The answer is—Before you start working on any project. Read on to know what the policy entails.
The decision to purchase architect professional liability Insurance is indeed a watershed moment for most of the architects and young companies. It also means that the company has grabbed a project on a high scale or a significant budget or the client has approached the firm with concerns about a particular project. Or it simply means that the architect or architect firm is getting serious about its business and future.
An architect professional liability Insurance is a coverage that secures an architectural firm and its employees against a serious of claims alleging errors or omission, negligence in discharging the architectural services.
What actions can result in claims?
Many young architects get a surprise when they are being told that they can be held liable for the negligence of contractors and others who are working on the project. Moreover, that negligence claims can also be based on the faulty cost and delay in construction. In some situations, claims can also be based upon the planning or feasibility of studies, and it is not necessary that the architect should be the main architect of the project. Also, it has been seen that not all clients pay fees and as a result, it is common for an architect, who brings a suit to recover fees, subject to the counterclaim of negligence.
In general, architect professional liability claims are likely to arise from the failure to meet the expectations, particularly, where the client has limited experience with other construction projects. As a result, the understanding of a client of what comprises the scope of work and the quality and timing of the final work may be unrealistic. However, it still doesn’t mean the claim will not be filed.
Further, an architect may not be keen on explaining delays or costs overruns to the client, ‘hoping to cover’ any delay in the long run. However, that lack of communication may turn into a bigger surprise for the client.
In those situations, also where the architect has clear skills and expertise on a certain project type, too many commitments can actually give rise to client’s lack of trust and frustration. These are all such situations where architect professional liability claims may arise without a direct failure on the part of the architect or firm in designing safe and high-quality buildings.
The right time to buy architect professional liability Insurance
Undoubtedly, the right time to buy architect professional liability Insurance is before you start working on any project. In case, you have already initiated the project, the architect professional liability Insurance company will not cover previous claims.
Consider this: A renowned architect, Rajiv bagged a huge contract of designing the map of a two-storey school. On May 23, 2016, he started working on the project. After 15 days, he decided to purchase the architect professional liability Insurance. Here, the insurer did not cover the previous work, even the policy bought by Rajiv was for the ongoing project.
In the above example, Rajiv could have to get coverage for the past work also if he had added the retroactive date in its policy.
Usually, a retroactive date is a date from which you have held uninterrupted coverage. The purpose of this cover is to exclude all the claims which arise from work done before the date shown on the policy. It means, if you have architect professional liability Insurance since you started the work, you will be covered for all the work which you have done in the past, provided there is no break in the insurance cover.
How to stay insured for the past work?
The answer is plain and simple— By keeping your architect, professional liability Insurance cover active at all times. Though it may look like extra charges, the cost of the premium is small as compared to what you would have to pay at the time of claim from your pocket.
Believing in the future
Architects are subject to professional liability as a result of the higher expectations which are placed on them. Buying architect professional liability Insurance cover is not about avoiding perils, but it is a crucial part of possessing the confidence and the resources to manage multiple risks that may arise while discharging the professional duties. An architect who has bought architect professional liability Insurance is efficient enough to manage the multiple risks simultaneously.