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Professional indemnity insurance claims: the accountant

01/02/2012

Welcome to another real-life professional indemnity insurance claim story: this one involving an accountant.

This one’s a bit different though, because it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. It's written by the policyholder, and for the sake of confidentiality, we’ll call them NumbersUp Accounting.

We like it because it gives valuable insight into what a potentially ruinous professional indemnity insurance claim against your business feels like. It also shows that it needn’t be the end of the world if the worst does happen.

Over to you, NumbersUp.

Name and shame

I was too embarrassed to call my broker at first! It was hard to admit that I’d made a few minor mistakes which had snowballed into a claim for £6,000 in damages. What do I say? How do I report it? What will they think of me? Am I even covered?

After worrying about it all weekend, I bit the bullet first thing Monday morning and phoned PolicyBee. I spoke to Jane who was really understanding and sympathetic from the offset. We talked through everything from start to finish and she gave me step-by-step instructions as to what I needed to do next.

I sent Jane a short chronology of events and copies of all the emails and letters I'd received from my client. She told me to sit tight and that said she'd get back to me in a couple of days once she'd discussed everything with the insurer. I didn't hear anything for a few days but sure enough, as promised, I received a call on the Thursday morning confirming that I was covered. It was like music to my ears.

Real value

I wrote a letter to my client (with the help of the insurer) asking for a full breakdown of costs so we could establish exactly what I needed to claim for. As it turns out, the rectifying accountants had put additional fees on for work they'd done after I'd stopped working on the accounts. The insurer responded with a prompt proposal for a significantly lower sum which, to my surprise, my client accepted.

The whole claim was settled within three weeks of my first phone call and I could finally put the whole sorry situation behind me. I can't believe that I got in such a state about reporting the claim to my brokers! I always thought that professional indemnity insurance was a waste of money and I never really understood what it covered me for but I wouldn't be without it now.

I also now know how important it is to have someone on your side who knows what they’re doing, and who’s prepared to fight your corner. I’m sure all insurance brokers would do the same but unfortunately you won’t find that out until you have to make a claim.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.

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