which lead to a company being offline and losing money. Computer contractor PII is a straightforward insurance policy which can guard against some other financial headaches associated with such incidents.

PII simply stands for professional indemnity insurance. This is a form cover which protects professionals in the event they are accused of making a costly error in their general business. It applies to mistakes, omissions, or allegations of acts of negligence. Any of these things might lead to a legal claim, i.e. being sued. Defending such a claim can often cost money as legal help may well need to be hired. A PII policy would pay for your legal expenses up to an agreed limit and even any compensation which may be awarded against you.

Computer contractor PII also typically covers a professional or business against claims they have lost or damaged important data belonging to a client or that they have breached someone’s confidence or copyright and also even guards against defamation actions. This is potentially useful for anyone who perhaps designs websites or deals with sensitive data as part of their contractual work on IT systems.

If you have to make a claim you simply apply in the same way as you would on something like a car insurance policy, contacting your insurer and explaining the situation. They then start to pay legal bills and will do so right the way through a case provided you stay within your policy limit. This limit is agreed as you take out your insurance and needs to be decided by you in relation perhaps to the size of your business and the nature of your clients. You can also often agree an excess with an insurance company, in much the same way again as a car insurance policy, and this can be used to control the cost of your premium.

Computer contractor PII may also include things like public liability insurance as an extra or even included in the price. Other things to consider include overrun or run off cover, which can protect you after you wind down a business or retire, guarding against legal actions which are arrive. You can also get what is known as retroactive cover, providing protection for claims which arrive in the future but which date back to before you even bought your indemnity policy.

How computer contractor PII works

March 22, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

With so many cover products and so many pieces of administration to sort out with regards to a business, it can be easy to get bogged down in different terms and policies. Some products are more important than others, and it can be difficult to identify what a computer contractor firm really needs. They may want to think about public liability insurance and protection for their premises and equipment. But computer contractor PII is also a potentially vital option which some companies may avoid simply because they do not understand it.

To start with, the phrase PII is simply an acronym for professional indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is insurance which pays out towards legal expenses and even compensation which might be awarded to somebody who accuses you of making a business mistake. Typically it applies to when clients perhaps seek compensation or legal redress after something you have done wrong.

Even claims which are unfounded will have to be defended, and this can involve getting legal advice which costs money. In the event that you do make an error, and perhaps for example whipe a company’s data accidentally, they may want compensation. Computer contractor PII would even pay this compensation, subject to certain limits.

The normal wording of indemnity insurance states that you will be covered if you are facing legal action following a mistake, error, or act of negligence. It will also protect you if you are accused of breaching someone’s copyright, perhaps when developing a program. It will even protect you if you’re accused of breach of confidence or unintentional defamation, a potentially useful tool if you deal with internet publishing.

Computer contractor PII will protect you right the way through a court case, all the way up to an appearance at the high court if this unlikely event happens to be necessary. But the cover limit will apply, and you need to decide how much protection you need. So a small company might want cover for hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of legal bills, while a large company might want protection for millions. You can make a judgement based on your business and the type of clients you normally deal with, but it is important to not end up being under-insured. You can also select a voluntary excess, similar to when buying car insurance, which can bring your premium up or down and possibly make it more manageable.

Computer contractor PII is also fairly flexible, and can be arranged to protect against future claims which arrive but which relate to past incidents perhaps which even happened months ago, even if the incident took place before you bought the policy. Overrun cover is also useful for people changing insurer or winding down their computer contractor business.

What Computer Contractor PII does

February 22, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

Whether you have been working for a while, or are just starting out, operating as a computer contractor involves providing a valuable service to British industry. Many firms choose to outsource their IT maintenance and development to specialist firms, meaning there is work available in the sector. But this of course carries a certain level of responsibility, and while a bit of preparation and training goes a long way, sometimes errors are unavoidable. If a mistake then leads to a client suffering a loss, you may face a challenge for compensation. Computer contractor PII is a form of insurance which can help protect your business against the financial consequences of this.

PII simply stands for professional indemnity insurance. This is a form of cover which pays your legal expenses and even any compensation awarded to an unhappy client if you are accused of making a costly mistake. For example, if you install something improperly, you may crash a network or let in a virus. If this takes a company offline for a period of time, they may lose money and seek to recover this through the legal system. This means hiring a professional to fight your legal case, and possibly more than one solicitor depending on the detail.

All of this means a considerable bill, and computer contractor PII is one of the ways of making sure these fees do not overly affect your business. In simple terms a policy will pay the fees and compensation, if applicable, up to the policy limit.

