Being hired as a professional to make recommendations can be an exciting and lucrative career, but it can also carry certain risks. Those who work in health and safety and advise companies on policy and procedure carry a considerable amount of responsibility on their shoulders, not just because firms need help to be legally compliant, but also because they may be relying on them to maximise the safety of their workers. Of course, while serious errors resulting in accident and injury are rare, mistakes can be costly and may result in legal action. This is why health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover can be a vital safety net for some professionals.
Indemnity protection is also known as PII, or professional indemnity insurance. It is a kind of protection taken out by some companies who provide advice on a consultancy basis. It applies not just to lawyers or doctors, but anyone who offers their advice and services on a contractual or outside basis.
It covers you if you are formally accused of making a mistake, error, or committing an act of negligence in your general business. This typically means facing legal action, or being sued. This is never a straightforward or cheap process, as court cases can be long, complicated, and may involve a considerable cost in terms of legal protection. Worse still, if you lose the case you could face a compensation bill from the other side.
Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover would pay not just the cost of your legal counsel, but also the cost of compensation. Therefore it is seen by many as a financial safeguard and a fact of modern business.
A policy will normally not just cover against mistakes, but also protect you against claims that you have breached confidence, someone’s copyright, committed unintentional defamation, or lost or damaged a client’s important data or documents such as plans or digital information and databases.
Therefore it is quite flexible and able to give you financial support towards protecting against a wide range of legal challenges. It does not matter how valid the claim made against you is. You will get pay out towards your legal defence no matter how true or false the claimant’s case is. It also does not matter whether or not you win – your defence in general will be covered.
Some policies like this will even include public liability insurance, either as an extra or as a free add-on. You will need to decide the limit of your indemnity cover, as a policy will not pay out towards an indefinite amount. This means making a careful judgement as to how much health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover you might need if you faced a case, and this will often be connected to the size of your business. Of course, the higher level of limit you want, the higher your premium will normally be.
Although many businesses manage to get through years or even decades without a major problem, there is always the risk of legal action in the professional environment. Companies which provide their advice on a contract basis may be particularly at risk. Although nine times out of 10 clients will be happy and jobs will be error free, it only takes one mistake for a client to potentially lose money or end up in difficulty. With the importance of health and safety procedures now very much at the top of many company agendas, people working in this industry are arguably particularly in need of some form of protection. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover is a straightforward product which would protect you in the event you faced an unpleasant legal challenge.
Indemnity cover is popular with many companies which offer their services as consultants. A firm may decide to take action against them if they feel their advice has be inadequate or worse still has lost them money. For example, a health and safety consultant might be hired by a door manufacturer to ensure they are following or the correct legal procedures with regards to the health and safety of staff on their factory floor. The consultant may give the company a clean bill of health and say they are well within the regulations. But should a consultant miss something the company may turn out to be in breach of the rules, so the firm may then come back and seek legal redress.
Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover would kick in in such circumstances and pay the legal bills of the health and safety consultant as they defended their case. Even claims which are invalid or have no basis need to be defended, and in many cases this will involve hiring a legal professional. If a claim is valid and the claimant’s case is successful, compensation may even be awarded against a consultant, possibly running into thousands of pounds or more. Indemnity cover will even cover the cost of compensation, up to the policies limits.
When it comes to setting a limit for your cover, you will need to think about the typical firm you deal with. Larger companies dealing with a wide range of clients might want protection running into hundreds of thousands of pounds or more. Smaller firms will simply not need this level of protection.
In exchange for your premium you not only get protection for legal bills which result from mistakes, you will also be covered if you face an allegation that you have defamed someone, breached their confidence or copyright and will even be protected if you lose or damage a client’s important data or documents. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover therefore has the potential to be a bargain in the long run if you ever do face an unfortunate legal challenge which would otherwise have put your business into financial trouble.
When it comes to legal claims, it is easy to adopt what might be thought of as the ‘it will never happen to me’ mentality. But a claim for compensation, for example, can wreck your business, so it is important get the right sort of cover in place. Due to the nature of their business, health and safety consultants are arguably particularly at risk. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover can help protect you against some of the regular types of legal challenges.
Say you are hired by a company with a large factory, which asks you to come on site and make recommendations about a compliance with the law and approve measures which are designed to keep employees safe. If your assessment contains an error, an employee could later be injured leading to the possibility of being sued. If a firm thinks you may be responsible in some way for an incident like this, many will not hesitate to seek legal advice.
Any court case can be a distressing experience, but it can also be financially damaging. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover will pay your legal costs up to an agreed limit, meaning your defence does not have to mean financial difficulty for your business. Excesses can also be agreed, as with more conventional forms of cover, and can help bring down the premium.
The limit of a policy is agreed as it is taken out, and it will be up to you to decide what level of cover you want. Obviously, the higher the payout limits, the higher the premium in most cases. Companies which deal with high-profile clients may want a greater level of protection, while smaller businesses may not need quite as much.
This type of policy normally protects against other things like unintentional defamation, breach of copyright or confidence, and even the dishonesty of your company’s employees, should they, for example, steal from a client. It will also pay out regardless of how valid the claimant’s allegations are – your eligibility for cover will not be affected by the strength of the opposition’s claims against you.
One of the benefits of this type insurance is that it will also pay out any compensation which happens to be awarded to a claimant which is successful. Again this will be subject to certain limits, but provided you’re not under insured, you may not have to pay a penny towards a company yourself.
Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover can also include public liability insurance as an extra, and can even be arranged so that it guards against any past events which apply to before you bought the policy. If you decide to retire or run down a business, you can also get cover which continues after you have ceased trading, protecting you against future claims.
Protecting yourself against unpleasant legal claims may not be the first thing on your mind if you are setting up as a health and safety consultant. But as a professional, you’ll be expected to provide the highest level of service to your clients. If any of them for some reason feel you have not done this, simply because of a perceived or real mistake, they may take legal action. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover is a simple insurance policy designed to guard against such eventualities.
Imagine if you work for a building company, which employs you to visit a new site and make recommendations about how to keep workers safe. Should you miss something in your assessment, a worker could then be injured, which may result in a legal claim if your error or omission can be linked to the incident.
Defending yourself in court will mean hiring legal professionals who will have to be paid. Should you lose the case, compensation may be awarded to the other side, and this may also run up a big bill. Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover will pay for not just the legal advice you need but also the compensation amount awarded to the other side.
All this might seem rather extreme, but legal cases are not uncommon and can bring down some companies who do not have the right financial backing or the correct insurance in place. It can also take away some of the stress and anxiety associated with sorting out a legal claim.
No policy will protect someone up to an unlimited amount. Understandably, there is a ceiling attached to policies beyond which an insurer will not payout. Therefore it is important to make sure you have the right level of cover in place. Smaller companies will not need protection for millions of pounds worth of bills, but larger companies might.
The level of protection will affect the premium, and excesses can also be agreed to which will also affect the price. When getting hold of a policy, also make sure that you are clear on what it includes. Many will have a lot of extras, including protection for things like allegations of breach of confidence or copyright, the loss of a client’s important data or documents, and may even include a degree of public liability insurance.
Health & safety consultant professional indemnity cover can also be arranged to cover events which happened in the past, meaning if a letter arrives to notify you of a case which dates back to something which occurred before your policy started, you will still have protection. A policy will protect you right through the legal process, from first hearings all the way up to the highest levels of law in the land – meaning you will not normally need to fear a case spiralling out of control provided you have the right level of cover in place.