Frequently Asked Questions
Cover Advantage is an online brand created for our web platform selling Professional Liability insurance, Commercial General Liability insurance and Directors and Officers liability insurance. “Cover Advantage” is a trade name of McLean Hallmark Insurance Group Ltd., a Toronto based insurance brokerage. The program is run by Easy Cover and is underwritten by Lloyds of London.
Lloyds of London is the oldest insurance company in the world! It began in Lloyd’s Coffee House, opened by Edward Lloyd in around 1688 on Tower Street in the historic City of London. In fact it’s not a traditional insurance company but is a corporate body governed by the Lloyds Act of 1871 within which multiple financial backers come together to pool and spread risk. Lloyds underwriters have provided insurance in Canada since before confederation. In 2014, Lloyds held approximately 19% of the commercial insurance market share in Canada and are currently rated A+ by Standard and Poor’s, a watchdog that monitors the financial strength of companies.
No, you cannot just buy a CGL on Cover Advantage . Professional Liability (E&O) is the core product on Cover Advantage, and you must at minimum purchase that. You can add on a CGL or Directors and Officers Liability policy if you wish.
At its core, nothing. It’s just different terminology used by us insurance folks to describe essentially the same type of coverage; protection from lawsuits arising from your service or advice, alleging negligence, errors or omissions.
Keep in mind though, that even when 2 policies cover the same core exposures, rarely are they identical.
What is the difference between a CGL and Professional Liability policy? A CGL is all I really need, right?
Let’s deal with the first part, first. There are a number of differences, but the main one is they provide coverage for entirely different types of liability. In fact, a CGL specifically excludes losses arising from services or advice you provide.
A CGL will cover your business against claims brought by third parties for bodily injury, death or property damage they suffer as a result of your business operations or actions/inactions of you and your employees. These could arise on your premises, on public property or on a client’s site. An example would be you attend a client’s workplace to do a presentation, and while you are on lunch, the projector you brought malfunctions and overheats scorching their expensive boardroom table.
Professional Liability provides protection from financial liability arising out of the professional duty you owe your clients related to the service or advice you provide. For example; you make a bookkeeping error, which results in a client owing back taxes to the tune of $50,000 including interest and penalties. He sues you for your negligence. The Professional Liability (E&O) policy would respond.
Is a CGL (Commercial General Liability) policy all you need? That depends in part on what exactly you do, but if you provide a service or advice, without Professional Liability, you have gaps in coverage. A CGL is important protection as described above, but it will not protect you for suits arising from allegedly bad advice, or other negligence or mistakes that cost your client.
One more point to make, and it’s perhaps the MOST important one! You don’t have to actually have made any mistake, or done anything wrong to be sued. A Professional Liability policy will protect you in these circumstances too.
Unfortunately, the mind frame “I’m good at what I do. It will never happen to me” can end up being a very costly risk to take. To illustrate, let’s say you pay on average $1,200 premium per year for 15 years. With lawyers charging upwards of $500 per hour, that gives you less than a weeks’ worth of legal expertise – not nearly enough. It’s easy to see how costly it is to have to defend yourself against even a frivolous lawsuit, which in the absence of coverage means you are out of pocket.
Nope! That’s the beauty of coveradvantage.ca. The website has useful, easily understandable information to guide you through the coverage and the process. Of course if you have questions, we’re still here to help; you can talk to a licensed broker via the 1-800 number during regular business hours Monday thru Friday.
The questions we ask are simple and fully explained via the info buttons. We’ve done a lot of work to make sure you find it ‘easy’! Answer them truthfully to the best of your ability and if you still aren’t sure, feel free to contact us. Note that some of your answers will affect the rating and could change the premium.
At the end of the quote you will have an option to ‘bind’ (meaning put the policy in force) and pay. The payment is taken from your credit card right there and then, and is completely secure (SSL certificate).
Not at this time. Cover Advantage must be paid in full at inception (time of binding) by credit card. We are looking at offering other options in future.
That’s the beauty of Cover Advantage vs. the traditional way to buy commercial insurance. There’s no waiting! Once you’ve clicked the bind button and paid for your policy, you are emailed a full copy of the policy immediately.
