For industries with a high claim risk Professional liability insurance

Comprehensive basic insurance with individual industry solutions
Assistance with regard to defense against unjustified claims
Specialist expertise as the largest provider for liability insurance
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Key points at a glance
  • For occupations with a high level of responsibility: Whether you are a doctor or lawyer – for occupations in which small errors can have far-reaching consequences, professional liability insurance is essential. 
  • Necessary protection: In some cantons and for certain occupational groups, professional liability insurance is mandatory. 
  • Comprehensive insurance protection: Professional liability insurance covers compensation payments for justified claims and the costs of averting any unjustified or excessive claims.

Who needs professional indemnity insurance?

Professional liability insurance is indispensable for all professional groups for which the smallest negligence could be of serious consequence. Especially if you also have a high risk of being able to cause third parties economic loss with your work – as is the case with fiduciaries or representatives of other advisory professions. Losses caused that are purely of a financial nature are among the specially insured risks of a professional indemnity insurance.

What the law says

For many professions, professional indemnity insurance is absolutely essential: For attorneys, doctors or architects, for example, a wrong assessment can lead to serious consequences and at worst entail personal liability with their total assets. To meet the claims of third parties in the case of a loss event, there is therefore a so-called security obligation for professions that involve special responsibility: This obligation can be meet either with professional indemnity insurance or a suitably high amount deposited in a blocked account.

What does professional indemnity insurance cover?

In addition to protection against bodily injury and property damage and their financial consequences, policyholders of AXA's professional indemnity insurance also have protection against pure economic loss. This can include, for example, the erroneous advice of a tax advisor or an attorney missing a deadline – and both instances can quickly cause damage to the tune of several million francs. The sum insured by the insurance therefore varies greatly depending on the industry and the associated risks.

Insured losses

Basic coverage of professional indemnity insurance includes not only justified claims for loss events arising from damage and consequential damage to persons and property, but also real economic loss. The insurer also assumes the cost of defense for excessive or unjustified claims.

Economic loss: Loss of revenue, bad investments, or a financial disadvantage through misinformation are among the typical economic losses caused to third parties that are covered exclusively by professional indemnity insurance.

Insured risks

Occupational and operational risk: If an engineer makes wrong calculations, or an attorney misses an important deadline, if documents are lost, files not studied attentively, or a process is conducted in error – these situations are all considered to be risks specific to operational processes as well as activity and omissions that are covered for insureds of professional liability insurance.

Premises and environmental risk: As with commercial third-party liability insurance, risks from the ownership of property, buildings, or facilities as well as environmental hazards from facility, operational, or professional risks, are also insured.

The insurance does not cover

  • Claims of the policyholder or of others in the same household
  • Damages caused intentionally or that were to be expected with high probability
  • All claims in connection with the activity of an insured person as a member of the executive management or board of directors are not included, but can be covered, however, with directors' and officers' liability insurance.

What additional benefits are available?

The basic coverage of AXA professional indemnity insurance is already broad, but can be supplemented when needed to include tailored insurance protection. This makes sense, for example, if your own company also operates in the US or Canada, or the policyholder bears responsibility as a director or officer of the board of directors or another legal entity.

Coverage can be extended to also insure individual special risks of a professional activity. Some examples:

Optional extension of coverage 

  • Protection against financial loss caused in your company by your employees through criminal or other intentional acts, for example embezzlement.
  • Extension of geographical scope to include the law of the US and Canada (for attorneys, fiduciaries, and advisory professions)
  • Reliable legal protection in criminal, supervisory, or administrative proceedings (for attorneys, fiduciaries, and advisory professions)
  • Extension of benefits to double aggregate per insurance year (for attorneys, fiduciaries, and advisory professions)

Optional directors' and officers' liability insurance 

If executive employees, members of the executive management or the board of directors of a joint-stock company (AG) act negligently or make decisions that are not in the interest of the company, they can be held personally liable according to the law, but at the same time cannot draw on their own personal liability insurance. In the role as a legal entity, policyholders can only protect themselves and their personal assets against the economic consequences of a case of joint and several liability with directors' and officers' liability insurance. Within the scope of professional indemnity insurance for attorneys, fiduciaries, and other advisory professions, there is also the option of insuring individual mandates through the professional indemnity insurance as supplementary coverage – provided these mandates are taken on within the scope of the insured’s business activity and not privately. You can find more information on directors' and officers' liability insurance here.

