As a general rule, the phrase ‘it’s my fault’ is being eroded from modern discourse, as concepts such as accountability become increasingly old-fashioned. This is particularly true in nations such as the UK and the US, where a culture of blame and compensation has gripped society and influenced the way in which we treat one another as individuals.
Arguably, the prevalence of compensation culture has grown in a climate of economic uncertainty, in which people are increasingly likely to sue and seek financial remuneration for professional lapses in judgement. While this may be understandable to some, it creates an extremely corrosive and dangerous environment for professional service providers such as solicitors, while it also erodes basic human principles such as trust and integrity.
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The Threat Facing Solicitors and the Need for Indemnity Insurance
For those who work as professional solicitors, it is simply no longer viable to serve private clients without first taking out additional protection. This is available in the form of professional indemnity insurance, which is a critical overhead that can simply not be ignored in a poisonous and odious culture of blame.
So what exactly is this financial product, and how does it work? Consider the following: –
Understanding professional indemnity insurance
Essentially, professional indemnity insurance protects those working within a sector offering important advice and services. It basically covers you if something goes wrong with the work you supply or because of any advice you provide. Even the most competent professionals can make mistakes and unfortunately when that happens, you leave yourself wide open to negligence claims regardless of whether they are balanced or just.
Solicitors are particularly vulnerable to negligence claims, hence why this type of insurance becomes so important. In fact, it’s a legal requirement for solicitors to have professional indemnity insurance cover, which at least protects practitioners from the most frivolous claims in the modern age.
Why it matters, now more than ever
So why is it so important for solicitors to have professional indemnity insurance? Well, without it you could literally find yourself out of business. If you do make a mistake or are believed to have breached protocol and have a negligence claim is brought against you, the legal fees would be significantly high. If you don’t have a lot of spare cash lying around, you could end up being forced out to enter administration. So financially, it’s important to have the right level of cover.
It also matters to your reputation. When clients choose to use your advice, they want to know they are covered in case something goes wrong. Say you were to provide the client with incorrect advice which ends up having a seriously negative impact on their life – they would expect a lot of compensation! If you weren’t covered, you’d be unable to provide this and your reputation would seriously plummet. A client is also much less likely to choose you if you aren’t insured.
Remember, blame culture changes the way in which we perceive others and the service providers that we choose to partner with, so it is important to safeguard your professional advice in the face of hostility.
Also, as mentioned earlier, professional indemnity cover is a legal requirement for actively working solicitors. So, if you don’t have it you’re essentially breaking the law and the repercussions of that are severe!
One thing you need to know is that where you get your professional indemnity cover from is equally as important as having it in the first place. No two insurers are equal.
Overall, professional indemnity insurance is something all solicitors need, regardless of what area of the law you specialise in. Be sure to take out the correct amount of cover too and read through the policy terms and conditions before signing, as this is a crucial requirement often overlooked by professionals.
Ideally, of course, we would live in a world where trust and integrity were Omni-potent and professional indemnity insurance was an unnecessary evil. This is not the case, however, and this type of financial product will remain in high-demand for as long as blame culture continues to dominate our society.