Definitions in a Professional Liability Policy for Architects and Engineers

All Professional Liability policies have a definitions section of the policy.  These are the words that are included in the policies that are either in bold or italicized throughout the policy.  There are just a few definition that will be highlighted here so be sure to review your firm’s Professional Liability policy to know what the definitions are.


Claim means a demand for money or services received by the Insured arising out of a wrongful act or pollution incident in the performance of professional services. A claim also includes the service of suit or the institution of an arbitration proceeding against the Insured.

This is sample wording from one insurance company.  Some insurance companies will require that it is a written demand and some a verbal or written demand.


Insured person:

Insured Person means any natural person who:

  1. is the sole owner of, or is or was a partner in, the Named Insured or Predecessor Firm;
  2. was or is a member of the board of managers, director, executive officer, or shareholder of the

Named Insured or Predecessor Firm;

  1. was or is an employee of the Named Insured or Predecessor Firm; or
  2. was or is an Independent Contractor, provided that such person is acting within the scope of their duties on behalf of the Named Insured or Predecessor Firm.

This definition includes an independent contractor but not all insurance companies will include this as an insured person.  Read your Professional Liability policy to know what is included as an insured person.


Professional Services:

Professional Services” means services the Insured performs for others in the practice of an architect, engineer, land surveyor, landscape architect, construction manager, planner, interior designer, scientist, technical consultant, forensic engineer, expert witness or as defined by endorsement to the Policy.

If your firm provides professional services outside of this definition be sure to check with your insurance company, they may be able to include an endorsement that lists that specific service.


Most importantly, read your policy so you understand fully what each definition of your Professional Liability policy means.  Your PUI Agent is here to help with questions on your policy, please call or email your questions.definitions on policy