Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is professional indemnity (PI) Insurance?

It is an RTPI requirement that practising members maintain Professional Indemnity insurance.

Professional indemnity insurance (sometimes called PI Insurance or PII) gives your business financial protection in the event of claims for alleged professional negligence, errors or omissions. It covers the legal costs incurred in defending a claim, and also the damages awarded to a third party if that claim is successful. It also covers the legal costs incurred in defending a claim, and also the damages awarded to a third party if that claim is successful.

Professional Indemnity insurance is written on a ‘claims made’ basis, meaning that there has to be a policy in force at the time you first become aware of a circumstance or that a claim may be made against you. A claim cannot be submitted against a previous Professional Indemnity policy that was in force at the time the alleged error occurred. 

Once the policy is cancelled or lapses, no cover will be provided for claims that are notified after the point at which the policy has been cancelled or lapsed, unless ‘Run Off’ cover has been arranged.

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Why does a professional need a PI policy?

A professional will hold themselves out as having a special skill, which can be relied upon by another. Consequently, the law requires that the professional exercises the required skill to an appropriate level expected by that profession. Professionals are only human and mistakes do happen.

Any financial loss arising from a mistake or failure by the professional to exercise the required level of skill, may mean that an award is made in favour of a person who suffers a loss, damage or injury. A professional may also be held to be liable for a mistake even though there was no negligence.

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How does liability arise?

The professional person must exercise whatever degree of skill and care is reasonably expected of any competent practitioner in that profession at that time. If a person provides advice or a service to another and carries that work out negligently, they can be held legally liable for the consequences. Normally, such advice or services are provided under the terms of a contract. Liability can arise because there has been a breach of duty of care or a breach of contract. 

Other than in breach of contract, for legal liability to be established, the professional must be shown to owe a duty of care, be in breach of that duty, the breach must have caused a loss and the loss must have been one that was reasonably foreseeable. 

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Who needs to comply with the RTPI Professional Indemnity insurance requirements?

The compulsory requirements apply to any member who is, or who is held out to the public to be practising as, a town planner and who is a sole principal of, a partner in, a director of or a consultant to a firm offering town planning services to the public or any member who undertakes freelance work in their own name, whether for a fee, benefits in kind or free of charge.

RTPI Minimum Cover Requirements:-

Annual Fee Income

 Minimum Limit of Indemnity (Any One Claim)

Maximum Uninsured
Excess
 Below £40,000
 
 £100,000
 
 £7,500 if limit is £250,000 or less
or;
 2.5% of limit, or £10,000, whichever is the greater, if limit is more than £250,000.
£40,000 to£199,999 2.5 time gross annual income
£200,000 or more
£500,000

 

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Who is eligible for cover?

Perkins Slade’s RTPI facility can cater for all membership levels of the RTPI, with the onus being on the practical relevant experience of the individual, rather than membership level.  We therefore look to provide cover for all members of the RTPI, irrespective of membership level, provided they have a minimum of 12 months town planning experience.

Although we are unable to provide cover through this facility if you are not an RTPI member, we may still be able to help in securing a quotation on your behalf, depending upon your circumstances.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this further.

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How long does it take to obtain a quotation?

Quotations can usually be provided within a matter of minutes via our on-line quotation system and will remain valid for a period of 30 days.

However, if the complexity of your business, the activities that you undertake or your cover requirements means that an on-line quotation cannot be obtained, we will need you to complete a proposal form.

Once this has been received, a quotation can normally be provided within five working days unless we need to discuss you application with the underwriter, in which case a slight delay may occur. We would therefore recommend that you approach us at least two weeks prior to the date you require cover, to ensure we have sufficient time to review and quote.

Alternatively please complete the Enquiry Form on the right of this page, should you want us to contact you closer to the renewal date of your current policy.

What should I include in my declared fee income?

Fee Income is gross fees (including VAT) received, billed or to be billed for the provision of your professional services during your last financial year, including any fees that you have received which are paid to sub-consultants or sub-contractors. It does not include any other income which is not related to the provision of your professional services, such as investment income.

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What does the RTPI Professional Indemnity policy cover?

The policy is written on a Combined Liability wording, meaning that as well as providing cover for professional negligence, errors and omissions, it will also include such areas as unintentional breach of intellectual property rights, unintentional libel and slander and unintentional breach of confidentiality.

Breach of contract is also covered, so long as the liability would have attached in the absence of the contract e.g. liability has not been extended beyond that which would have applied under Common Law. Examples of contractual liability that would not be covered include liquidated damages, late delivery penalties, or accepting liability for otherwise unforeseeable economic loss.

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What is classified as "town planning activities"?

Town Planning encompasses a wide range of activities predominantly involving spatial planning, including:

  • Submission of planning applications
  • Appeals against refusal of planning permission
  • Development plan representations at Local Plan Inquiries
  • Examinations in Public
  • Site appraisals and development feasibility studies
  • Development and design briefs
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Master plans and urban design studies
  • Policy research
  • Public consultation and involvement
  • Enforcement notices
  • Compulsory purchase orders
  • Blight notices
  • Certificates of lawfulness
  • Urban regeneration
  • Lecturing and Training

If you undertake any activities not included in this list, please do not hesitate to contact us, as we have the ability to be able to incorporate cover for a number of additional activities such as Project Management and Architectural work, within this facility.

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Who is covered under the policy?

