An important issue has come to light in recent days that I feel I should share with you. There are reports that the profession is being targeted by insurance brokers looking to establish themselves as specialists in architects’ professional indemnity insurance.
To entice new business, the names of various architecture practices are being widely circulated in marketing campaigns as that broker’s clients. However, it has been brought to our attention that some of the architecture practices are not the particular broker’s clients after all.
As you may be aware, since 1974 the Institute has fully owned an insurance broking company, IBL Limited (IBL) trading as Architects and Planned Professional Risk Services (APRS).
APRS have advised that it does not use this type of marketing practice which publicly discloses its client base for two reasons. First, such a disclosure may be considered an affront to the commercial confidence between broker and architect, particularly if the disclosure is being made without the permission of the practice being advertised. Second, such information in the public domain may negatively affect an architect’s (or their insurer’s) ability to successfully negotiate commercial resolution of a claim, by a client attempting direct access to the architect’s insurer and confidential information it holds. Inaccurate statements about who a practice’s insurer is, only exacerbates the problem.
I recommend that members carefully investigate the credentials of insurance brokers and the accuracy of their representations before making any decisions about purchase of professional indemnity and business insurances. It is important that both your professional indemnity insurance cover is adequate to your business needs and that you are comfortable with your broker’s/insurer’s services.
If you have any concerns about the way in which your insurance business is being sought, or your practice details are being disclosed, then I would suggest that you contact your current account manager or broker in the first instance, or alternatively, the Insurance Ombudsman Service, by:
- Phoning 1300 780 808
- Writing to GPO Box 3, Melbourne Vic 3001
- Visiting www.fos.org.au
David Parken, CEO
Australian Institute of Architets