Professional Indemnity Insurance is especially important for artists whose practice has been affected by the Covid-19 “lockdown”
At this time of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, many artists are being asked (and expected) to change how they/we work. Some of our Scottish Artists Union members are being asked to teach and present workshops online. Some of our members have had talks, exhibitions and public art contracts postponed or cancelled. Our members’ insurance package includes Professional Indemnity Insurance which is especially important for artists whose practice has been affected by the current circumstances.
As a Scottish Artists Union member you have Professional Indemnity Insurance coverage included as part of your membership package, payment for this coverage is included in your annual membership fees.
What is professional indemnity insurance?
Professional Indemnity insurance protects a Scottish Artists Union member from legal claims for compensation from customers or third parties as a result of a negligent breach of professional duty in the undertaking of their work as an artist.
It can offer cover if you need to pay compensation to correct a mistake or settle a claim, and can also cover your legal defence costs.
Even though you may strive to deliver an impeccable service to your clients, mistakes do happen. Professional Indemnity Insurance is designed to protect you against the cost of dealing with a claim from a disgruntled customer. Whether that’s due to a project overrunning or strategic advice that ends up losing a client money, it’s important to ensure you’re covered should an error occur.
For example, you may be faced with paying compensation to a client if they make a claim of:
- negligence – being careless in your work, such as giving bad advice or making a mistake
- infringement of intellectual property rights – for example re-using third-party content without permission
- defamation – making false or damaging claims about a person or organisation
- breach of confidence – sharing confidential or commercially sensitive information without consent
How does it work?
A couple of examples for what Professional Indemnity Insurance would cover:
- You made some recommendations to a client regarding a Public Art Strategy. The client made business changes based on the advice you gave them. The changes didn’t bring the benefits they expected and cost them money. So they make a claim against you for compensation. Professional indemnity insurance would cover the claim for compensation, plus the costs of defending or settling the claim.
- You share a case study about a former client in a presentation at a conference. Afterwards that former client makes a claim against you for defamation, alleging that you made a false statement about them, and demands you pay compensation. Professional indemnity insurance would cover the compensation payable, plus your legal defence costs.
Please note with regard to the Professional Indemnity policy, you are only covered from the start date of the policy if you have continuous, current membership from that date (21/04/2018). If you cancel and rejoin later, would only be covered from any future date you re-joined the union, unlike the Public Liability cover which does cover you for any claims made against you when you were a member at any time in the past.
At this time when the pandemic has forced individuals to isolate and cease working, many artists have postponed or cancelled current and future projects. This has created a situation where it is still important for individual artists to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance to legally cover future agreements and advice they may now need to pursue, as they adjust their existing working contracts. In addition, artists may start to work in other advisory, digital and organisational capacities, now and in the future, so as to allow them to continue to work in a different way in the cultural sector.
Again, artists therefore need to understand the legal implications of new ways of working and ensure that they have the correct supporting insurance cover. This is why Scottish Artist Union membership is vital at this difficult time - to provide advice and an extended supporting voice to the issues that directly affect individual artist members - to reveal and negotiate employment cover - and to provide a vital membership package of insurance cover for any future creative work (Public & Product Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance).