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Tom Schaniel wrote:

> I was curious about the views of some other small engineering offices on
> insurance, specifically professional liability insurance and general
> liability insurance.
> My first question is do you have professional liability insurance (errors
> and omissions) and why or why not.
> My second question is for those who do not have professional liability
> insurance.  Do you have a general liability policy (a policy that covers
> accidents, etc. for non-employees at your office).  Usually this type of
> policy is lumped with some sort of contents insurance.  Have you had any
> trouble in keeping this type of policy.
> To be fair I should let you know where our office is coming from.  We do
> not at this time have professional liability insurance.  We are a very
> small office in a small town.  We did have professional liability insurance
> years ago.  But the rates became astronomical, as well as we seemed to be
> named in lawsuits more often (not because of any wrong doing it seemed, but
> because we were involved in a project and had good insurance).  In the last
> couple years some insurance companies have been offering more reasonable
> rates for small firms, and we have been contemplating trying to get one of
> these policies.
> In the meantime we have had an office policy that covers general liability,
> non-owned automobiles and the contents of our office.  Unfortunately it
> seems that we can never keep these policies for more than a year.  The
> insurance companies decide not to renew this type of policy to certain
> professionals, which include engineers and architects.  The reason we are
> given by our insurance brokers is that engineers and architects submit
> professional liability claims to these general policies and at some point
> the insurance companies stop insuring these types of professionals.
> Unfortunately this means that every year we have to research new insurance
> and even sometimes switch brokers (as one brokers sources dry up).  But we
> need to maintain this insurance not only for the good reasons of having
> this sort of insurance, but because it is required to rent office space.
> So any thoughts you all might have on this subject would be very
> interesting

We are an office of 5 engineers and carry both General and Professional
Liability Insurance, and have for most of the 15 years we have been in
business.  We have only been sued once, and we were dismissed from the
case after depositions were taken.
We carry it because many of our clients require it.  We do a lot of work
for the City, County, University, school districts and other such people
who absolutely require it, or you do not get the contract.  
If we did not have a significant amount of our revenue coming from
clients that required insurance, I can assure you we would not carry
it.  It is very expensive, even if you have a good record.


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