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Articles|August 06, 2020

Professional Liability Articles

By Cavignac

July 2020 Returning to Work/Restarting a Project COVID-19 related restrictions are being slowly lifted. Here are a list of recommendations to consider in order to successfully and safely return to work.
May 2020 Cybercrime in the COVID-19 World The COVID-19 world presents significant challenges for all businesses. large and small. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when planning your cyber security.
Mar 2020 Addressing Liabilities from the Coronavirus Pandemic Here are three specific ways the Coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting design and construction operations and creating potential liabilities and losses for all parties involved.
Jan 2020 20 Questions for 2020: Testing Your Risk Management Vision for the New Decade  It's time to test your 20/20 loss prevention for the new decade!
Nov 2019 Cyber and Other Risks of the Work-From-Home and Remote Employee Learn ways to protect your company and your remote employee from the risks inherent with work-from-home employees.
Sept 2019 The Duty to Defend: A Unique Insurance Coverage You May Want to Evaluate  Find out how to fill the gap for what is not covered by your Professional Liability practice policy.
July 2019 A Dozen Steps to Avoid Third-Party Liabilities Each party owes a duty of care only to those with whom it has a contract.
May 2019 Green Technology/Green Design: It's a Go. Find out why green design is going strong.
Mar 2019 Upgrading Your Cyber Security Ransomware. Social engineering attacks. Fileless, zero-footprint assaults. Security breaches. Fund transfer fraud. These dangers may fall under the umbrella of cyber liability.
Jan 2019 Make a Resolution: Only Use Written Contracts! Don't accept any project lacking a written contract between client and designer.
Nov 2018 Avoiding Driver Ineligibility and Controlling Your Auto Insurance Premiums  Find out how to handle the situation if one of your employee drivers has a poor driving record.
Sept 2018 How to Handle a Pre-Claim Incident  When is a professional liability claim not a claim? When it's a pre-claim incident.
July 2018 Professional Liability: What Limits Should I Carry? Do I Have the Right Deductible? While there is no one right answer, there are various factors that need to be considered.
May 2018 Workers Compensation Insurance Unveiled - Read our article to understand the ins and outs of WC coverage and how you can manage your premium costs.
Mar 2018 Ready or Not, Here Comes IPD - Integrated Project Delivery (IPD): the concept sounds ideal. Let's take a look at some of the key factors that are impediments to IPD's widespread application.
Jan 2018 Duty to Defend – Passage of Senate Bill 496 and What That Means to the Design Profession in California
Nov 2017 Consider Your Condo Conundrum - Within the residential sector, condominiums, townhouses and similar multi-resident complexes have been in particularly high demand. However, these multi-resident complexes, condos specifically, are by far the riskiest type of structure to design when it comes to professional liability.
Sept 2017 The Rules and Risks Regarding the Commercial Use of Drones Get to know the operational rules to ensure you have appropriate safeguards, including proper insurance, to cover any losses and liabilities.
May 2017 Standard of Care: A Moving Target Any architect or engineer familiar with the basic principles of risk management knows about the concept of the "standard of care."
Mar 2017 Social Engineering Fraud on the Rise Unfortunately SEF is growing at a rapid pace. Find out how you can best protect yourself and your company.
Jan 2017 Seven Crucial Client Contract Clauses: Part II This issue examines the additional three clauses that should be included in your contracts.
Nov 2016 Seven Crucial Client Contract Clauses: Part I Find out which critical language needs to be included in your contracts. Part II to follow in January.
Sept 2016 Duty to Defend: What This Means to Design Professionals Find out which contractual assumptions of defense are not insurable by an Architect or Engineer's Professional Liability policy.
July 2016 Delay Claims, RFIs and Change Orders - When a party to the project suffers a loss of time, money and/or materials due to another party not meeting project schedules and delaying work, you can bet that the plaintiff in the case will seek to recover those losses.
May 2016 Limitation of Liability Continues to Gain Acceptance For decades, professional liability specialists have urged design professionals to include Limitation of Liability clauses in their client contracts as an effective method to reduce risks and, in turn, lower the size of their insurance premiums.
Mar 2016 Selecting the Right Professional Liability Insurer There are distinctive and important differences in what various insurance carriers offer. Usually, you get what you pay for.
Jan 2016 Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About Employee Crime Finding out that trusted, long-term employees have been stealing from the company through embezzlement, fraud or other illegal activities is like taking a sharp blow to the stomach.
Nov 2015 When Your Client Says “Stop!” Most projects begin with great optimism but not all fairy tale beginnings have a happy ending. Read more to find out what to look for and how to protect yourself and your firm.
July 2015 AE Joint Ventures: A Liability Challenge Why should a design firm consider entering into a joint venture? What are the major keys to success and warning signs of failure?
May 2015 Staffing Decisions Impact Liability Exposures  After years of struggling to keep staffs fully employed, some firms are now stretched thin and considering bringing on new hires.
Mar 2015 Fast-Track Projects: Full Speed Ahead  In specifying a fast-track project, clients typically have a single purpose: to save time and money by compressing the project schedule. But is this a good idea?
