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Insurance for Engineers
Whether a small consultancy or a large engineering firm, the work of engineers is constantly under the spotlight. No matter how careful and exact an engineer is, their work is constantly scrutinized by clients, leaving the chance of facing a lawsuit alleging negligence or failure to render professional services. Engineers cannot afford to take this risk - and that is where engineer insurance can help.
Engineers Need to Be Protected
With every project you touch as an engineer, you play a critical role in ensuring the safety and functionality of the end result. No engineering project is without its risks: a single mistake or accident can cause costly delays, safety concerns or financial losses for you or your client. Before a project is complete, it's touched by many people in many disciplines, and mistakes can be made at any point in a project's timeline. But as the engineer, there's a good chance you'll be drawn into any disputes related to your projects.
The professionals we insure include (but are not limited to):
- Building Inspector
- Civil Engineer
- Project Manager
- Control System Integrator
- Electrical Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Industrial Engineer
- Interior Designer
- Landscape Architect
- Transportation Engineer
Can an employed engineer be sued separately from the engineer's employer being sued?
As a general rule, when an engineer negligently performs services on behalf of his firm or employer, the individual allegedly suffering damage from the engineer's negligent performance may sue the company and/or the individual engineer. Typically, in the case of an engineering firm in private practice, the firm's professional liability insurance carrier will respond to claims against any past or present principal, partner, director, officer, or employee acting within the scope of their duties. In some cases, the firm or company may choose to self insure and agree to indemnify its employees for negligent acts, errors, or omissions performed within the scope of their duties.
In all cases, the issue of who signs or seals the drawings, plans, or specifications is not necessarily relevant to whether the engineer and/or the firm will be found negligent. Instead, the courts generally look to whether the engineer owed a duty to the individual suffering damages and whether the engineer breached the duty, causing all or a portion of the damages.
Engineering Insurance Options
Engineer Professional Liability Insurance
It only takes one miscalculation to cause a costly delay, safety concern or problem that will need expensive repairs later. If you get sued over mistakes in your work, your legal and other expenses can multiply exponentially. Professional Liability coverage protects your engineering business if one of your clients should claim that you're the cause of its financial loss.
For example, a designer misinterprets your renderings and orders costly materials that are not going to work with your plans. Your mutual client is upset and sues both of you for professional negligence and demands that you reimburse him for the useless materials.
Engineer General Liability Insurance
Unfortunately for every business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased. A general liability insurance policy that is designed for engineers can prevent a legal suit from turning into a financial disaster by providing insurance protection in case your business is ever sued or held legally responsible for some injury or damage.
For example, a client accidentally trips on his way to review your designs. As a result of the fall, the client suffers a serious cut that requires stitches. General Liability insurance pays the high costs of a lawsuit or settlement, including defense expenses; bond payments; the income you lose while you're in court; and any judgments and settlements, including required interest and medical expenses for an injured party.
Workers Compensation Insurance for Engineers
Workers Compensation Insurance is designed to help engineering companies pay benefits to employees who are injured on the job. In most states, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage. Even in non-mandatory states, it can be a very good idea, particularly if you have many employees, or if they are engaged in hazardous activities.
Inland Marine Insurance
Any engineer who regularly moves expensive materials, equipment, or supplies from one job site to another job site should have some type of inland marine insurance. This way, in the event of an accident, the goods or materials being shipped are protected separately from your auto policy.
An umbrella insurance policy plugs holes in your existing coverage. It provides additional protection that kicks in when the primary engineering insurance coverage has been exhausted.