Insurance for solo shops
I started full time as a solo engineer & surveyor officially as of Christmas 2021, doing mainly land development design related projects on small to moderately sized commercial sites, single family residential and multi-family site. Projects vary in size & value considerably and I frequently either partner up with other engineers & surveyors or other consultants (RLA’s & soil scientists) but have landed quite a bit of independently and am gaining more interest than I would’ve thought (all word of mouth and the work has been good so far thank you Lord!). A local surveyor has opted to handle the surveying needs & plats for most of my land development project which helps me tremendously being solo so I can focus on the engineering & permitting of the plans
I’ve got an E&O (professional liability policy) in place through a local NC agency that deals quite a bit with surveyors & engineers – they came recommended through the state surveyor society. I’ve inquired the first time last year about doubling my coverage from $1million agg/occ to $2million. Surprisingly, at the time, I was told that was the highest I could go – not sure if it was due to gross billings which they have always wanted to know or maybe if I was putting value of the project too low. I normally try to value the project at a subdivision’s completed value with homes already built & sold or with a commercial site completely finished – normally I have access to most of this information between acquisition & development costs, lot sales & of course the turn key home sales (that’s publicly available). I just see what I feel is a huge disparity between the coverage limits & what the value of a single, finished project might be and I’m in the midst of a renewal right now. Filling out the application again for the 3rd year in a row has made me notice this
My question is this – am I approaching the E&O coverage wrong? Should I handle it differently? Also, should there be any additional policies I should look at such as an umbrella policy? I haven’t opted for CGL as it’s just me & I’m rarely physically on the site seeing as the other surveyor handles the boundary & construction staking – maybe once a week at each site for 15-30 mins just to check up on the progress, EC aspects and occasionally for meetings. Any guidance on what you recommend as solo shop would be great as I just want to protect myself 7 my family – thanks
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