As you may know, business liability insurance covers losses related to bodily injury, property damage or advertising injury. But what happens, and who pays, when a printer neglects to catch a typographic error on a large order of engraved wedding invitations? Or when a computer consultant gives bad advice causing financial harm.
Issues like these can be resolved with the purchase of errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Errors and omissions insurance is a kind of specialized liability protection against losses not covered by traditional liability insurance. It protects you and your business from claims if a client sues for negligent acts, errors or omissions committed during business activities that result in a financial loss for the client.
Costly mistakes can happen – even to people with the best training and years of experience. It’s human nature. That’s why E&O insurance is so important.
Errors and omissions insurance definition: E&O insurance generally protects service businesses from errors and/or omissions made by a business owner, employee working on behalf of the company. Once upon a time, there was a distinction between errors and omissions insurance and professional liability insurance. It used to be that doctors and lawyers bought professional liability insurance, while E&O insurance was reserved for semi-professional occupations. Today, the two coverages are generally synonymous.
Who needs E&O insurance? You need errors and omissions insurance if you’re in the business of providing a service to clients for a fee, including printers and insurance professionals, lawyers, accountants and IT consultants.
Errors and omissions insurance policies usually cover the business owner, both salaried and hourly employees, and subcontractors working on behalf of the business.
E&O insurance is typically customized to meet specific needs of a business or industry. For example, a printer has different risks than an attorney does in a standard business day. Both have the need for liability insurance, yet each needs a completely different type of coverage.
What type of E and O insurance should I buy? Errors and omissions insurance policies vary from company to company, and are written to reflect inherent risks and common exposures particular to different types of businesses.
Some events resulting in a loss for a client may have occurred several years in the past, and the first time the mistake is apparent is when a court summons arrives in the mail. That’s when the retroactive date on the policy is very important. The farther back the retroactive date of the policy, the more coverage and protection it offers.
Even if claims are found to be unwarranted, legal fees and other related expenses can quickly eat up a company’s cash reserves in no time, causing a financial hardship. Most errors and omissions insurance policies cover judgments, attorney fees, court costs and settlements up to the limits of the policy.
If you own a business which offers services in exchange for fees, you need a reliable E&O policy.