You could – here’s what that process typically looks like (despite brokers best efforts!) You spend an hour with a broker over the phone or in person discussing your business and answering a bunch of questions. The broker then emails you a 5 page Professional Liability application. (they are often much longer, depending on your industry). You spend another 2 hours trying to decipher the questions and fill it out. You call the broker to get some assistance and get voice mail. A session of phone tag results over the next 2 days and you finally get in touch with them to complete the application. You spend another half hour on the phone getting answers to your questions and are finally able to send the application back to the broker. And now you wait some more! Maybe a week later you’ll get a yes or no back. Assuming yes, you pay your premium and guess what – you wait again! 3-6 weeks later your policy arrives. Hooray!
You grab a coffee, sit at your kitchen table with your laptop, and go to www.coveradvantage.ca . You’ll answer 5 or 6 basic questions about your business, pay the premium indicated and are emailed the policy immediately, taking about 10 minutes out of your day. Now that’s the way to buy insurance!
You will have an opportunity to review the policy wording online, before you decide to buy, giving you an instant advantage only available with Cover Advantage . We’ve designed Cover Advantage to be a fully automated, simple, efficient way for business customers to access insurance coverage. The content on the site is all written to a) provide important information about the coverage in easy to understand language and b) support the end customer through the quote process. Even with all of that, sometimes you just need a bit more explanation or an answer to a question, and we’re happy to provide that when needed
One of my clients is requesting to be added to my coverage as an “Additional Insured”. And they want a certificate? I have no idea what that means??
No problem! With Cover Advantage, “Additional Insured’s” are written into the Commercial General Liability and Professional Liability coverage. And, you can generate proof of coverage (commonly referred to as certificates) online, yourself, to provide to your clients.
First, let’s talk about what this means. Your clients whom you’re contracting with will ask to be added as Additional Insured’s because they want your policy to protect them in the event they are named in a lawsuit being brought against you for your negligence. Makes sense if you think about it; they (most likely) had nothing to do with your operations, they only hired you. So why should they suffer for your alleged mistake? Being added as an additional insured gives them protection under your policy for ‘vicarious’ liability that exists due to your relationship with them. The doctrine of “vicarious liability’ assigns liability to the person who did not directly cause the damages, but who has a particular legal relationship with the person who did act negligently. So, if they are brought into a suit for damages that arise due to your operations, your policy (not theirs) would respond on their behalf. This is common and accepted by most insurance companies. In addition, naming your client in a lawsuit is a common legal tactic to increase chances of success for the plaintiff and ensure there are funds (deep pockets) to pay for damages if awarded.
So, you need to show them proof that they are protected? No problem! You don’t need to play telephone tag with someone and wait days and days for a broker to add the Additional Insured and send you a certificate. You simply add it yourself online and are immediately emailed a certificate you can give to your client.
Good news and good news! Did you choose the right place to buy insurance or what!?!
Yes, you may cancel your policy at any time and will receive a partial return of the premium paid, consisting of time left on the policy (unearned premium) minus the 25% minimum retained premium. Please refer to the termination clause in the policy wording for full details.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CANCELLING A CLAIMS MADE POLICY:
With claims made policies you must have a valid policy in force at the time the claim is made or there is NO coverage. So – If you cancel your policy, and 2 months later you are sued, even if the damages allegedly occurred while your policy was in force, you will have NO coverage.
You’ve said I’m not covered if I have to cancel my policy and a claim is made against me after the policy is expired? What do I do?
It’s true – if you don’t renew the Professional Liability policy or you cancel it, and a claim is made against you after the expiration date, you will not have coverage. We’re happy to advise however, there is a solution for this!
It’s called an Extended Reporting Period (ERP) or “run off” coverage, and it is available to you via Cover Advantage if you meet certain criteria, and as long as you’ve had your policy in force for at least 12 months. For a reduced annual premium, it protects you for claims made against you after you’ve shut down your business, and your policy has been cancelled or expired. It’s important to remember, you may not necessarily know you have a claim brewing, so it can and does happen that you receive notice of a lawsuit after you’ve ceased operations.
Buying an ERP is strongly recommended when you are ceasing operations. Perhaps you’re making a career change, going back to school, or are retiring. It makes sense that if you are no longer operating your business, you don’t need the policy anymore. But it leaves you unprotected for claims that come up after you’ve shut down, for things that happened while you were still in business (prior acts). Note that it will not cover you for damages that arise during the extended reporting period (i.e. you take a job during the ERP), and it must be purchased prior to the expiration of your Professional Liability policy.
To purchase an ERP call or email us.