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Surveyors to adopt professional indemnity insurance policy

The Guardian reports that fresh policy changes may be in the offing in few months time that would pave way for the return of professional indemnity insurance (PII) policy in the estate surveying and valuation field.

The Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) is driving the new initiative that acts as a tool for enforcing professional competence and public interest protection.

On commencement of the policy, it will be applicable to registered estate surveyors in the country that stands at 4,143 members. Under the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), all regulated firms – estate surveyors, quantity surveyors and land surveyors must have PII.

The policy covers professional negligence, errors or omissions, breaches of professional duty or conduct and civil liabilities. It makes it possible for professional to continue work without the fear that they may, at some later date, be sued by a client or a third party for problems that occur as a result of their professional activities.

The ESVARBON chairman, Mr. Olayinka Sonaike who revealed the development at the RICS Business Luncheon in Lagos, said the regulatory bodies in Nigeria need to sit up to meet the global best practices.

He explained that the PII was a condition to practice in Nigeria, but after the first year of its operation, it was discarded due to lack of monitoring and continuity of leadership.

Sonaike, a past president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), noted that the estate surveyors’ clients are now very literate and can sue for professional negligence. He assured his colleagues that the policy will become mandatory and a monitoring system will be adopted for the practice in Nigeria.

Earlier, the guest speaker, and ESVARBON board member, Mr. Victor Alonge called on RICS members to champion professional indemnity insurance in Nigeria for the benefit of clients, industry, and nation’s economy.

According to him, the policy is capable of ensuring that practitioners act within the limit of their professional expertise, as evidence shows that lack of expertise is one of the common causes of professional indemnity claims.

“Professional indemnity insurance will also ensure that practitioners act with care and due diligence, encourage intra and interprofessional collaboration and cooperation. It would also reduce inter-professional conflicts and unhealthy rivalry,” Alonge who doubles as the senior partner, Nelson Thorpe Alonge said.

According to him, “the public, who use our services, now more than in any other time in history, expect us to meet fundamental standards and demonstrate integrity and objectivity. And above all, meet their expectation. Our willingness to accept the obvious would be helped by our ability to offer our clients some form of “warranty” for our services.

“With indemnity insurance policy, we as consultants will stand a good chance of receiving adequate remuneration for our services, be able to resist the temptation to under price, take on too much, agree to overly onerous contractual conditions or to use inexperienced staff to make up for a shortfall in capacity because of pricing pressure.”

Chairman, RICS, Nigeria Group, Mr. Yinka Omotosho said the continuous professional development lecture series, provides a platform for the group to lend a voice on issues of professional and national discuss as it affects the built environment.

He disclosed that RICS makes it mandatory for all regulated firms to have adequate and appropriate PII in place, so that the insurer can respond to claims when negligent act occur.

 Source: The Guardian

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