Computer contractor PII will normally pay out if you’re accused of breach of confidence or copyright, unintentional defamation, which is relevant if you publish material on websites, and even the dishonesty of a computer contractor company’s employees. Public liability insurance may also be included depending on the insurer and the policy.

What you pay for the cover will depend on the level of client you deal with and the size of your business. Those dealing with large multinational companies with considerable turnovers and profit margins may want protection for hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of legal bills. Smaller companies may only want protection for a few thousand, but it is up to you to decide what level you will need. Getting it right is important, as any difference or shortfall will need to be covered by you in the event fees were to breach the top level of the policy.

Computer contractor PII is also flexible in that you can use it to cover any future claims which arrive which date back to something which happened before you even bought the policy, and this is called retroactive cover. Run off cover can also be used to ensure you are not vulnerable after you have ceased trading, changed insurer or simply wound down the business.

Explaining the basics of computer contractor PII

January 22, 2009 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

PII might sound like just another phrase in a mountain of insurance-related jargon. But it is a potentially useful product and can be a lifeline for some companies in the right circumstances. Computer contractors may find it useful as they are often hired by clients to take on a large amount of IT-related responsibility, which can occasionally lead to mistakes and disputes. Computer contractor PII will pay a policy holder’s legal bills, meaning they can defend a case more comfortably while continuing to run their business.

PII stands for professional indemnity insurance, and is a type of cover designed to protect a business from some of the legal pitfalls which can befall firms which provide advice on a professional basis. Usually it helps to defend claims which result from an allegation that a policyholder has committed a mistake, an omission, or act of negligence while carrying out their work. Normally it also protects against things like unintentional defamation, breach of confidence or copyright, and the dishonesty of a contractual company’s employees.
Computer contractor PII works by paying for legal bills run up defending such allegations. In exchange for a regular premium, a policyholder can expect protection up to a certain amount of expense, i.e. £500,000 worth of solictior’s fees. This enables someone to afford a legal defence while not having to unduly worry about how the case will affect them financially. Of course, a policy cannot make any claim go away, but it can help take away the stress of what will happen to a firm if it is landed with a massive law-related bill.

Say a claimant is successful in their case, it will even pay compensation, again up to the policy limit. This type of policy is normally quite flexible and insurers can arrange for special periods of cover while a contractor winds down their business or retires. This is known as run off cover, and will protect someone against historical claims after they have finished trading.

It is important to select the right level of cover which applies to your business. So for example, a contractor might select protection for £400,000 worth of legal bills. However, if they have to fight a case which costs £480,000, they will be left to pick up the £80,000 difference. This is known as being ‘under insured’ and in some cases can dramatically impact on a business. If the firm is only able to survive so much financial pressure, it might go under anyway, even if it has a policy, because the wrong level of cover has been selected. Computer contractor PII is therefore quite straightforward, and in some circumstances can be the difference between a business continuing virtually as normal, and having to fold under the weight of paying for a case.

Buying computer contractor PII

December 10, 2008 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII, Uncategorized · Comment 

A freelance computer contractor or business might feel they have enough expenditure to worry about with the likes of typical overheads related to a premises, regular equipment and components costs, staff wages, and vehicle-related bills. All this might mean that insurance is the last thing on a businesses’ to-do list. But the right cover can prove essential to the survival of a firm in some circumstances, even if it is sometimes not necessary to claim for years at a time. Computer contractor PII, as a cost, can also be recorded as a business expense for the purposes of taxation.

To first clear up a common question, PII simply stands for professional indemnity insurance. It is a type of cover popular with almost any business which provides professional advice, from architects to private medical practitioners.

It is designed to help cover somebody if they face a legal challenge following a mistake or omission or act of negligence committed during regular business. A genuine but serious error can lead to a client losing money, and this may prompt them to take legal advice on how they can recover costs. For example a computer contractor might be asked to install a software application on the computer network of a high-profile company. If the application then turns out to have a virus due to a mistake made by the contractor, damage may be done and money may be lost, leading to a legal claim. Computer contractor PII will help pay any legal bills which result from defending the action and will even cover the cost of compensation which might be awarded to the successful claimant.

Computer contract a PII can be tailored for a specific applicant. This means different levels of cover are available from thousands of pounds worth of bills up to millions of pounds worth of bills. Not every company will need masses of protection – and policies are normally priced accordingly. Excesses also apply, which can often be negotiated with the insurer to alter the costs.

In order to qualify for cover, the mistake someone is accused of making must be genuine and must not be malicious. An insurer will then payout for legal bills up to the limit of the policy, and it does not matter how long or how detailed the case gets – provided cover is in place, the solicitor’s fees will still be paid.

