Publications – Professional Liability Update

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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.
July 2017 “I Agreed to do What?” Indemnity Clauses: The Challenges Faced by Design Professionals – including the impact of Senate Bill 496
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 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 A/E 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 WaysExperienced 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 SenseOver 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 ClaimClaims. 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 TrollsPatent 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: Getting 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 LiabilityMost 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 BewareDevelopers 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 LiabilitiesIn 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 SomeAs 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 PerformanceIt 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 ProjectsToday’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 MaterialsArchitects 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 LiabilityIs 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 WC Class Codes

  • 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 RisksWhat 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 BetterTake 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 AgreementsIt 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
Nov 2009 Managing Risk in a Design FirmIn an industry with tight profit margins, effectively managing risk can mean the difference between the survival or failure of a design firm.ALERT! Employers with 15 or More Employees– By November 21st you must supplement your current EEOC poster by also posting a supplemental poster that provides information about the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

  • 2009 Risk Management Series – Our final Sexual Harassment Prevention Training course for the year takes place on December 4th. Don’t miss out!
  • Live Well, Work – Helpful health and Employee Benefits articles
Sep 2009 Scope of Services – A Profitable Risk Management Tool – A clear and comprehensive scope of services not only reduces your professional liability risks, it can also increase your profitability. Personal Security Safety Tips – Avoid becoming a crime victim – your personal safety requires thought, effort and vigilance.

  • 2009 Risk Management Series
  • Live Well, Work – Health topics courtesy or our Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Jul 2009 Reporting Claims and Locking In Your PL CoverageProfessional liability claims increase during difficult economic times. Learn why, when, and how to report claims to lock in your coverage.

  • 2009 Risk Management Series
  • San Diego Architectural Foundation in the Spotlight
  • Live Well, Work – Health topics courtesy or our Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
May 2009 Managing Client ExpectationsManaging client expectations is key to avoiding unnecessary confrontations, demands and claims.

  • 2009 Seminar Series
  • Sleep Deprivation – Fatigue due to inadequate rest can affect more than the individual
  • Live Well, Work – Health topics courtesy or our Employee Benefits Department
  • Community Bulletin Board
Mar 2009 Finding Condo CoverageEven with good contractual protection, condos can be risky business. ALERT! WCIRB Proposes 24.4% Workers Compensation Rate Increase – A proposed July 1st rate increase underscores the importance of a proactive Risk Management Program that focuses on reducing or eliminating Workers Compensation losses.

  • 2009 Risk Management Seminars
  • 2009 Tax News – New law affects required minimum distributions for 2009
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act Signed
  • 2009 COBRA Coverage Changes – Stimulus Act requires action to implement COBRA changes for 2009
  • Community Bulletin Board
Jan 2009 Prudent Project Selection– Careful project selection is essential because accepting the wrong project almost guarantees professional liability claims.2009 Human Resource Challenges – Are You Ready?– Use HRthatWorks, a powerful Web-based HR tool we provide to our clients.

  • Live Well, Work Well – Tips for cold-weather skin care, and how to make your New Year resolutions stick.
  • Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Cavignac & Associates 2009 Seminar Series
  • AIA Lunchtime Learning CES Program
  • Community Bulletin Board
Nov 2008 Getting Paid in a Slow Economy– Many clients find themselves having to pick and choose who gets paid in these hard economic times. Find out how to make sure your firm is chosen!

  • Decennial Liability – A potential problem for international design firms!
  • Community Bulletin Board – Neighbors helping neighbors in San Diego.
Sep 2008 Top 10 Risk Management Questions Facing Design Firms Today– Read the top ten questions being asked by other design firm, and find out the answers.

  • 2008 FOCUS Seminars – Upcoming seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room
  • AIA Upcoming Events – See a few of the upcoming AIA events for October, 2008
  • San Diego Architectural Foundation – Orchids & Onions is coming November 13th!
  • Community Bulletin Board – San Diego Humane Society’s “Barktoberfest” begins on October 11th
Aug 2008 BULLETIN! The “Obligation to Defend…” and Why You Should Avoid It at All Costs! – Read why a recent California State Supreme Court decision may drastically affect your professional liability coverage.
Jul 2008 CADD Part 2: Contractual and Ownership Protection Read about protections you can build into your contracts to limit liabilities and protect your rights of ownership of your designs.CADD Liability Checklist– A quick, handy list of the most important contractual liability topics

  • 2008 FOCUS Seminars – Upcoming training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room
  • SDAF Film Fest Series – Share an evening of entertainment and intrigue featuring films that highlight architecture and design in one way, shape or form – or another!
  • Sailing for Success – Hosted by SDA San Diego – SDA “Western Regional States Conference
  • AIA San Diego – Upcoming events in August 2008
  • Community Bulletin Board – San Diego Senior Community Centers open new Windmill Thrift Shop
May 2008 CADD Part 1: Dealing with Today’s Liabilities– Along with many advantages, CADD also poses new costs, challenges and liabilities for design firms.

