Professional Liability Policy Features & Benefits

Schinnerer has been serving the design professional community since 1957, longer than any other insurance company. Our coverage continues to evolve to meet design professionals' needs with new and enhanced coverage features and benefits.

Coverage Feature


Coverage Benefit

Broadly defined professional services


The Schinnerer policy's definition of professional services is one of the broadest in the industry. Unlike most carriers that predicate their coverage around the firms ‘legal qualification to perform', our policy bases the coverage on being ‘part of the firms practice'. It is not limited to only licensed design professionals and is extremely broad to include construction managers, interior designers, LEED consultants, scientists, technical consultants, and many other construction service firms.

We don't qualify coverage with the term "negligent"

          Negligence doesn't need to be alleged for our policy to respond. Our duty to defend responds to an error, omission, or other act that causes liability in the performance of the insured’s professional services.  This can include statutory liability in certain circumstances.  

Prior acts

          Schinnerer's base policy covers past services back to the founding of the insured’s company subject to all normal policy terms and conditions. Other carriers use a specific retroactive date that precludes coverage for all services provided prior to that date.

Consent to settle provisions without penalty


Schinnerer's policy requires the insured’s consent before we settle a claim. Other insurance carriers offer this provision, but follow it with a hammer clause. This means they cap the policy’s claim payout and defense fund to the amount of the settlement offer.  The insured is liable for any additional dollars incurred for indemnity or expenses that exceed the recommended settlement. The Schinnerer program has no such language or limitation on claims paid. 

Damages are not limited by a definition

          Schinnerer’s policy does not define "damages." We intentionally left this term undefined so as not to limit the kinds of damages that may be paid under the policy. An example of language that many of our competitors include in their definition is an exclusion to cover would be multiplied damages.
Reduced deductibles for firms with best practices           Schinnerer has compiled a list of basic risk mitigation practices available for firms with up to $20 million in gross annual billings. If these proactive measures ultimately help us resolve claims to the insured’s benefit, their deductible is reduced by 50 percent (up to a maximum credit of $25,000) if they can demonstrate their firm’s use of these best practices.

Intellectual property


The policy doesn’t contain on intellectual property exclusion. If an infringement is committed in the course of performing professional services, our policy will respond with a duty to defend the claim.

Libel, slander, disparagement discrimination form

You cannot prevent how plaintiffs will make a claim. The inclusion of additional allegations around libel, slander and/or disparagement are always a possibility. Although many policies may not cover those allegations, the Schinnerer policy covers those allegations that arise from professional services.

Pollution liability

          Our coverage has expanded to address the firm’s liability to pollution incidents. Coverage extends to incidents in the course of transportation, offsite disposal or at the insured’s covered location.  The policy's pollution coverage helps firms more readily meet contractual requirements by offering automatic additional insured status for pollution liability where required by contract. Proactive coverage for mold and fungi provides an extra degree of security for firms with exposure to HVAC, remediation or waterproofing.  

Rectification coverage

          Rectification coverage is a unique coverage, provided by Schinnerer. It is a first-party insurance that covers the design professional, who has assumed responsibility for construction, and incurs costs in correcting a design defect discovered after construction has started. With this coverage in place, a design professional that has assumed responsibility for construction, either directly or through a subcontracted general contractor, has the funding to correct design errors and keep the project moving without having to wait for a third party to file a delay claim. It can help resolve a circumstance faster and avoid animosity between the insured and their client. This helps firms in the Schinnerer program confidently bid on design-build projects knowing they have an insurance solution if there is a bump in the road.
Client-specific software and hardware
          Software, hardware and other technology services incorporated as part of a client-specific design are included as covered services. Some competitors do not include these services or may apply additional limitations and/or exclusions to coverage.

Deductible incentives


The policy offers an early resolution credit for design firms that quickly resolve disputes. If negotiation of a claim takes place within 180 days and the claim is resolved, the deductible will be reduced by 50 percent or up to $10,000, whichever is greater.  This provides firms with another way to share in the savings as a result of earlier resolution. 

Supplementary payments


We added additional coverages to assist when a traditional claim becomes nontraditional. To help firms protect their reputation in the event of a crisis, the policy pays 50 percent up to $30,000 per crisis event subject to annual max of $50,000 per policy year to retain a public relations firm.  This coverage may even be invoked by the mere fact that you have a claim or pollution incident. 
If the insured is brought up on disciplinary proceedings due to the complications of practicing in multiple states or for any other reason, we will reimburse the policyholder up to $25,000 in aggregate per policy year for attorney fees and other reasonable costs. We also have added coverage to protect your firm if you are subject to regulatory or other administrative actions under the Dodd-Frank Act, including allegations that your firm acted as a municipal advisor in the performance of your professional services.  The policy pays up to $50,000 per policy year for legal fees and expenses.
The Schinnerer policy continues to provide per-claims assistance.  Until a claim is made, the carrier will pay for all costs and expenses they incur as a result of investigating a circumstance. Additionally, we increased defendant reimbursement coverage to $500 per day subject to a maximum of $15,000. ADA, FHA and OSHA supplementary payments have also increased to $35,000.

Automatic extended reporting period


The policy offers a death or disability extended reporting period (ERP) as well as a non-practicing ERP. The death and disability ERP protects the policyholder's estate, heirs, and executors and administrators at no additional cost. The non-practicing ERP is available if the policyholder retires or voluntarily ceases their practice and has been insured with Schinnerer for at least 10 consecutive years. A 10 year ERP for 250 percent of the prior policy premium may be purchased. 

International Coverage

The policy will cover insureds wherever their services take them. The policy responds to claims made both in the US and abroad.  Many competitors require that claims be brought in the United States or Canada for the policy to respond.

Some foreign jurisdictions will not accept negligence based policies.  Generally these are countries who have strict or statutory liability standards for practice.  In those countries where a frirm's liability is predicated solely on contractual liability, the policy will cover contractual liability.

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