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E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

Hello all,

I am a somewhat freshly licensed PE working for a State DOT. I'm about to be moved into the PE-1 pay grade, so it will be a part of my job description to sign and seal drawings and specs for our construction projects. The question that shows up in my mind is if I need any sort of professional liability or E&O insurance. Arguably the state does not have any such insurance, and is simply covered by a governmental immunity law, but should I as an individual engineer have my own coverage? It doesn't seem inexpensive, so it's not straightforward if it's worth it.

We don't have any given policy to guide us as individuals, and most of the other licensed engineers in my workgroup haven't been involved in delivering designs in quite some time.

Any thoughts or advice? Thanks!

RE: E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

Your office probably has some interaction with a state attorney's office for legal counsel when the need arises. You may ask a supervisor about information to set up a 15 minute meeting with that office to verify the immunity law covers you. Or you could consult with a private attorney. A few in my area will do a basic 30-60 minute consultation for $100 (no work product/deliverables).

Do you have an employee manual specific to professional employees? Does it mention anything about immunity or indemnification?

RE: E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

caenright: Going after individual engineers in a lawsuit is pretty rare, and would only happen under very narrow circumstances which go well beyond making a mistake. I have never even heard of a case of it, though lawsuits against companies happen all the time. Occasionally individuals do buy their own insurance however, and again I have never heard of it actually protecting them.

As an individual you don't have a lot of assets, and those assets you do have are hard to go after. Insurance actually makes you more of a target in that respect bc the lawyers know how to get paid.

RE: E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?


Quote (caenright)

I am a somewhat freshly licensed PE working for a State DOT
...should I as an individual engineer have my own coverage?.

Read what the General Counsel for the National Society of Professional Engineers has to say on this subject: Liability of Employed Engineers

Here is an excerpt:

I worked for a quasi-state agency, sealed drawings on rare occasions, never had E&O insurance, and have never lost one second of sleep for having done so. What you decide depends on your risk tolerance.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

@SRE...exactly right as usual! When I grow up I want to be like you!lol

RE: E&O Coverage for Government Engineers?

Thank you all! @SRE - solid information and a good source, thank you for sharing.

Chris Enright
PE, Colorado
Roads and Trains

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