|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.
|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.
|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.
|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!
|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.
|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.
|A Dozen Steps to Avoid Third-Party Liabilities Each party owes a duty of care only to those with whom it has a contract.
|Green Technology/Green Design: It’s a Go. Find out why green design is going strong.
|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.
|Make a Resolution: Only Use Written Contracts! Don’t accept any project lacking a written contract between client and designer.
|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.
|How to Handle a Pre-Claim Incident When is a professional liability claim not a claim? When it’s a pre-claim incident.
|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.
|Workers Compensation Insurance Unveiled – Read our article to understand the ins and outs of WC coverage and how you can manage your premium costs.
|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.
|Duty to Defend – Passage of Senate Bill 496 and What That Means to the Design Profession in California
|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.
|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.
|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.”
|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.
|Seven Crucial Client Contract Clauses: Part II This issue examines the additional three clauses that should be included in your contracts.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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?
|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.
|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?
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Measuring Your Risk Management IQ
|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”.
|Get It in Writing: Avoid Verbal Contracts
|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.
|Changes to the Workers Compensation Class Codes – Applicable to Architects and Engineers
|Negotiating Client Form Agreements
|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.
|Managing Jobsite Risks – What design professionals do – and don’t do – on the jobsite are crucial to your firm’s risk management efforts.
|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!
|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.
|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.