The policy defines the Insured to include each of the following:

  • any person or firm stated in the schedule
  • any current or previous partner, director, principal, employee or member of any firm or company stated in the schedule
  • any other person who becomes a partner, director, principal, employee or member of the firm
  • the estate, heirs and executors and/or legal or personal representatives of any such person

Dependent upon circumstances, the policy can sometimes be extended to provide cover to sub-consultants, subject to agreement with the underwriters. Consideration will have to be given to the consultants’ experience, who is appointing them, whether they maintain their own Professional Indemnity insurance and if so, what limit of indemnity they carry. 

Cover under the Sole Practitioners policy does not include cover for the professional work of anybody other than the Sole Practitioner themselves.

The Underwriters however, will consider extending the cover afforded by the policy in specific circumstances. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your circumstances with one of our dedicated brokers.

Does an excess apply to the policy?

Under the HCC International Insurance Company Plc policy, no excess is applicable to claims arising from standard Town Planning activities. A higher excess may be applicable to claims arising from certain other activities, and these will be detailed in your quotation and policy documentation.

What is a retroactive date?

The retroactive date refers to the date from which work undertaken is covered i.e. a current Professional Indemnity policy with a retroactive date of 1st January 2005, will provide cover for claims arising out of work undertaken on or after 1st January 2005.

If no retroactive date is shown, or if it is noted as ‘None’, the cover is provided relating to all work that you have undertaken previously (subject to that work falling within the scope of activities declared to Insurers). 

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What is Insurance Premium Tax (IPT)?

IPT is a government levy and is charged on all insurance premiums. The current rate of IPT for Professional Indemnity insurance is 6%.

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Can I pay my premium by monthly instalments?

Payment via monthly direct debit instalments is available to members purchasing a ‘Practices’ policy. Premium collections with be handled by our third party premium instalment provider, Premium Credit Limited (PCL).

Instalments are not available to those members purchasing a ‘Sole Practitioners’ policy and the premium and any administration fee must be paid in full.

 

Who are Premium Credit Ltd?

Premium Credit Limited (PCL) are our third party instalment premium provider, who will be passed your details if you wish to pay by this method.

The finance arrangement will be subject to the satisfactory completion of Premium Credit’s documentation, which needs to be returned to them direct.

The first instalment is always due at inception or renewal date, so there may be a need for the retrospective collection of instalments if the relevant forms are not returned and agreed before this time.

If you have any queries regarding your existing finance agreement, please contact Premium Credit Ltd., as follows:

Email:

client.services@pcl.co.uk 

Telephone:   

0844 736 9836

Fax:

01372 746616

Post:

Contact Centre
Premium Credit Ltd
Premium Credit House
60 East Street
Epsom
Surrey
KT17 1HB

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 
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How long does it take to obtain policy documentation?

If you have purchased a policy via our online system, your policy documentation will be e-mailed to you shortly afterwards, and will also be available to you 24/7 in the ‘Your Account’ area of the website.

If you have received an offline quotation from us and which you wish to arrange cover, your policy documentation will be issued within five working days of receipt of all of the following (if applicable):

  • Your written instructions to proceed, and the date from which you want cover to commence if previously unspecified. Email instructions are acceptable.
  • Any required documentation and/or information in accordance with any subjectivities attached to the quotation.
  • Your remittance in settlement of the premium (including Insurance Premium Tax) and any administration fees due.

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Can I increase the limit of indemnity under the policy?

Yes. Please contact us and we will provide you with a quotation to do this. Any increase in premium will be calculated until the renewal date of your policy. In order to make this amendment, we will require you to sign, date and return a ‘No Claims Declaration’ form.

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When should I notify a claim or circumstance?

It is a condition precedent to the Insureds right to indemnity that a claim or circumstance is reported to insurers as soon as possible and in any event within 28 days, and before expiry of the current period of insurance of the receipt, awareness or discovery of:

a) any claim made against them

b) any notice of intention to make a claim against them

c) any circumstance or state of affairs or event which might reasonably be expected to give rise to a claim against the Insured or a claim by the Insured under the Policy.

d) the discovery of reasonable cause for suspicion of dishonesty or fraud

In circumstances which involve an Adjudication Notice, it is a condition precedent to the Insureds right to indemnity that the Insured shall give the Insurer written notice within 2 working days of:

a) the receipt of any such Adjudication notice;

b) the receipt of any indication, whether in writing or otherwise, of an intention on the part of any party to serve the Insured with an Adjudication notice;

c) becoming aware of circumstances in which the commencement of an adjudication involving the Insured is likely.

Any delay in notification will be taken into account by insurers when deciding upon whether indemnity will be granted and, if so, any potential settlement amount. Therefore, it is best practice to notify as soon as you become aware of an issue.

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How do I notify a claim or circumstance?

If you are an existing policyholder and you become aware of a claim or circumstance which should be reported, please click here for further details. 

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Can the RTPI Professional Indemnity policy be cancelled?

Due to the “claims made” basis of cover, policies should not be cancelled, as you would be uninsured in the event of a claim or circumstance arising after cancellation.

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What happens if I cease to trade, or sell or merge my practice?

If you are ceasing to trade, selling your practice, or merging with another practice, you can contact our dedicated team to discuss the options. 

Professional Indemnity insurance is written on a ‘claims made’ basis, meaning that there has to be a policy in force at the time you first become aware of a circumstance or that a claim may be made against you. A claim cannot be submitted against a previous Professional Indemnity policy that was in force at the time the alleged error occurred. 

Once the policy is cancelled or lapses, no cover will be provided for claims that are notified after the point at which the policy has been cancelled or lapsed, unless ‘Run Off’ cover has been arranged.

Run-Off insurance provides protection for claims arising from previous work undertaken by a practice, after they cease to trade.

Please click here for more information on our Practices Run Off Insurance, or here for our Sole Practitioners Run Off Insurance.

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