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Publishers’ professional indemnity insurance

Even small mistakes cause big problems. Protect your work, your reputation and your bank balance with professional insurance for professional people.

All issues covered

Paper is no longer the default publishing medium. Electronic resources are in and you could be behind ebooks, websites, video games – to name just a few.

And that could mean taking on sales and marketing, graphic design, copywriting ...

Good news for your business, bad news for your exposure. A big new audience brings new risks.

Protecting your business against claims of defamation, libel and breach of copyright is a given, but you’ll also want to cover the cost of losing documents and having to withdraw publications too.

If that sounds complicated and expensive, it needn’t be. Publishers’ professional indemnity insurance can cover it all.

Why do publishers need professional indemnity insurance?

Claims against publishers range from a client suing for a missed deadline to a third party alleging a copyright breach.

What would you do if one of these landed on your doorstep? Call your solicitor? Try to fix it yourself? Ignore it?

Difficult decision. Either way, you’re looking at shelling out lots of money, spending valuable time away from your business, and potentially making the situation worse. If only there was another option.

There is. And it’s called professional indemnity insurance. It takes care of the legal side – both the expertise needed and its cost – pays to right what’s wrong, and compensates the disgruntled party too.

Taken at face value, you might think you don’t need it. But of all people, you know not to judge a book by its cover.

How much professional indemnity insurance do I need?

You need to consider the global effect of digital publishing here. Not only does it make claims more likely, it makes them more expensive. A damages claim for unintentional intellectual property theft, for example, will be proportional to the potential (and actual) audience.

You also need to think about what you’re publishing. A specialist text book on quantum mechanics will naturally be seen by less people than, say, the latest Hanya Yanagihara. The potential costs of a claim might well be lower.

But, you can never have too much cover. Defending accusations and allegations of grey areas like IP theft can cost many tens of thousands of pounds. The more cover you have, the less chance there is you’ll have to pay.

It’s a tricky one to get right - have a read of this guide.

What does professional indemnity insurance cover?

Negligence claims and allegations made against you by clients and third parties, because of mistakes you’ve made and things you’ve failed to do.

Specifically (but depending on the policy wording):

  • Defamation
  • Intellectual property infringement
  • Loss of documents or data
  • Negligent misrepresentation or misstatement
  • Employee dishonesty
  • Virus transmission
  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Failure of third-party equipment

But that’s not all. Some professional indemnity policies can fix a mistake before your client is even aware of it, thereby preventing a claim in the first place.

Clever stuff.

What else do I need?

Public liability insurance is for when you go out and about on business, or have visitors to your office. It’s for claims of physical damage to property and people. Useful if you’re clumsy.

Employers’ liability insurance covers your business if an employee sues it for damages. Claims are usually because they’ve suffered injuries and illnesses as a consequence of working for you. It’s a legal requirement for UK businesses with employees.

Office and property insurance covers the things in your office (furniture, plants, fixed IT equipment etc) and portable insurance covers gadgets and technical equipment away from the office (laptops, tablets, projectors etc). If you’re not sure it’s worth insuring, add it all up – it’s probably worth more than you think.

Directors’ and officers’ insurance covers your company bosses. Anyone from regulators to shareholders to competitors can accuse you of not running a business with due care. Worse, directors are personally liable for their actions. The good thing is this insurance covers your defence costs and any compensation you have to pay. So you can put away your chequebook.

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