Pre-Claim Assistance on Professional Liability for Architects/Engineers
What is pre-claims assistance and why should my firm use it?
Pre-claim assistance is a program that most Professional Liability insurance companies provide. The insurance company will pay for reasonable fees, costs and expenses for the investigation of a potential claim reported by your firm. These are not fee disputes with your client. These are indications of a potential claim which may include a written or verbal accusation to make a claim, a realization that there may be some basis for professional negligence or a claim filed against your client in correction with professional services your firm provided.
While most firms are hesitant to report these types of situations but a pre claim report actually can be quite beneficial. The insurance companies may facilitate claim repair, mitigate claim exposures and help your firm to avoid adverse publicity associated with the litigating a claim. Additionally, this may help maintain the relationship your firm has with your client. Also, pre-claim assistance does help circumstances that could potential turn into an actual claim.
Specific situations that you may want to consider reporting a pre claim are written or verbal threats to make a claim from your client, subpoena for documents or testimony, actual errors or omissions (even though an actual claim has not been reported) and if you are worried about how a project has been in general.
Remember the insurance companies are there to help in any way possible. If there is something that has occurred on a project that you think may turn into a claim contact your agent or insurance company. If you are not sure if it is a pre-claim situation contact your insurance agent or the insurance company and provide details of the situation. If you do have questions please call or email your Professional Underwriters agent.