Your Basic Guide to Professional Liability Insurance for Landscape Architects

Insurance for Landscape Architects

Analysis. Communication. Creativity. Problem-solving. Technical proficiency. Vision. Courage. As a landscape architect, you need all of the above and then some. With the world becoming more densely populated, resources (including space) more constricted and climate change requiring a multi-layered solution, the role of landscape architecture gains more importance. 

As our reliance on landscape architects to restore ecological health and revitalize our living spaces increases, so too does the scrutiny you face. With Alberta, British Columbia, Nunavut and Ontario all regulating the landscape architecture profession, it’s not hard to imagine the other provinces and territories following suit. Landscape architect plays a vital role in the health, safety, and welfare of Canadians who trust you with our public and private spaces.

With that level of responsibility comes a significant amount of legal liability as well. Professional liability insurance for a landscape architect is mandatory in the regulated jurisdictions to protect the public, but it also serves to protect landscape architects as well. Which is why if you are practising outside of those jurisdictions, you can’t really afford to be without professional liability insurance designed for landscape architects.

Whether you’re a veteran exploring your insurance options or a firm that’s decided that now is the time to get serious about your risk management options, we’re about to explain how professional liability insurance for landscape architects is always the right choice for your professional practice. Keep reading to find out how.

Professional Liability Insurance for Landscape Architects? What Could Go Wrong?

As a landscape architect, you’ve got a lot on your plate. 

You have to supervise your contractors, acquire permits and planning permissions, and make sure that the necessary environmental impact studies have been done. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

On the one hand, you have the folks that you collaborate with during the building process such as engineers and contractors. And on the other hand, because you’re designing outdoor areas that a lot of people use, you have to think about how to make these places attractive to the eye but still durable in terms of design. 

Nobody plans to make a mistake, least of all someone who plans for a living. But they do happen, to everyone. With everything you need to do and keep in mind, errors and omissions are bound to happen.

Not to mention that there are likely business concerns that need to be addressed for your firm to continue to thrive. Professional liability insurance for landscape architects can relieve you of some of your stress and allow you to focus on creating bold and functional designs.

For many working professionals, words like “liability” and “insurance” conjure up images of the type of courtroom drama that gets companies featured in the evening news. More often than not, however, it’s the most regular, mundane events that can cause the biggest problems in terms of liability. These would be scenarios such as:

  • The firm was so busy juggling projects that nobody remembered to obtain the proper planning permissions. Everyone had assumed that someone else had it covered only to discover after the fact that it wasn’t done. The client decides to sue.
  • You were contracted to design a park near a river. Construction was completed and the space looks to be a success. However, some of the materials during the construction process ran off into the river and now there’s reason to believe a lawsuit may be on the way.
  • While working on a project, your client’s child is seriously injured. Your client lets you know that they will be seeking compensation for their injury. You have no choice but to prepare yourself for a lawsuit.
  • There was a project you worked on before. The client is unhappy because the support wall is starting to show cracks way before it should be. It turns out that these materials had come from a supplier who, unknown to you, was sourcing cheaper materials to save on costs. The former client decides to sue.

Along with these liability exposures, however, there’s an element of uncertainty that landscape architects have to live with. Clients may be unhappy with the final product. People can get hurt while using that new playground or playing in that park. A natural disaster can make it impossible to deliver a project on time. If one of these situations were to appear on your desk next week, would you be able to pay for the damages out of pocket?

What to Look For When You’re Looking at Professional Liability Insurance 

When you get right down to it, there are a few non-negotiables to look for when evaluating professional liability insurance providers as a landscape architect:

  • Errors & Omissions coverage: Mistakes happen to the best of us. It’s normal. But even if the oversight wasn’t intentional, an error can still leave your clients stuck with a space they can’t use or an expense they have to cover to make repairs. You want an insurance policy that will cover you if and when these things happen.
  • Legal Defense: When you’re named in a lawsuit, it can be hard to come up with cash on short notice. After all, even if the court has found you not liable, you still have to pay the lawyers who made that possible. High-quality professional liability insurance for landscape architects should cover legal costs and fees. 
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to purchase your commercial general liability insurance from the same insurance provider you purchased your professional liability insurance from. In the event of a lawsuit, the statement of claims may alleged property damage that is technically covered separately under professional liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance. When you have a single insurance provider for both types of insurance, the process of navigating a lawsuit is generally more efficient and convenient. 

Are you ready for your quote? ALIGNED Insurance company broker can help you, connect with us, or get a quote today to find out more about getting professional liability insurance for landscape architects. 

Professional Liability Insurance for Landscape Architects – Coverage Features

Professional liability insurance for landscape architects can be customized to service any sized design firm from multi-disciplined, multinational firms to sole practitioners. It can provide coverage for costs stemming from a lawsuit alleging errors, omissions or negligence by a landscape architect which may include lawyer’s fees, defence costs, settlements and awards for damages.

Professional liability insurance makes it possible for you to handle these mishaps without any financial or professional hiccups because when bad things happen, it’s nice to know insurance is there to help.

Other coverage features:

  • Coverage on a claims-made and reported basis
  • Annual or multi-year policies
  • Limits from $250,000 to $5,000,000
  • Coverage for claims made anywhere in the world
  • Pollution Liability coverage

With $25,000 sublimits on the following:

  • Disciplinary coverage
  • Loss of documents coverage
  • Defense assistance reimbursement
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act expense coverage
  • Crisis Event coverage

And $250,000 sublimits for:

  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Libel and slander
  • Outside Directorship coverage

Professional liability insurance for landscape architects is flexible enough to cover a broad range of circumstances.

Other Coverages that can be Attached to Your Professional Liability Insurance for Landscape Architects

The bad news is that your liability as a landscape architect doesn’t end with professional errors and omissions. The good news is that there are further endorsements that can easily be attached to your professional liability for landscape architects insurance policy and will provide you and your firm with more comprehensive coverage. They include:

Cyber Security and Privacy Liability

As a landscape architecture firm, you carry sensitive information on clients and staff. Any and all devices can be vulnerable and are potential gateways for a cyber intrusion. This insurance coverage offers protection for security breaches resulting in losses due to theft, destruction or unauthorized access of data. It can also cover regulatory liability for failing to comply with privacy laws, personal injury due to publication of third party data and costs to notify affected parties of a privacy breach.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

Commercial General Liability coverage is standard for all commercial operations and provides coverage for litigation related to claims of personal injury or property damage due to services or business practices that are unrelated to landscape architecture services. Typical examples are slip-and-fall and libel or slander claims. When written with your professional liability insurance for landscape architects, you get comprehensive coverage without any redundancies.

Employment Practices Liability

With the attention garnered by claims of workplace harassment, discrimination, constructive dismissal and wrongful termination, it’s incumbent on every business to enact policies that protect employees and plan for contingencies that may include a lawsuit alleging wrongdoing with respect to employment practices. Employment Liability Insurance coverage adds another layer of protection to your professional liability insurance.

ALIGNED, Insurance Broker as Detailed as You Are

When it comes to brokering professional liability insurance for landscape architects, our advocates work to get you coverage tailored to your specific professional and business needs. Discuss those needs with us and get a quote for free on professional liability insurance for landscape architects in minutes. 

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