Professional Liability


Professional Liability insurance is an essential part of any profession and a highly complex and sensitive area of law.

Professional liability claims require specialist technical knowledge as well as appropriate relationship management skills to ensure policy holders feel understood and the best outcome can be achieved.

Our Professional Liability team includes five partners with specialist expertise managing claims made against individuals operating in a broad range of professions – from barristers, financial advisors and real estate professionals, through to engineers and architects.

We have acted in some of the most complex and sensitive cases in Australia, including class actions. We have acted on behalf of domestic and international insurers as coverage and defence counsel on professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, employment practices, statutory liability, and management liability matters for more than three decades.

We have represented Lloyd’s syndicates, underwriting agencies, captive insurers, affinity groups, self-insureds, and insurance brokers.

In addition to our claims expertise, we advise on risk management and minimisation strategies, and policy drafting and interpretation. We also assist with procurement agreements, employment and contractor arrangements supplier agreements, securities, and financing.

Our team has longstanding trusted relationships with industry organisations including in the real estate, legal, financial services, building, design, construction and health related industries.

We have acted for the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Professional Indemnity Scheme for more than 25 years – assisting with both the defence of claims but also the development of policy wording and the delivery of risk management training.

We also represent the legal profession, including barristers.

We respect all stakeholders in a claim and work together to manage risk and identify the best possible strategy for resolution with all key stakeholders.

Directors’ and Officers’ liability – including errors and omissions, and trustees’ and office bearers’ liability

Carter Newell advises on all risks associated with directors and officers and has a strong reputation for its ability to work with insureds/insured persons, underwriters, brokers, and institutional bodies. The team has specialist expertise advising on coverage and in the defence of high level, prominent and sensitive claims against directors and officers. This involves both listed and unlisted companies from a diverse range of industries including retail, leisure, property development, software development and mining and energy. We understand the importance of balancing the insured persons’ and insured entities’ reputations against all potential outcomes. We are respectful of the relationship between the insured persons, the insured entity, the broker and the tower of excess layer insurance. Our team is fully cognisant of the close attention to detail required in the analysis of policy coverage and the defence of directors’ and officers’ claims. The team specialises in defending high level, prominent, and sensitive claims against directors and officers, and considers claims:

    • brought against company directors and officers as a result of failed mergers and acquisitions;
    • selling subsidiary and associated companies;
    • acting ultra vires/outside the scope of authority and not in the best interests of the company;
    • investigations by ASIC, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and various other tribunals as well as alleged misleading and deceptive conduct and fraud; and
    • trading whilst insolvent and occupational / Workplace Health and Safety breaches.

Employment and workplace insurance including employment practices liability and statutory liability

Our employment practices liability (EPL) team advise on claims arising out of employment and contractual issues raised by employees, former employees, potential employees and contractors. Employment liabilities range from claims for unfair or unlawful dismissal, adverse action involving workplace rights, workplace bullying claims, and discrimination claims (typically based on age, sex, sexual harassment, race, carers responsibilities or disability). Where claims arise, we have the skills and working knowledge to deal with claims pragmatically, quickly in order to ensure that complaints do not escalate and become expensive both in terms of time and money.


Cyber breach insurance – including prevention and incident management

As the volume of cyber incidents and data breaches increases, so too does the need for cyber insurance. It is now critical to have cyber insurance that includes protections around malware, business interruption, data breaches, reputational damage, and notification costs. Our cyber risk team understand the complex, dynamic and commercially sensitive nature of matters arising under cyber policies. We work closely with insureds, insurers, underwriters, brokers, and risk managers across all cyber risks, including ransomware, unauthorised disclosure of data, business interruption, and denial of service.

The team

Featured insight

Professional Liability Guide (2nd edition)

The Professional Liability Guide 2nd edition will again provide assistance to underwriters, claims managers, brokers, and their professional clients and advisers in evaluating the potential exposure to claims that fall under the purview of professional liability insurance.

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