Insurance for architects – the blueprint to success

The career of an architect is an exciting one, yet it’s not one without risk. From the ground up, your responsibilities are skyscraper high. Beginning with the first draft sketches to the final inspection of your project, you face the challenge of crafting plans and working on demanding projects where you can be held responsible if something goes wrong. A simple mistake or error is all it can take to send your business and your reputation crashing down.

Having the right business insurance as part of your overall business plan is a solid choice and can help provide the foundations for a successful career. Not only can it protect you and your business, but it also gives your clients peace of mind too.

So, let’s deconstruct the layers of what you need to know about insurance for architects.

Why do I need architect’s insurance?

Within Australia, the architecture industry is regulated by eight states and territories, each with their own Architects Act and registration boards. And with that comes varying Professional Indemnity insurance requirements. It’s important to make sure you have, at the very least, the minimum amount of cover that your state or territory requires.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity insurance should be one of the first projects on your drawing board! Designed to safeguard your business against the financial cost if a claim is made against you for negligence or breach of professional duty whilst carrying out your work it provides cover for compensation awarded to your client or any other claimant as well as costs incurred such as legal and defence cost, claims investigation costs. It can even provide PR costs for when things go a little haywire.  The policy also covers you for the cost of defending disciplinary enquiries.

In the world of architecture, it can take many years for the cracks to emerge, with potential problems appearing long after you’ve rolled up your final plans! That’s why it’s vital to maintain continuous cover or if you are planning on hanging up your architect’s hat ensuring you have a suitable level of run-off cover to protect yourself against claims arising from your previous work.

Public Liability Insurance

If you’re dealing with clients, suppliers, contractors and the general public on a regular basis, there is a chance that something can go awry and the chance of a claim occurring. Public Liability insurance is an essential form of cover to protect you against financial losses that arise from a claim of third-party accidental injury or property damage as a result of your business activities, whether a client trips over in your office and breaks their arm, or you accidentally damage somebody’s property whilst out on site. It will pay for compensation awarded to the claimant as well as your legal and defence costs.

Business Insurance

To bring your creative visions to life, think of the tools you need to get the job done, in particular, your business assets: drafting equipment, laptops, software, mobile phones, etc. Could you afford to replace your valuable items and keep your business running if they were damaged, destroyed or even stolen? Business Insurance provides tailored protection for your contents (including IT equipment) stock and premises against fire, storm, theft, vandalism and accidental damage.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with Business Interruption insurance to help your business get back on track by covering the increased costs of running your business and lost revenue while it is out of action due to an insurable event.

Cyber Liability

There’s a reason why you’re in the business of architecture. You create unique designs that make you stand out from the crowd. But what if a cyber criminal or competitor was to steal your data and your prized intellectual property?

With almost everything stored online, including your personal and client information, there’s a constant risk for potential cyber attacks and data breaches to occur. Statistics show more than 20% of Australian businesses experience some form of cybercrime and 40% of attacks aimed at SME’s., yet is one of the least insured policy areas – don’t become a statistic.[i]

Cyber Liability insurance provides essential financial protection if your system is hacked or you suffer a data breach by covering investigation and data recovery costs, extortion costs, fines and penalties that can be incurred as a result of a data breach, as well as business interruption costs and PR management costs.

A grand plan

Don’t let the thought of arranging your architect’s insurance put you into demolition mode!  Having the right policies and level of cover will help deliver peace of mind so you can get back to drawing up master-plans and dream designs.

[i] Dual, Accessed 2018, https://www.dualaustralia.com.au/underwriting/financial-lines-insurance/cyber-liability-and-privacy-protection

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