Overview: From 2015 Member’s Motion to 2017 Proposed Bylaws
Members approved a member’s motion at the May 2, 2015 AIBC Annual Meeting “that council be requested to consider mandatory PLI for all members and registrants in practice.” Council formally confirmed its support for the motion in July 2015 and requested that a presentation be delivered at the May 2016 Annual Meeting. The presentation confirmed the institute would pursue Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) on the basis that it would be “mandatory” and tied to Certificates of Practice (CoP).
On May 10, 2016, council requested that the Bylaw Review Committee (BRC) add mandatory Professional Liability Insurance for Certificate of Practice holders to the BRC’s 2015-2018 Work Plan, and on August 9, 2016, council approved the BRC recommendation to create a PLI task-force, reporting to the BRC.
This PLI Working Group (PLIWG) was formed in August 2016 consisting of three architects and staff support, and it began meeting in September 2016. During the fall of 2016, the PLIWG examined current PLI standards for architects and other self-regulated professionals across Canada and liaised with insurance brokers to better understand the existing marketplace, which has changed substantially in the last two decades. In December 2016, the PLIWG presented recommendations to the BRC regarding the scope of mandatory PLI that would be required for architectural firms in B.C.
Previous attempts to pass bylaws requiring PLI coverage were unsuccessful (by narrow margins), likely because the marketplace was different in those periods; public, professional and government awareness had not been raised through the “leaky condo” crisis; and insurance requirements imposed by authorities having jurisdiction were not yet the norm. The ready availability of cost-effective coverage for small and medium-sized firms was also at times in question.
Unlike the past, when many architectural regulators did not require liability insurance, currently the AIBC is an outlier, along with one other jurisdiction due to introduce a system next year.
Upon review of the BRC memo entitled: New Bylaw Proposal – Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance, council endorsed, in principle, the proposed bylaws regarding the introduction of professional liability insurance in addition to the supporting council rules and rulings.
The thrust of the proposed bylaws is to introduce mandatory PLI for certificate of practice holders (i.e., architectural firms). Council rules would establish minimum amounts of coverage as well as the mechanism by which evidence of insurance is provided. Read the complete proposed bylaws and council rules.
As with all bylaw initiatives, council is seeking member feedback through a spring consultation period. In-person and online sessions are scheduled for March, April and May, with a bylaw vote tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2017. Should the new bylaws pass (in the tentatively scheduled vote this summer) compliance with mandatory PLI bylaws would be anticipated for the 2019 CoP renewal cycle.
In an effort to assist members with specific questions and/or concerns regarding insurance, a special “PLI Hotline” will also be set up (details below).
What is professional liability insurance?
Who in the membership will this impact?
What are the benefits of professional liability insurance?
How much coverage is council recommending?
How expensive is PLI?
Do other provincial architectural regulators require PLI?
If members support this initiative, when would PLI come into effect?
PLI Considerations & Scenarios
What is the difference between “mandatory” and “compulsory” insurance?
What is the scope of coverage?
What about supplemental coverage or coverage extensions?
Will it be difficult to get insured?
What if I don’t want to get insurance?
What if the professional liability insurers withdraw from the B.C. market?
What if the professional liability insurance marketplace shrinks to a single insurer?
What if professional liability insurance premium costs skyrocket?
Would contract consultants be covered under my policy?
Could I extend coverage after I close my firm?
Would payment options be available or would I have to pay all at once?
Could I shop around?
What would happen if an architect or firm forgot or failed to remember to renew their insurance during the term of their certificate of practice?
I’m an Architect AIBC who practises in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction that has required PLI for years. Will my insurance policy transfer to B.C.?
Does the AIBC have the authority to introduce bylaws regarding PLI?
How soon would these bylaws go to vote?
I already have PLI. Why should I vote?
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.)
AIBC Staff Contact
For more information, please contact:
Maura Gatensby Architect AIBC
t: 604.683.8588, ext. 333
Thomas Lutes, Barrister and Solicitor
Director of Professional Conduct & Illegal Practice
t: 604.683.8588, ext. 321
Director of Communications
t: 604.683.8588, ext. 308