This can take the pressure off a business and enable it to go on running virtually as normal while still fighting a significant court battle. The alternative is obvious – a huge legal bill which could threaten the financial future of a company and all the associated stress which comes with such a situation. The average computer contractor PII policy can also include things like protection for breach of confidentiality or copyright, and can even include public liability – providing a safety net for the policyholder which may one day save the life of the business.

Why consider computer contractor PII?

November 22, 2008 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

Going it alone as a self-employed IT professional or founding an entire company is no mean task. It involves courage, planning, and having a sound business mind. Laying the right organisational framework can often secure the future of the business, even though administrative tasks can seem tedious. Putting business insurance in place is therefore arguably as necessary as getting hold of the right equipment. One of the typical types of cover taken out by freelance IT professionals and firms is computer contractor PII, or, to give it its full title, professional indemnity insurance.

Although indemnity insurance might be more associated by some people with doctors, engineers, or other professions, the increasingly legally-aware nature of today’s business world means it is now at least considered by almost every type of company which offers advice to clients. Indemnity insurance is designed to guard against some of the legal risks that could see an individual or business facing a very large legal bill following a claim by a client or other party. It typically applies to any claim made following a mistake, omission or act of negligence. Although the contractor themselves may not be at fault at all, and a client may lodge a complaint just because they are unhappy, such accusations will still not be cheap to defend in court – meaning even a company which is facing an invalid claim will often still have to pick up a bill.

Computer contractor PII will pay the associated legal costs of defending a case. For example a contractor might make a mistake in installing a network firewall for a company which means the client then loses valuable data and sues. The contractor then finds they must hire a defence solicitor which costs them £30,000 during the course of the case. An indemnity policy will pick up this bill entirely, provided it falls within the agreed limits of the policy.

In this sense PII is not much different to more usual insurance policies. It can be set to cover certain limits – say £50,000 of legal bills, £100,000 or £1 million, for example. An excess will also normally be agreed between the policyholder and the insurer – which is an initial amount which must be paid before the cover kicks in. So an excess of £1,000 means the first £1,000 of a £30,000 legal bill will be paid by the policy holder with the insurance company picking up the remaining £29,000.

Computer contractor PII can also be extremely useful in that it will often cover more than cases which result from straightforward mistakes. It will typically also cover accusations that a contractor has breached someone’s copyright during the conduct of their business or that they have committed a breach of confidentiality. The possible dishonesty of any employees of a contractor will also normally be covered. It is thanks to this relative flexibility and detail that a policy will therefore help form an effective legal blanket for almost any IT-related business.

Computer Contractor PII

October 22, 2008 · Filed Under Computer Contractor PII · Comment 

Consultants often take great pride in their work and many assume they are sufficiently trained and prepared to ensure that a mistake is unlikely to ever occur. Computer contractors and other types of hired expert are entitled to have faith in their work, but errors can still happen which may lead to a client suffering a financial loss. Worse still, there is always the chance a client will make a claim that, although invalid, must still be defended in court, resulting in significant wasted time and money. A  computer contractor PII policy aims to protect a firm from such risks.

PII, or professional indemnity insurance, to give it its full title, will pay for the cost of legal defence bills which are incurred should a contractor make a mistake or act negligently and face a claim from a client. Mounting a legal defence is an expensive proposition which can cost thousands of pounds or more – a computer contractor PII policy will cover the cost and allow the policyholder to better concentrate on the running of the business.

An error can involve pretty much any form of business mistake which leads to financial damage for a client. A simple mistake installing a firewall or virus prevention system, which leads to data damage or theft and a claim, would be covered by a typical PII policy, for example. PII will also include cover for cases which involve an accusation that a consultant has committed libel, slander or has defamed a client unintentionally. Legal fees will also be covered should a consultant face an allegation that they have breached confidentiality or committed unintentional infringement of intellectual property rights. If a computer contractor is entrusted with a client’s data or documents which are accidentally lost or destroyed, they will also be covered if the client then sues for damages because of loss they have subsequently suffered.

A computer contractor may set up and start trading but not get a PII policy in place until some months after they have begun taking on work. Most types of cover will include a ‘retroactive’ feature, which even provides cover for a case which relates to an event which took place before the cover was bought. The slow nature of legal claims means there is also a chance one will arrive even after a contractor retires or ceases trading. ‘Over run’ or ‘run off’ cover can be arranged to deal with such an occurrence.

Computer contractor PII might not be the first thing someone thinks about when setting up as a consultant but it is arguably just as important as marketing, equipment and bookkeeping. In the right circumstances, it could ensure the financial future of a contractor’s business and allow them to both defend their reputation and concentrate on providing a good service to other clients.

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