  • 2008 FOCUS Seminars – Upcoming training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
  • SDAF Film Fest Series – Share an evening of entertainment and intrigue featuring films that highlight architecture and design in one way, shape or form – or another!
  • Community Bulletin Board – Summer Events at the San Diego Humane Society; a Monarch School Student Story; more about the San Diego Senior Centers.
Mar 2008 Design-Build Projects: Unique Risks and Rewards– A basic awareness of the financial and liability risks associated with design-build is essential to avoiding unpleasant – or even devastating – surprises.

  • 2008 FOCUS Seminars – Upcoming training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
  • Vision Care: UV Protection – Exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays can damage your eyes – read what you can do to protect your vision.
  • Community Bulletin Board – Information about upcoming events at Senior Community Centers, the San Diego Humane Society, and Monarch School’s Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2008.
Jan 2008 Why Your Clients Don’t Want to Be an Insured on Your Professional Liability Policy– When a client asks to be added to your professional liability policy as a named or additional insured, it’s time for a little client education.

  • 2008 FOCUS Seminars – Training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
  • Driving in the Rain – FAQs about driving in bad weather.
  • The Obesity Epidemic – Learn how to manage your weight effectively and live the healthiest lifestye possible!
  • Community Bulletin Board – Spring events at the San Diego Humane Society, Senior Community Centers, and Monarch School.
Nov 2007 Jobsite Safety – Part 2– Examine the steps every design firm should take to avoid liability for job site safety.

  • 2007 FOCUS Seminars – Training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room
  • Orchids & Onions – Coming November 30, 2007 – nominate your Orchid or Onion!
  • The Facts about Influenza – New strains of influenza combined with life-threatening complications make it a major public health concern.
  • Community Bulletin Board – Provides information about upcoming events, ongoing programs, and how you can help Monarch School, Senior Community Centers, and the San Diego Humane Society.
Sep 2007 Jobsite Safety – Part 1

  • 2007 FOCUS Seminars
    • Training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS RoomTaking New
    • Medications – Points to Remember
Jul 2007 Construction Management – Roles, Responsibilities & Risks – Learn how to identify and manage the additional risks associated with construction management services.

  • 2007 FOCUS Seminars – Training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
  • Professional Liability Agents Network (PLAN) – Find out how our PLAN membership benefits you.
  • What’s Going On at the San Diego Architectural Foundation – Read about ongoing programs and membership opportunities at the SDAF!
  • Summer Safety – Don’t let the hot days of summer threaten the health of your family and pets.
May 2007 First Line of Defense Against Third-Party Claims– Find out what to do about the one-third of claims filed by third parties who are not subject to the conditions of your contracts.

  • California’s AB573 – What Does It Do for Design Professionals? – Is the law a victory for design professionals – or is it open to judicial interpretation? Read the Legislative Digest and actual law.
  • 8 Principles of a Safe Workplace – Workplace safety is not an expense – it’s an asset. Establish an effective safety culture.
  • Play It Safe in the Sun – Protect your children’s future by protecting their skin now.
  • 2007 FOCUS Seminars – Training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
Mar 2007 Limit Your Liability with an LOL ClauseFind out why Limitation of Liability (LOL) clauses remain one of the most effective risk allocation tools available to design firms.

  • 2007 FOCUS Seminars – Training courses available through May, 2007
  • Six Habits of Highly Successful Office Workers
Jan 2007 Proceed Slowly and Surely with Fast Track Projects“Fast Track” or “phased construction” projects are meant to save the client time and money – but make sure quality and detail don’t suffer.

  • Upcoming FOCUS Seminars – Spring training seminars offered in our Downtown FOCUS room
Nov 2006 Meeting the Standard of Care– Proper contract language can avoid an expensive judgment.

