Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Professional?

Any skilled person of an established professional discipline who gives advice or services to another person who relies on that advice or service. This means that people outside the 'traditional' professions, such as lawyers, doctors and accountants may be considered a Professional. For example IT consultants, interior designers, engineers and real estate professionals to name a few.

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What is Professional Indemnity insurance?

Professional indemnity insurance is designed for professionals who provide advice or a service to their customers. The coverage is specifically designed to protect a professional against legal costs and claims for damages to third parties which may arise out of an act, error, omission or breach of a professional duty owed to a third party in the course of your professional business.

Professionals are generally considered to be experts in their field and they are commonly held to have a higher duty of care than an ordinary person. If a professional makes a mistake or fails to render their services correctly in the course of their business and this mistake results in financial loss or injury to a third party (e.g. a customer), that customer may take legal action against them to recover their losses.

Approximately 10% of professionals suffer allegations of non-performance from their customers each year. These allegations may not have any substance but they will need to be defended. Defending against such an allegation is not only expensive but can cost the professional time and can damage their reputation. If things do go wrong the professional could be held responsible not only for their own actions, but for those of their partners, employees or volunteers.

A Professional indemnity insurance policy safeguards professionals by providing cover against such claims, including the cost of defending the action. At Complete Online Insurance our incorporated legal practice stands ready to assist our customers.

A Professional Indemnity insurance policy provides cover not only for the insured's business, but also any principal, employee, director, partner or related entity whilst acting within the scope of their duties.

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What is Public Liability insurance?

Public liability insurance covers professionals for loss or damage that a third party suffers (or claims to have suffered) as a result of the Insured's business activities.

This insurance provides protection against legal liability, including defence costs, in the event that someone is injured or has their property damaged while the insured's business is providing a service to them. This type of insurance covers incidents that occur not only in the business premises but also at external locations.

1. ...and Products Liability?

This is usually included in the insured's Public Liability policy and is important if the insured sells products or equipment to customers. It will provide cover for claims for bodily injury or property damage arising from the failure of goods sold or supplied by the insured's business.

2. ...and why do I need it?

In every line of work there is always the potential for something to go wrong - accidents happen and when they do, the Insured can be held liable. Regardless of the size of a business, Public Liability claims can be incredibly costly, and even if the Insured's business is not at fault, they may still incur considerable legal costs while defending themselves.

Most contracts entered into by professionals with their customers will require them to have Public Liability insurance and it has become increasingly common for landlords to insist their tenants carry Public Liability insurance. The landlord may also request that they be noted as an interested party on the Public Liability policy. Complete Online Insurance allows our customers the flexibility to add interested parties during the quotation process.

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What does a Civil Liability Professional Indemnity policy wording cover? Is it broader than a 'negligence' wording?

This policy indemnifies the insured for claims arising from any civil award imposed by a civil court (as opposed to criminal liability or penalties enforced by a criminal court). A Civil Liability Professional Indemnity policy wording is broader than a 'negligence' wording as it will indemnify the insured for claims arising from strict liability where no negligence is involved.

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What is a 'claims made and notified' policy? How does it differ from an 'occurrence' policy?

Professional indemnity insurance is a claims made and notified policy. This means that any fact, situation or circumstance that may result in a claim needs to be notified to the insurer within the period of insurance. The actual error or alleged error could occur at any time if there is retroactive cover under the policy, but if there is no retroactive cover (such as with a start up operation) then the error or alleged error must occur during the period of insurance. The insured must not have had any prior knowledge of the fact, situation or circumstance before the period of insurance.

Public Liability insurance, on the other hand, is an occurrence policy. This means that the fact, situation or circumstance that may result in a claim must occur during the period of insurance but the notification of the fact, situation or circumstance can be provided at any time.

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What is a retroactive date?

This is the date after which acts, errors or omissions of the insured are covered under the policy.

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What does a 'costs inclusive' and 'costs exclusive' excess mean?

A costs inclusive excess means the policy excess applied to legal and defence costs, and so the insured must pay such costs if they are within the excess amount.

