Engineers feel the squeeze

LIKE many other professions, the engineering industry is buckling under the weight of greatly increased professional indemnity insurance premiums.

According to the 2003 Engineers Australia indemnity insurance survey report, the cost of PI insurance premiums has more than trebled and excesses have jumped 166 per cent, despite only 9 per cent of engineers having made a PI claim in the past three years.

Alarmingly, 29 per cent of engineers surveyed reported that they were not currently covered.

Half of those not covered indicated that cost was the main barrier while 28 per cent said that exclusion clauses were the main reasons for not taking out PI insurance. 

Around half of the engineers said that they had been refused cover in the past 12 months or had some conditions or restrictions imposed on them.

Speaking at the recent Engineering Week lunch seminar, Attorney General Jim McGinty said an unprecedented program of law change was being implemented to address the insurance crisis.

Changes for professional indemnity within the Civil Liability Act include the introduction of proportionate liability to replace joint and several liability as the basis for awarding damages for pure economic loss.

 Mr McGinty said the State Government was also planned to change the limitation of personal injury claims from six years to three years and ensure earlier lodgement of claims.

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