  • Negotiating International Agreements – Differences in foreign laws requires special knowledge and extra caution.
  • Upcoming FOCUS Seminars – Training Seminars being offered through the end of the year in our Downtown FOCUS Room.
Sep 2006 Statute of Repose Key to Your Record Retention Policy– Your firm’s defense against professional liability claims rests on its records of what happened during design and construction. Find out how Statutes of Repose offer design firms a stronger level of protection against “stale” claims.

  • BULLETIN! AB 573 Signed into Law – It is now illegal for a public entity to require design professionals to be responsible for more than the consequences of their own negligence. Read the actual wording of the bill.
  • Documentation: If It Isn’t in Writing, It Didn’t Happen – The difference between prevailing or failing in a dispute depends on the quality of your documentation.
  • The Trouble with Arbitration – Has arbitration improved as a dispute resolution process for design professionals?
  • Orchids & Onions Award Program – Reserve your seat for the Award ceremony on November 17th!
  • Accident Investigations – You can prevent or control accidents by understanding the sequence of events leading up to them.
  • 2006 FOCUS Seminars – See a list of Training Seminars being offered through the end of the year in our Downtown FOCUS Room
Jul 2006 A Closer Look at Field Observation Services– Field observation services are key to limiting your professional liability and avoiding future disputes and claims.

  • San Diego Architectural Foundation: Orchids & Onions Reinvention! – It’s back – and it’s better than ever!
  • 2006 Seminar Series – Upcoming Training Seminars in our downtown Training Room.
  • Timely Reporting of Claims and Claim Circumstances – Failure to report claims or circumstances that could lead to claims can jeopardize your coverage!
  • Contractual Risk Transfer Seminar Benefits SDHS – June 2006 seminar raised $1,500 for the San Diego Humane Society.
May 2006 Get Paid Without Counter-Claims!– Read about the contractual measures you can take to help avoid the problem of counter-suits related to client non-payment.

  • Top 10 Excuses for Accepting Unreasonable Risks – Can you relate to any of these? If so, beware – you and your firm are at risk!
  • Personal Ergonomics – Read about the types of ergonomically-related injuries and what your firm can do to alleviate them.
  • 2006 Training Seminars – See a list of Training Seminars being held in our Downtown Training Room during the months of June-July 2006.
Mar 2006 Beware of Unfair Client Contracts– Read how to avoid being saddled with virtually all of a project’s risks – with many of them uninsured.

  • Aggressive Drivers Cause Accidents – Two-thirds of traffic accidents and one quarter of all on-the-job fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
  • 2006 Training Seminars – See a list of Training Seminars being held in our Downtown Training Room during the months of March, April and May, 2006.
Jan 2006 Communicate Early and Often– The leading cause of claims against design professionals is poor communication. See what you can do to eliminate the problem.

  • Tips for Screening Prospective Clients – Read how to detect a problem client before you sign a contract.
  • 2006 Training Sessions – Spring training sessions available at Cavignac & Associates’ downtown training room.
  • Cavignac’s 2005 Charitable Contributions Largest Yet – Many charitable entities benefited from Cavignac staff’s Charity Fund in 2005.
Nov 2005 Business Boom Can Bust Staffing Plans– Overworked staff and backlogged workloads are key red flags when it comes to professional liability dangers. See if alternatives to traditional staffing could solve your staffing woes.

  • General Office Safety Practices – Offices can be hazardous to safety, too. Find out how to keep yours safe.
  • Factors Leading to Increased Healthcare Costs – Find out why U.S. healthcare costs are skyrocketing.
  • Training Seminars – Cavignac Training Seminars for the first quarter of 2006.
Sep 2005 Foreign Intrigue: The Risks and Rewards of International Markets– Although moving to the international market can present attractive growth opportunities, there are challenges as well.Stress Management Checklist– Read how to combat stress.Determining the Validity of an Internet Health Care Site– Use these questions to test the validity of an Internet health care site.2005 Training Sessions Available at Cavignac & Associates – Seating is limited – reserve your space now!
Jul 2005 SPECIAL EDITION:Position Paper: “Attorneys Fees” Clauses – Should They Be Avoided? – Are contractual “attorneys fees” or “prevailing party” clauses really in design professional’s best interest?
Jul 2005 The Importance of Your Professional Liability Application– A thoroughly completed professional liability application affects what you pay for insurance and serves as a self-audit of your business risk management procedures.Fleet Safety – Employer Pull Notice Program – The EPN Program allows you to monitor the driver’s license records of your employees who drive on your firm’s behalf. Use this effective tool to help manage your Total Cost of Risk.
May 2005 Negotiating Insurance Requirements with Your Clients– See how to review and negotiate the insurance terms of contracts you enter into with your clients.

  • Tips for Screening Prospective Clients – Use these “red flags” when screening and negotiating with prospective clients.
Mar 2005 Contract FAQs– Negotiating a reasonable contract up front is a worthwhile investment.

  • Cavignac Supports MS Walk – Cavignac & Associates team members join MS Walk on April 10, 2005 to benefit ongoing research into the causes and cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Health Tips – Burning 150 extra calories a day can significantly reduce the occurrence of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer and others.
Jan 2005 The Basics of Project Selection– Determining which projects to accept may be the toughest decision you make.

  • Do You Ever Use Subcontractors? – A blanket subcontract agreement will put appropriate risk management provisions in place for the contractors you use on a repetitive basis
Nov 2004 Dealing with Under-Funded Projects– Under-funded projects are a major cause of professional liability claims and losses. Take preventative measures to avoid or minimize the risks.

  • Workers Compensation Classifications for Design Professionals – Understand the four design professional workers compensation classifications to avoid overcharges.
Sep 2004 Details, Details – Drafting Your Scope of ServicesReduce your professional liability risks by providing your clients with a detailed scope of services agreement.

  • Scope of Services Checklist – Use this handy tool to draft a reasonable scope of services.
Jul 2004 Limiting CADD Liabilities, Part 2 – Contractual and Ownership Issues – The use of CADD software poses new challenges and liabilities. Build protections into your client contracts to limit liabilities and protect your rights of ownership.
May 2004 Limiting CADD Liabilities: Part 1 – Risks & Remedies– Although CADD increases productivity and enables firms to provide a wider range of design and ancillary services, it also poses new costs, challenges and liabilities.

  • EVERY Project Carries Risk! – Some types of services are less hazardous than others, but every project carries risk!
Mar 2004 Condominium Projects – Insurance Implications for Design Professionals – Although condo projects are ten times more likely to give rise to a claim and loss ratios range from 228% to over 900%, they will continue to be built, and someone will design them. If that “someone” is you, how can you minimize the risk?
Jan 2004 Combating Budget Overruns – Find out how to eliminate the problem of budget overruns.
Nov 2003 A Failure to Communicate– Breakdown in communication between parties causes up to 70% of all claims against design professionals. Read how to improve communication with your clients.

  • Standard Contract Provisions to Consider – Although each project is different, there are certain contract provisions that should always be included.
Sep 2003 What Is the Standard of Care?– Find out how to minimize your risks by defining a sane and sensible Standard of Care in your contracts.

  • The Underwriting Ramifications of Your Web Site – What you put on your Web site can affect the way an insurance underwriter perceives your company, and in certain cases it can elevate your Standard of Care.
Jul 2003 Professional Liability Implications of an Acquisition– Read how to handle the prior acts exposures of the firm being acquired.

  • Acquisition – Insurance Checklist – Use this short insurance checklist prior to an acquisition.
  • Changing the Unchangeable: How to Modify Clients’ Contract Terms – Negotiating Strategies publisher Michael Strogoff offers strategies to use to persuade clients to change their “non-negotiable” contract terms.
  • “Negotiating Strategies” Seminar Raises Money for Local Associations – Seminar raised nearly $7,500 for San Diego’s AIA and CELSOC chapters.
May 2003 Safe at Home with Telecommuting– Know the drawbacks and ramifications of telecommuting from a remote (home) office location.

  • County Gains 4 AIA Fellows – Four local architects join the AIA College of Fellows.
  • 10th Commandment of Loss Prevention: 8 Ways to Avoid Litigation – The final commandment in the series provides a quick anti-litigation checklist.
 Jan 2003 The High Cost of Defense– When it comes to preventing professional liability claims, the best defense is to avoid the situation in the first place. Find out what causes claims, how to avoid them or mitigate their affect on your firm.

  • 8th Commandment: Treat Certifications Like a Bad Neighbor – Guidelines to use for certifications when you can’t avoid them in a contract.
Nov 2002 Risk Considerations for Design-Build Projects– An awareness of the unique financial and liability risks associated with design-build can help avoid unpleasant, even devastating, surprises.

