Proposed Bylaw Language with Draft Council Rules
Professional Liability Insurance
16.1.1* An architectural firm, member or licensee applying for or renewing a certificate of practice must supply satisfactory evidence that the applicant or certificate of practice holder has current professional liability insurance coverage, and must undertake to maintain such insurance over the term of the certificate of practice.
16.1.2 A certificate of practice holder must advise the institute in writing immediately if the insurance coverage required in bylaw 16.1.1 is cancelled, terminated or expires.
16.1.3 Council may establish rules relating to the minimum amounts and coverage, evidence of insurance and other terms and conditions of the professional liability insurance required under bylaw 16.1.1.
* Placeholder numbering only: Final numbering and location of bylaws to be confirmed.
Proposed Council Rules 8: Terms and Conditions for Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance (“PLI”)
- Mandatory PLI coverage required under AIBC Bylaw 16.1.1 must be held in an amount of not less than $250,000 per claim with aggregate coverage of no less than $500,000.
- In the event that coverage amounts fall below these thresholds, a certificate of practice holder must immediately notify the institute and the terms of Rule 6 will apply.
- Submission of a current professional liability insurance policy certificate of coverage is required as evidence of compliance with the requirement for PLI under bylaw 16.1.1 and such certificate must be provided to the institute upon application for or renewal of any certificate of practice. A certificate of coverage is required annually.
- The mandatory PLI must provide valid insurance coverage for all projects undertaken in British Columbia over the term of the certificate of practice. [Note: A specific additional requirement for those who have obtained insurance from other than a BC-licensed broker could be added, requiring such holders to have their insurance carrier provide a letter confirming coverage in BC. Nova Scotia has this kind of requirement.]
- The ‘undertaking’ to maintain insurance over the term of the certificate of practice required under bylaw 16.1.1 is satisfied by duly completing and complying with the undertaking portion of the certificate of practice form as prescribed from time to time.
- [The BRC recommends development of a rule to address ‘mid-stream non-compliance’ with PLI coverage – e.g., insurance that lapses or terminates and is not renewed or replaced immediately, thus resulting in failure to “maintain … insurance over the term of the certificate of practice”.]
- [Consider development of other administrative rules that may arise during information/consultation phase]
Other Bylaws and Rulings Affected
Bylaws 16.2 (d) and 16.3 (c)
At this time the AIBC is not proposing to members further amendments to existing bylaws, such as those governing firms and certificates of practice. These bylaws are under review by the BRC for a potential amendment recommendation to council.
However, there are two current bylaw subsections 16.2 (d) and 16.3 (c) that have essentially been dormant since their passage that will come into effect should the proposed PLI bylaws be approved. Members are advised of these subsections.
16.2 An architectural firm, member or licensee applying for a certificate of practice or renewal of a certificate of practice shall complete the required form signed by all architects and professional engineers having a principal or shareholding interest in the firm certifying that the firm, member or licensee:
(a) is registered with the institute and is in good standing
(b) has paid any required annual fee
(c) has paid any required fee for the certificate of practice, and
*(d) has obtained the required professional liability insurance coverage.
16.3 A certificate of practice will expire without notice in any of the following circumstances:
(a) on February 1, unless it has been renewed under subsection (2)
(b) on the cancellation for any reason of the registration of the holder of the certificate of practice
*(c) on the expiration or termination for any reason of the required professional liability insurance coverage.
The BRC also reviewed the council rulings found in Bylaw 34.10 related to client notification by architects and associates of their insurance status. No change is recommended to the relatively recent associate ruling (j) to the bylaw, as the proposed PLI requirement does not apply to intern architects, architectural technologists and retired architects.
However, the BRC recommends that council amend and clarify ruling (e), reproduced below, to require CoP holders to advise clients more meaningfully as to the “terms” under which their insurance is held.
(e) Before entering into an agreement to provide architectural services, a Certificate of Practice holder must notify the client in writing whether or not professional liability insurance is held and under what terms.
Memo to Council
List of Professional Liability Insurance Providers in B.C.
PLI Hotline: 604.683.8588, ext. 333; Toll free in BC 1.800.667.0753 (Staffed Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Leave a message any time. The hotline will be open until April 28.)