Nov 2014 Court Decision Increases Design Duty to Third Parties - The California Supreme Court has opened the door for design professional liability to third parties for purely economic damages even where there is no contractual relationship and no property damage or bodily injuries.
Sept 2014 Insurance Requirements Go Both Ways - Experienced clients often present a list of insurance requirements for their architects and engineers. As design professionals, you must be prepared to address unrealistic or ambiguous insurance requirements in client-drafted contracts.
July 2014 Indemnities, Part II: Where Agreements May Make Sense - Over time, the fairness concept behind indemnification has been corrupted. Part II of this report examines alternative forms of client indemnities.
May 2014 Indemnities, Part I: Getting to “No”- Indemnity agreements between design firms and their clients can present a minefield of liability risks. Your goal is to get to "No" and remove indemnities from your client contracts.
Mar 2014 How to Report a Claim - Claims. They are why you buy professional liability insurance. Taking swift and appropriate action at the first sign of a project upset is critical to minimizing damages and triggering the full extent of your PL coverage.
Jan 2014 Multiple Risks with Multiple-Prime Projects - Some of today's sophisticated project owners are choosing to contract directly with multiple prime designers and contractors. This multi-prime method can have benefits for design firms, however, it does present new risks.
Nov 2013 Beware of Patent Trolls - Patent trolls typically prey on small and mid-size companies, those most likely to be intimidated by a demand that says either pay the licensing fee or we'll see you in court.
Sept 2013 The Check is in the Mail: Get Paid Without Getting Sued - When money is tight, it is often the design professional who is last in line when the owner is handing out the dollars. Find out how to protect yourself and your business.
July 2013 50-Million-Plus Reasons to Fear Fiduciary Liability - Most design professionals are aware they are exposed to professional liability claims due to their negligent acts, errors or omissions. However, what many don't realize is that they can also be exposed to fiduciary liability.
May 2013 A Condo Comeback? Designers Beware - Developers are reviving plans for condo and combined condo-commercial developments and searching for design firms to help take these projects to completion. What better time, then, to remind architects and engineers of the substantial professional liability (PL) risks that condos can present.
Mar 2013 Jobsite Safety Part II: Three Keys to Avoiding Liabilities - In the traditional design-bid-build method of project delivery, the general contractor is held primarily responsible for jobsite safety. The design and environmental firm's risks, rights and responsibilities have been muddied.
 Jan 2013 Jobsite Safety Part I: You Win Some, You Lose Some - As innovative and collaborative project delivery methods continue to gain popularity in the design and environmental industry, traditional roles continue to blur.
Nov 2012 The Standard of Care: Setting the Bar for Your Performance - It is no secret that clients file the vast majority of claims against design professionals. Managing client expectations is key to avoiding these unnecessary confrontations, demand and claims.
Sept 2012 Tight Budgets, Limited Credit Lead to Underfunded Projects - Today's stagnant economy has made projects scarce and access to capital difficult. Learn how to minimize the headaches of an underfunded project.
July 2012 Why You Should Choose Mediation - Imagine a confidential dispute resolution technique based on finding common ground and resolving disputes quickly and inexpensively while preserving business relationships and reputations.  That technique is mediation.
May 2012 Managing Your Professional Liability Costs: Things to Consider The professional liability insurance marketplace remains competitive. Although the tide may be turning, the good news is that the industry has significant surplus (but the bad news is the insurance Industry as a whole has had dismal results the last 3 years). What this means is that while most insurance companies are trying to increase rates 5-10%, there is still enough competition to keep pricing relatively flat for preferred risks.
Mar 2012 Comprehensive Scope of Services Boosts Bottom Line Drafting a clear and comprehensive scope of services has long been recognized as an important tool in reducing your professional liability risks. Often overlooked, however, is that a complete and accurate scope of services can also boost your bottom-line profitability. By itemizing all of the valuable services you provide to clients and including a list of additional services you recommend, you increase your chances of getting adequately paid for your contributions to a successful project.
Jan 2012 Reducing Risks When Specifying Materials -Architects and engineers face a constant challenge of keeping current with new developments in construction technology and materials. When there is a significant change in the construction industry, such as the trend toward sustainable or green design, that challenge intensifies. Suddenly you are asked to comply with a new set of construction standards and owner expectations, and there may be scant history to rely upon as design guidelines. Over time, these developments become the new standards of care with which you must comply when specifying materials.
Nov 2011 Actions That Can Increase Revenues and Profits-In today's economy, where projects can be rare and budgets tight, it is critical that you achieve adequate fees for all of the valuable services you deliver. You also need to take steps to help ensure that the project is adequately funded so that you receive full payment for the services you have agreed to provide.
Sep 2011 Communication: The Key to Avoiding Claims - The quality of communication between you and your client is perhaps the single greatest determinant in whether your project will result in a claim. Read our September 2011 Professional Liability Newsletter Update to learn best practices for client communication, and how it can improve your bottom line.
Jul 2011 Measuring Your Risk Management IQ