  • Professional Liability Premiums: A Brief History – To appreciate the magnitude of current increases, look back over the past 10 to 12 years.
  • 7th Commandment: Adhere to Contract Terms and Modify ONLY by Written Amendment – Never rely on verbal modifications or contradictions to legal wording in your contract.
  • California State Agency Agrees to New Indemnity Language – The California Department of General Services has agreed to improved wording in the indemnity and insurance clauses of its standard contracts for design services.
  • Your Professional Services Agreement: How Good Is It? – See a checklist of provisions that you should have in your professional services agreement.
Sep 2002 Retaining an Adequate Scope of Services– Specifying a clear scope of services may not only avert serious problems with your clients, but may also help you expand your scope of services on your next project, thereby increasing your fee while reducing liabilities.

  • Scope of Services Checklist – A sample Scope of Services checklist adapted from Case Document 2-1993.
  • 6th Commandment of Loss Prevention: Never Begin Services Until the Agreement Is Completed – It is much more difficult to negotiate terms after work has begun on a project.
Jul 2002 Understanding the Risks of Construction Management (CM)– Examine the various types of construction management, the risks involved, and ways of managing those risks.

  • Fifth Commandment: Be Wary of Scope of Duties During Site Visits – Examine two potential areas of liability on the job site.
May 2002 Two Deterrents to Frivolous Lawsuits– Frivolous or “non-meritorious” claims are made against environmental and design firms all the time. Read about protective measures you can take.

  • The Fourth Commandment: Make Certain That Your Subconsultants Must Live by the Same Rules That You Do – Your agreement with your subconsultants should be discussed contemporaneously with the prime agreement, and its terms should be consistent.
  • Small Firms, Large Claims – Important facts you should know about claims against small firms.
Mar 2002 Setting Your Record Retention Policy– Once a project is done, should a firm keep all or part of the paperwork? And if so, for how long? Issues to consider and solid examples of ways to set your record retention policy.

  • Statutes of Repose – A state-by-state summary of statutes of repose.
  • Do You Ever Use Subcontractors? – Subcontractors are not subconsultants, and require a different agreement.
  • Third Commandment of Loss Prevention: Foresee the Foreseeable – Identify those areas of the contract that traditionally have been a source of liability, and address them in the negotiations and/or the language of the contract.
Jan 2002 “Obligation to Defend” Your Client: Why You Shouldn’t Agree– Find out why a professional liability policy can’t provide a defense to parties other than the design professional.

  • Going Bare – Making the Decision to Drop Professional Liability Insurance – The decision to drop professional liability coverage is a major one. Find out why.
  • Professional Liability Insurance and Additional Insureds – Find out why owners can’t be added as “additional insureds” to your professional liability policy.
  • The Second Commandment of Loss Prevention: Don’t Become the Insurer/Guarantor of the Success of the Project – Avoid contract language that raises the standard of performance or makes you a guarantor of performance.
Nov 2001 Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs: How Much Protection Do They Provide for a Design Professional?– An OCIP is an insurance program designed to cover the jobsite risks of the owner, contractors and occasionally the design professionals and other consultants on a construction project. How much protection does such a policy provide to a design professional?

  • The First Commandment: “Define Your Scope of Services” – Our next 9 issues will feature one of the “10 Commandments of Loss Prevention.” The first, “Define Your Scope of Services,” outlines the need to draft a detailed scope of services that avoids ambiguity and creates a definite and clearly understood allocation of obligations in order to avoid a dispute.
  • Condominium Loss Prevention Checklist – Condominiums are, by far, the most liability-prone projects. However, as increasing numbers of projects are being planned for urban areas, they will continue to be a viable source of business. Here are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Sep 2001 Make Insurance Requirements a Two-Way Street– One of the purposes of a contract is to allocate risk, and the purpose of insurance is to finance risk. Design professionals need to be able to spot impossible or ambiguous insurance requirements often specified in client-written contracts and negotiate reasonable alternatives.

  • Addendum 1 – Design Professional’s Insurance Requirements – These provisions are intended to reflect your current insurance program and provide model language.
  • A Buyer’s Checklist – You have the right to expect more from your insurance company than a policy and a bill.
Jul 2001 Understanding the Risks of Multiple Prime Projects– Why is this project delivery method gaining favor among some clients? Benefits and drawbacks

  • Owners Protective E&O Insurance Coverage – How to satisfy an owner’s request for higher professional liability limits than you carry.
  • COAA a Cause of Concern – Beware the unexpected liabilities design professionals will assume by signing the AIA’s new “Construction Owners of America” forms!
May 2001 Contract Management: Taking the Bull by the Horns– Owner-generated contracts are typically written to favor the owner at the expense of the design professional. Read examples of equitable contract provisions to add to your own master contract or to client-generated forms.