Professional liability insurance by professional group

  • For doctors

    Even when the highest level of care is exercised, errors leading to substantial claims for damages can occur in the day-to-day work of doctors. For this reason, medical professionals in occupations requiring university-level study are legally obliged to have professional liability insurance. It enables you to defend yourself against unjustified claims and protects you against the financial consequences of justified claims for damages through malpractice, for example.

  • For attorneys

    Professional liability insurance covers attorneys if, for example, claims for damages are made as the result of incorrect advice or missed deadlines. It provides coverage in the event of claims for damages made by clients and is mandatory for self-employed attorneys.

  • For financial service providers

    Financial market regulation (FinSA / FinIA) contains requirements concerning the insurance coverage of financial service providers. AXA provides you with an insurance package that is specially tailored to these requirements: professional liability, directors’ and officers' (D&O) liability insurance, and fidelity insurance can be combined according to your needs.

    This way, you can be confident that your coverage is compliant with the law – and you benefit from attractive combination discounts on your insurance premium: If you take out further modules of the AXA insurance package for financial service providers (D&O and/or fidelity insurance) in addition to a professional liability policy, you will receive a premium discount of 15%. Members of the Swiss Association of Wealth Managers (SAM) receive an additional 10% discount on the total premium. 

    Request a personal quotation online now or find out more in the SAM member area (in German). 

  • For fiduciaries who offer auditing services

    In the fiduciary and auditing business, protection against liability claims is a basic requirement. AXA's professional liability insurance for fiduciaries who offer auditing services is ideally tailored to sector-specific risks. The following areas of activity are insured in addition to classic fiduciary services:

    • Activity as internal auditor
    • Tax advice
    • Management consultancy
    • Real estate administration
    • Activities as liquidator, administrator, or non-official bankruptcy administrator for execution proceedings
    • Protector of trusteeships or trusts
    • Member of a creditors’ committee
    • Estate executor
    • Legal advisory
  • For IT service providers

    Hardly any sector is changing and growing as quickly as the information and telecommunications industry. Taking prompt action is essential for reliable risk management. Professional liability insurance exists to prevent a moment of inattention from turning into a financial burden for an IT company. It reliably protects all insureds from the financial consequences of a failure to fulfill contractual obligations adequately.

    The insurance covers the following activities, among others:

    • Planning, developing, producing, and maintaining software and networks
    • Operating and organizing a data center, and providing cloud- or web-based services
    • Providing services such as analysis, consultation, and training as well as expert opinions
    • Telecommunications services
  • For advertising, public relations, and marketing service providers

    In day-to-day business, mistakes and momentary lapses in attention can have far-reaching consequences and lead to significant claims for damages. This also applies to service providers in the areas of advertising, public relations, and marketing. Professional liability insurance provides insureds with reliable protection against the financial consequences of a failure to fulfill contractual obligations adequately, or at all – and covers the following sector-specific risks, among others: 

    • Failure to notice printing or color defects in the prospectus samples delivered by the printer 
    • Placing advertisements in the wrong publication 
    • Breaching competition rules 
    • Infringement of copyrights when designing advertising materials 
    • Omitting to publish an advertisement 
    • Publishing advertisements that have been designed or written in a way that is not compliant with the customer’s instructions 
    • Failure to notice deficiencies when giving approval for printing 
    • Inadvertently deleting third-party data due to an operating error

Support and frequently asked questions

  • What is the difference between professional indemnity and commercial third-party liability insurance?

    Both insurance types overlap in some areas. The difference: Companies that can be held liable on account of their operational activity need commercial third-party liability insurance, while professional indemnity insurance is the right solution for those who can be held liable for breaches of professional duty or for pure economic loss caused by their professional activity.

  • Who should take out directors' and officers' liability insurance?

    Policyholder and premium payer is the employer as a legal entity. However,  the de facto directors and officers themselves are covered. So, for example:

    • Members of the board of directors of a joint stock-company (AG);
    • Members of the administration of a cooperative;
    • Managing director of a limited liability company (GmbH);
    • Association board members;
    • Trustees;
    • Members of executive boards and senior management (including interim managers);
    • Founders of a GmbH or AG;
    • Employees assigned de facto director or officer functions;
    • Liquidators, in the case of voluntary liquidation. 

    You can find more information on directors' and officers' liability insurance here.

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