  • 2011 Risk Management Seminar Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work Well - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Position Paper The “Duty to Defend” Your Client - An indemnification agreement contractually transfers risk from one party to another. In typical owner/design professional agreements, owners require design professionals to hold them harmless and indemnify them. On many occasions owners will also request a defense. We have always advised our design professional clients against accepting the express obligation to defend, since in the absence of proven negligence, this is not considered insurable under typical policy provisions applied to architects and engineers. Read this special bulletin for more information on why you should resist the "Duty to Defend".
May 2011 Get It in Writing: Avoid Verbal Contracts

  • 2011 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work Well - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Mar 2011 Decennial Liability - Is your business considering performing work internationally? Are you unsure of what kinds of coverage you might need? The March 2011 issue of our Professional Liability Update newsletter discusses foreign exposure issues and more.

  • 2011 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Jan 2011 Changes to the Workers Compensation Class Codes - Applicable to Architects and Engineers

  • 2011 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Nov 2010 Negotiating Client Form Agreements

  • 2010-11 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Sep 2010 Prevailing Party Contract Clauses Yes or No  - Our article discusses the many pros and cons regarding the use of "prevailing party" contract clauses.

Designer's Dilemma: How Does a Design Professional Lien Work? - This lien remedy has been established exclusively for licensed design professionals for cases in which design work has been performed, but no actual construction of the planned improvement takes place.

  • 2010 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Jul 2010 Managing Jobsite Risks - What design professionals do – and don't do – on the jobsite are crucial to your firm's risk management efforts.

  • 2010 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars.
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
May 2010 Value Engineering: the Good, the Bad, and the Better - Take a close look at the good and bad of Value Engineering to see how you can make the process work well for your design firm. NEW! 2010 Design Professionals Series - A list of seminars and Webinars produced exclusively for the design professional!

  • 2010 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars through July 2010
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Mar 2010 Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) - The IPD concept is sound, but implementation is not so simple. Read why communication becomes a crucial factor in any IPD attempt.

  • 2010 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars through June 2010
  • Refunds into Bonds - A new option allows taxpayers to use tax refunds to purchase U.S. Series I Savings Bonds
  • Live Well, Work - Health topics courtesy of Cavignac & Associates Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board - Neighbors helping neighbors in San Diego
Jan 2010 What You Need to Understand about Indemnification Agreements - It is common for design professionals to be asked to indemnify their clients not only for their own negligence, but for their clients' negligence as well. Not only is this unfair, it is also uninsurable under a professional liability policy.

  • Warning! Over-the-Counter Medications Can Do You Ill - Sometimes cold or flu remedies and work are not a good mix
  • 2010 Risk Management Series - A list of our upcoming Risk Management, Human Resources, and Loss Control seminars through March 2010
  • Live Well, Work - Assistance with Assisted Living
  • Community Bulletin Board - Neighbors helping neighbors in San Diego

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