Architects Insurance Massachusetts Policy Information
Architects Insurance Massachusetts. As an architect, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision progress from a concept to a draft to a permanent structure that people will use and enjoy for decades. But of course, no architecture project is without its risks: a single mistake can result in costly delays or even structural problems that can have devastating consequences. And in our litigious society, lawsuits have become commonplace.
Architects design buildings and other structures, such as bridges, dams, entertainment complexes, highways, and marine facilities. They may design renovations for existing buildings. The architect is hired by a client to prepare plans and construction documents, including all the detailed specifications. The details include the type and grade of construction material and the size, space, location, and grade of land.
The final plan must meet the client's requirements and budget while being aesthetically pleasing. While architects often use the services of engineers, they may also be trained as engineers to confirm or develop the specifications of detailed portions of a project, such as rules, codes, environmental impact, and life safety regulations.
Some municipalities require any renovation work to meet historic preservation construction techniques. Once construction begins, the architect often consults and monitors the operation, and is available for clarification, advice, and updates or modifications to the original plan. Landscape architects, in addition to assisting landscape contractors, may also advise city planning departments.
Architects insurance Massachusetts coverage not only pays judgment costs, it can prepare you for a lawsuit by paying defense costs.
Architects insurance Massachusetts protects your firm from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Professional Liability Insurance For Architects
One of the biggest risks you have as an architect is that of mistakes that you might make. This could be a simple mistake whereby miscommunication was involved, but you are held responsible for any property, physical or financial damage it caused. Such mistakes will easily dissatisfy your clients who will not hesitate to file a lawsuit. If that happens and you don't have architects insurance Massachusetts as part of your insurance package, you could be facing financial disaster.
Professional liability insurance, also referred to as errors and omissions, covers the cost of defending your business against allegations of professional negligence (such as giving your client incorrect or wrongful advice) and if unsuccessful, the cost of damages awarded against you. Examples of incidences where you may need professional liability coverage are:
- Misinterpretation of renderings: Your designer misinterprets the renderings and orders expensive materials that can't work with your plans. This upsets the client and he demands you reimburse him for your professional negligence.
- Negligence on design of industrial new build: Design failure of industrial distribution warehouse. The building is incapable of housing a refrigeration plant because of incorrect design of the internal load bearing roof.
- Inadequate supervision: Architects instructed to give specifications and supervise the renovation works of a church roof. After the contractor went 'bust', the roof failed following heavy rains and it was subsequently discovered that work done by contractor was not up to mark. You are still held liable for inadequate supervision.
When searching for an architects insurance Massachusetts policy:
- Make sure you read your policy documents carefully and that you understand any exclusions that may apply.
- Try to find out what level of professional indemnity insurance your clients might expect before you buy. This cover can be very important for architects, with standard requirements as well as special project measures to consider.
- Insurers sell errors and omissions insurance on a claims-made basis, meaning the policy must be in effect at the time that someone makes a claim against it. So even when a building is complete, it's wise to carry your policy for at least a few more years - ex clients may make claims at any time).
Business Insurance For Architects
General Liability: This provides coverage for two types of claims: property damage and bodily harm to third-parties. The claims come from clients, subcontractors or employees. For uninsured firms, such claims can result in dire financial consequences. Architects insurance Massachusetts provides cover for your legal liability in the event of third party property damage (e.g. ladder falls onto a car) and/or bodily injury to a member of the public.
Commercial Property: Helps protect the place where you do business - whether it's a building in an office park or an historic home you've converted to an office - and the tools and equipment you use to conduct business, like drafting and design equipment, model building tools, and furniture - whether you own or lease them.
Workers Compensation: MA workers comp protects your firm against the cost of compensation arising from claims made by employees or contractors as a result of illness or injury at work. Workers compensation insurance is required by labor law in most states for any non-owner employees.
Umbrella Insurance: Also called excess liability insurance, is exactly what it sounds like; it's a safety umbrella to cover and protect you in the event of an emergency. An emergency in this case would be any tragedy that would cost your firm beyond your existing coverage limits. This architects insurance Massachusetts policy extends the limits of some of your underlying g liability policies with a single premium.
Individually extending the limits of multiple insurance policies can significantly increase each premium you pay for those plans. However, when you invest in umbrella insurance, you pay a single, smaller premium and typically receive more coverage than you would have otherwise. Umbrella insurance will cover the remainder of any settlement above and beyond what your current policy will pay.
Massachusetts Architect's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is limited due to lack of public access at the office location. If clients visit the premises, they must be confined to designated areas. To prevent slips, trips, or falls, all areas accessible to clients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition.
The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. Off-site exposures include job sites and clients' offices. There should be policies and training as to off-site conduct by employees.
Professional liability exposure is extensive. The types of jobs accepted require varied levels of knowledge and expertise and determine the potential for loss. For example, bridge design will require a different type of knowledge than designing a one-family dwelling. The loss potential should a bridge collapse could be catastrophic due to the possibility of bodily injury and property damage.
The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employee's accreditations, education, and licensing, including verification of continuing education requirements, permit clerical workers to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval. Customers can suffer financial loss due to construction delays and cost overruns.
Workers compensation exposure will vary based on the type of job. Since work at the office is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Some firms have significant off-site exposures, primarily to inspect job sites and projects underway, which may include bridge work, oil derricks, and housing developments. Architects can be injured off sites by slips and falls, falling objects, falls from heights, electrical panels, and wiring, construction machinery, flying debris, noise, and automobile or aviation accidents. Protective equipment may be required.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access. All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing, should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures involve accounts receivable if the firm offers credit, computers, special floaters for equipment taken to job sites, and valuable papers and records for clients' information, completed architectural designs, and drawings in progress. The computers are extremely sophisticated and specific for each job and may have custom programming. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. All software and data should be on backup disks and stored off site. Paper drawings should be stored in fireproof cabinets.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned and rental exposure. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
MA Architects Insurance
While insurance can't eliminate the challenges involved in your daily work, it can help you if a customer blames you for problems that occur within the project. The right architects insurance Massachusetts plan, from standard business insurance to liability coverage and professional indemnity insurance for architects, is very valuable.
Massachusetts Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are thinking about starting a business in the Massachusetts, it's important that you have an understanding of the economic trends and commercial insurance requirements in the state before you set up shop.
Economic trends are important, as they indicate whether or not the area offers a strong economy that will be able to support your business. You also need to know what type of commercial insurance you'll need to carry so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that you are complaint with the law.
To help you determine if the Bay State is the right location for the business you are thinking about opening, below, you'll find an overview of MA's current economic trends, as well as the types of insurance policies you'll need to carry.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Massachusetts
Unemployment rate is a good indicator of a state's economy. The lower the rate, the more job opportunities there are, which is direct reflection of the health of businesses.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 2.8% in December, 2019. That's 0.7% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% in December, 2019. This indicates that the state offers a strong workforce and that there are enough jobs to support the residents of the state.
While regions throughout the area are seeing business growth, there are certain areas in particular that are seeing more growth than others. This includes large metropolitan areas and the regions that surround them, including:
- New Bedford
Several industries are doing very well in the state of Massachusetts; however, there are particular sectors that are seeing more growth than others and are truly thriving in this part of the country. These industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Commercial fishing
- Financial services
- Hospitality tourism
- Information technology
- Medicine and life sciences
If you are thinking about starting a business in any of these industries, chances are good that you will find the success you are looking for in the state of Massachusetts.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates insurance in MA. Massachusetts mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Massachusetts requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors, but employees in domestic service must be covered if they work at least 16 hours a week.
Massachusetts also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- Financial Planner
- HR Consultant
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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