Brick wall degraded

Professional Indemnity Insurance

What is Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI Insurance) is designed to assist professionals that provide advice and services to customers in the event of a claim alleging breach of professional duty or misconduct.

For structural engineers, professional indemnity insurance helps protect a structural engineer from bearing the full cost of defending a negligence claim and the damages that could be awarded in a tribunal or court case. The negligence claim could be made in relation to faulty designs, partial failures or even building collapse.

Even if the engineering professional successfully defends a claim, the costs involved in preparing a defence against allegations can be financially oppressive.

Is Professional Indemnity Insurance Compulsory?

In Queensland, the Board of Professional Engineers advises that Professional Indemnity Insurance is not compulsory. Read Here. However I strongly recommend that all structural engineers carry PI Insurance with a minimum value of $1 million dollars.

Happy Engineer at Work
This Engineer is Protected by Professional Indemnity Insurance

How does Professional Indemnity Insurance help Customers?

Professional indemnity insurance gives customers peace of mind.

If you’re about to engage a structural engineer, find one that carries PI Insurance.

Mind you, professional indemnity insurance is a last line of protection for a professional structural engineer. A lot of things have to go wrong for a policy to be enacted:

  • A mistake has to be made.
  • It has to be missed by all those concerned with the design and construction process.
  • It has to be supplied, built and checked off by installers and suppliers.
  • The fault has to be detected by either a failure or early signs of failure.

All through this process, communication and feedback process needs to be broken or stilted. However mistakes still get made and still get built. Insurance is still required!

Should My Engineer have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Professional Indemnity Insurance, like all types of insurance, is expensive and so not all structural engineers in Brisbane and Queensland carry professional indemnity insurance.

Cornell Engineers has a current Professional Indemnity Insurance policy. I think structural engineers that carry insurance show that they care about their customers.

Would you ever NOT insure your house? No. To me it doesn’t make sense to have your home designed, renovated or repaired by a professional that doesn’t carry professional indemnity insurance. So the answer is YES. Your structural engineer SHOULD carry professional indemnity insurance.

Does your Structural Engineer Carry Insurance?

Ask if your structural engineer has a current professional indemnity insurance policy.

When you check your structural engineer’s Certificate of Currency:

  • it should be in date
  • it should have a limit of indemnity greater than your project value
  • it should specify the type of work the structural engineer is protected for

It’s your right and PI Insurance is for your protection. Insist your structural engineer has it.


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