As a health and safety consultant, your clients expect you to deliver a professional service that keeps them safe and helps reduce their risk. However, what if you mistakenly put them ‘in danger’ and they bring a claim against you?
From asbestos condition surveys and fire risk assessments to office safety and noise awareness, health and safety professionals are trusted to use their experience and knowledge to help clients address their health and safety concerns and find practical solutions.
Sometimes though, despite your best efforts, things go wrong. Perhaps one of your audit reports overlooks a significant policy breach, or you give a client a piece of advice and they believe it causes them to lose money. In this industry, you and your business could be in the firing line for the smallest of errors, leading to serious repercussions.
It’s why many health and safety consultants choose to take out a professional indemnity (PI) insurance policy to defend and protect them.
How does PI insurance cover health and safety consultants?
PI insurance protects health and safety consultants against claims where they’re held liable for financial and reputational damage to a client, personal injury or property damage sustained by third parties in your line of work. It covers your legal fees as well as any compensation you may have to pay out, regardless of whether you’re responsible or not.
It’s worth noting that most PI insurances are offered on a ‘claims made’ basis, which means that the policy only covers you for claims that are made and notified to the insurer within your insurance policy period. So, if you cancel your policy or it expires, any claims made outside of your agreement period won’t be covered.
Why is it important to cover your business?
Every day, health and safety consultants face the risk of legal action being taken against them. In this line of work, you could be held liable for personal injury or property damage. The costs to your business could be substantial.
One law firm reported on a case where a court allowed a company to sue its external health and safety advisors in an attempt to recoup a £200,000 fine imposed on them following a breach of regulations which led to the death of an employee.
As you can see from this example, the compensation awards that may be made against you as a result of a successful claim could be catastrophic. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you could still face severe financial hardship covering the legal fees to defend yourself.
The good news is that with PI insurance, you’re protected against a wide variety of claims, including:
- Negligence or breach of duty of care, such as making a mistake or giving bad advice
- Breach of confidence, such as by sharing confidential files or sensitive information without consent
- Defamation, sharing false or damaging claims about a client
- Negligent misstatement or misrepresentation, which involves making a mistake or error when providing information
- Defence costs for investigations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 or the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, and similar related legislation
How much does PI insurance cost?
Even if you never expect to make a mistake in your line of work, it’s worth taking out PI insurance for peace of mind alone. The cost to insure yourself is a small price to pay compared to the huge legal and compensation fees you could face should a claim be brought against you.
PI insurance policies with Larsen Howie start at just £12 per month, providing comprehensive cover for health and safety professionals, offering a range of indemnity limits from £50,000 to £5 million, depending on what level of protection you and your business need.