Surveyors policy cover

Surveyors Professional indemnity policy wordings can differ widely and you should always refer to your schedule and read the policy wording to ascertain the full level of cover provided and any significant exclusions, however, the RICS mandatory requirements ensure that the limit of indemnity will be ‘each and every claim’. Legal costs incurred by insurers will usually be payable in addition to the limit of indemnity. The excess will not normally apply to insurers’ own costs and expenses. When on a civil liability basis (unless specifically excluded – which is rare) cover would include negligence, libel and slander, breach of warranty of authority, etc.

The policy will normally include the costs of claims arising from the loss of documents, unintentional breach of copyright, libel or slander.

The cover will normally also be included for awards made by the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme, the Surveyors and Arbitration Scheme and adjudications made under the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. The cover will also be given for defence costs – for example, those incurred in dealing with investigation and defence of proceedings brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act, The Estate Agents Act and The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994. There will normally also be cover for costs incurred for representation at tribunals and hearings.

In most cases, the policy will include cover for the loss of money or property (other than that of employees) which arise as a result of an employee’s dishonesty.

Typically, policies will exclude:

  • Surveys and valuations unless they are undertaken by a suitably qualified person (RICS, ISVA, FFAS, RIBA, RIAS), someone who has five years’ experience of such work, or other people provided they are supervised by a suitably qualified professional and permission is obtained from the insurers.
  • Claims brought by firms, where the partners / directors have a controlling interest unless the claim emanates from an independent third party. Please note that some wordings have a much wider exclusion than ‘controlling interest’.
  • Any claims arising from Asbestos unless the claim relates to rectification and redemption or if the claim arises from any diminution in value of the buildings or structures, then the claim will only be dealt with provided it arises from a survey or valuation undertaken by the insured and that the survey or valuation has been conducted in accordance with the RICS practice statement. No indemnity is given in respect of any damage to property / land other than the property being worked upon by the insured and there is no coverage at all for bodily injury claims. The cover can be negotiated on specific cases but do check the level and degree of cover available.
  • Claims arising from pollution. The exclusion does not apply to negligent design or specification, or failure to report a structural defect in a property. However, the cover would then be limited to the cost of redesigning, re-specifying, remedying and / or rectifying the defective structure, but shall not include the cost of remedying and / or rectifying any loss or damage to land, (in other words, they will not pay for clean up costs). Again, pollution cover can be bought from some insurers but do check the level and degree of cover available.
    Other exclusions will include Employers and public liability, North American and Canadian jurisdiction, Nuclear risks, Claims and circumstances known at the inception of the cover, Onerous collateral warranties.