A costs exclusive excess means the policy excess does not apply to legal and defence costs, the insured only pays the policy excess towards the settlement of any claim.

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What is continuous cover?

Continuity of cover is basically a loyalty bonus. If a professional who was insured with an insurer for uninterrupted successive periods notifies the insurer of a claim or circumstance in a subsequent period which should have been notified in an earlier period, then that claim will be covered under the latter policy but subject to the lowest limit of indemnity of the two applicable policies. Non-disclosure issues and known circumstances exclusions will not be raised. Prejudice, due to the delayed notification, may be taken into account in the adjustment of the claim.

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What is the difference between territorial limits and jurisdiction?

These terms are often confused. The territorial limit refers to the place where the act, error or omission occurs. The jurisdiction refers to the country, state or territory where the claim will be resolved. The courts of that country, state or territory have jurisdiction in any claim or dispute under the policy.

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What is an automatic reinstatement?

The limit of indemnity in a professional indemnity policy is a limit on the total amount to be indemnified for all claims in the policy period. The automatic reinstatement allows this total amount to be applied again once the first limit is exhausted, for a separate claim or claims. The limit for any one claim remains the limit of indemnity in the policy.

An example is a policy with a $2,000,000 limit of indemnity with ONE automatic reinstatement. This allows the insured to be covered for two claims during the policy period of $2,000,000 each, or a first claim of $2,000,000 and then two claims of $1,000,000.

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What is a known circumstance? Why is it important to notify the Insurer about all known circumstances?

A known circumstance is any fact, situation or circumstance that a reasonable person in the Insured's profession would have thought may result in a claim against them. If a claim arises after the inception date of the policy from a fact, situation or circumstance that the insured knew or ought to have known at the inception of the policy might give rise to a claim, it would normally be excluded as it was from a "known" circumstance.

It is important to notify the insurer of all circumstances that might give rise to a claim during the policy period. The insured can get the benefit of Section 40(3) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, which provides the insured with the right to notify a circumstance (or 'potential' claim) to an insurer during the period of insurance, even though a claim has not yet formally arisen. If a claim then eventuates against the insured from the notified circumstances, then the insurer cannot deny indemnity, despite the fact that the claim arose outside the period of insurance.

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How do I get a price?

You enter the required information on the online system and your pricing options will show immediately. If you prefer to speak to an Underwriter, contact us on 1300 663 097 and we can assist with a quote over the phone for you. We will then email the quote to you for your review.

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How do I get my policy documents and proof of insurance?

If you are happy with the price you can buy instantly online. The policy documents will appear immediately on the screen and will also be emailed to you.

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Can I choose the date my insurance will start?

Absolutely. We offer quotes up to thirty (30) days in advance, they are stored for you and you can return at any time in that thirty days to buy online.

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Do I have to buy an annual policy?

We offer a minimum 12 month policy but to assist our clients, we can also provide a policy up to 18 months.

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How do I pay?

We accept VISA, MasterCard, Diners Club and AMEX (subject to a credit card surcharge). You pay online over our secured payment page directly to Macquarie Bank.

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Can I view my policies online?

Yes. Your quotes and policies are stored online. You simply visit, select login, enter your email and password and your details are available. If you have forgotten your password, you can easily select 'forgotten my password' and a new link will be emailed to you to reset the password.

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Can I cancel the policy?

Of course.

(a) You may cancel this Policy at any time in writing to Us. Upon receipt of such request We will retain a monthly pro-rata proportion of the premium as at the date of notification of cancellation or the proposed cancellation date whichever is the later plus we will retain the original administration fee (if applicable) calculated on inception of this policy.
(b) We may cancel this Policy in accordance with the Insurance Contracts Act 1984.
(c) If there has been any Claims made under the Policy no refund shall be given.

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Can I make changes to the policy?

Yes. Simply phone us on 1300 663 097 and we will make the changes for you. If you are increasing the policy coverage an extra premium may be payable by you, alternatively if you are reducing the cover a return premium may be payable by us.

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