  • No Recession? – See what experts have to say about the future of the construction industry.
Jan 2001 Safeguards When Specifying Materials– The liability related to specifying materials is long term, and may jump up and bite a designer years into the future. Find out more about the dangers as well as safeguards you can use to minimize your exposure.

  • Tips for Handling Substitution Requests – A list of options available to you if another party to the construction suggests substitutions for the materials you specified.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: The State of the Market – In the wake of 12 years of soft market pricing, the percentage of gross income design firms pay for professional liability insurance has decreased by nearly 60%. Find out why rates are now going up, and what you can do to minimize the increase for your firm.
  • What’s Your Contract IQ? – A short quiz to test your contract knowledge.
Nov 2000 Indemnities Again – Part II – Part II examines alternative forms of indemnities that have limited drawbacks, and discusses situations in which you may want to ask for an indemnity from the client
Jul 2000 Indemnities Again – Part I– Beware! A short and innocuous-sounding clause or two lurking in a client-drafted contract may require you to provide an uninsured indemnity; learn how to return to the basic concept of “fairness.”

  • The Growth of Project Specific Professional Liability Coverage – Project specific professional liability insurance is becoming more common for a number of good reasons.
  • DPIC MSC Business Management Programs – Seminars that provide vital information for increasing the value and operational efficiency of your firm.
May 2000 Business Boom Can Bust Staffing Plans– Alternatives to consider regarding staffing and excessive employee workloads

  • AIA denounces new model design professional liability contract – Learn why the AIA advises: don’t sign them.
  • DPIC Management Services Corporation – Upcoming Business Management Program seminars for design professionals
Mar 2000 Four Men and Their Visual Imprints on San Diego– The impact of visual experiences created by four of San Diego’s architectural leaders

  • Statute of Limitations – Develop an understanding of the differences in California’s lawsuit time limitation laws
Jan 2000 Frequently Asked Questions About Professional Liability Insurance – Questions and answers for architects, engineers and environmental professionals
Nov 1999 Limitation of Liability – A Proven Concept – Limitation of liability is a reasonable way to decide the level of responsibility of an architect or engineer
Sep 1999 Frivolous Lawsuits– The defense process can cost a blameless defendant years of frustration and stress

  • California’s Certificate of Merit Provision – The protection provided is as meaningful as a watchdog with no teeth
Jul 1999 Limiting CADD Liabilities – Part 2 – Contractual and ownership issues – protections you can build into your client contracts to limit liabilities and protect your rights of ownership
May 1999 Limiting CADD Liabilities – Part 1 – The risks and the remedies – establish a clear understanding of how CADD files and documents will be delivered and used
Mar 1999 When Owners Demand Higher Limits– There are a number of options that can help appease a demanding owner and not cost you an arm and a leg to provide the needed coverage

  • Have You Been Had? – Tips to detect a fraudulent claim
Jan 1999 Third-Party Liability – Given clients’ propensity for filing claims, you need to be diligent when it comes to client selection
Nov 1998 How “Loss Prevention Literate” Is Your Firm? – When a single claim can mean the difference between profit and loss, and a large claim can spell disaster, it is critical for design professionals to understand how to avoid litigation
Sep 1998 Managing Your Professional Liability RiskEvaluate the effectiveness of your risk management program

  • Test Your Professional Liability Loss Prevention IQ – Do you know as much about professional liability loss prevention as you should? Take this brief test
Jul 1998 Preventing Jobsite Safety Claims– Responsibility for jobsite safety is an issue for design professionals

  • PECG Initiative: Proposition 224 Defeated – California’s anti-competition initiative defeated
  • DPIC Guarantees ACEC Support to California – DPIC offers interest-free loan to cover special PEGC Initiative assessment costs
Apr 1998 Understanding “Claims-Made” Insurance– Explanation of the “coverage triggers” for occurrence and claims-made policy forms

  • Test Your Professional Liability Loss Prevention IQ – Do you know as much about professional liability loss prevention as you should? Take this brief test
Feb 1998 A “David” Customer Can Become a “Goliath” HeadacheA significant number of claims are generated by “small” clients who are often new customers to a design firm

  • Test Your Professional Liability Loss Prevention IQ – Do you know as much about professional liability loss prevention as you should? Take this brief test
Dec 1997 Contract Negotiations – How to achieve a well-written professional services contract