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RE: E/O Insurance

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I think that most people know how I feel about E&O. If you have it, you
will be sued. If you don't then most legal firms won't name you because
you may have little or nothing to offer. However, there are times when
clients require E&O and I try to avoid these.

I went to a doctor's office today and had to sign a form indicating that
I would arbitrate first to avoid a law suit. The form is more and more
common - including mediation and arbitration. It isn't cheap but it
tends to lead to a more reasonable solution. I don't know how legal it
is, but I attempt to limit my liability to the cost of the contract. 

While all of this is said, I think that in nearly twenty year of private
practice, the reason I have not been sued is because I am willing to fix
any problem that may have been the result of my error or my omissions on
the drawing. Also, pre-construction meetings are an important tool for
making sure that it is the responsibility of the contractor and his or
her subs to understand the drawings.

Another thing is to avoid conflict with the owner by contracting with
the owner so that you have a better chance for a working relationship
rather than to be cut to pieces by his or her contractor who has
developed a working relationship that includes trusting their judgment
over yours.

Gosh, the reason this is important to me is that I am in dispute with an
owner because I won't accept the truss package that was submitted. The
plan reviewer was sharp enough to compare the truss package to the
structural drawings and details. The truss package submitted was created
before the structural plans. Although it was the wrong package, I am
going over their revised package which I received only after the
drawings were submitted and these contain many mistakes as well. 

I have to spend a few hours of unproductive time to document the truss
errors so that I will be able to cover my butt with the owner, his
contractor and the truss company. The owner is upset because he is being
charged each time the truss company runs a set of calculations. I don't
agree with this but the owner believes me to be "biased" against the
truss company and I am having trouble convincing him that I am the only
one protecting his family and him from the failures that might occur if
the trusses are designed the way they were submitted to the building
department and me.

Bottom line - do right by the client, document your efforts and as long
as you have not made an insurmountable error resulting in harm to life
safety, there should be no reason to sue if a problem arises.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 3:58 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: E/O Insurance

I feel twinges of guilt and uncertainty sometimes for "going bare."

Then I read things like this, and I don't feel so bad.

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Turk [mailto:73527.1356(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 7:59 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: E/O Insurance

So, one of the "Big Two" is discontinuing professional liabilty
for Architects and Engineers.  IIRC, this firm was created in the early
to provide competitive rates as an alternative to *the* big carrier,
CNA/Victor O. Schinerer.  Does this mean that E&O rates for small
firms will once again touch the 12 to 15 percent of gross annual
billings as
it once did? 


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