Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance 

For UK-based Members, CIOL has a long-standing relationship with Trafalgar Risk Management (TRM) which offers a broad range of Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance cover, as well as add-on legal and cyber cover to match the range of activities undertaken by CIOL members. More details are available at the bottom of the page, or you can quickly get a favourable quote by selecting 'Chartered Institute of Linguists' as your association/institute here:

For international as well as UK-based linguists, here is some general good practice guidance regarding PI coverage. Please note that this is general guidance only and is more limited for internationally-based translators due to differences in local jurisdictions. Your individual circumstances may also require higher coverage limits or special policy terms.

For Internationally-based Linguists

  • Each country has its own unique insurance regulations and legal/litigation environment. It is advisable, more cost-effective, and often essential to secure professional indemnity insurance from a provider in your country of domicile.
  • Consult your local networks for recommendations on reputable business insurance providers and brokers in your country/region that cater to small businesses and independent professionals.
  • Aim for a sensible minimum level of coverage and use limitation of liability clauses in your client contracts to cap your liability to a level aligned with your PI coverage.
  • In jurisdictions such as China, India, and Japan, you will only be permitted to purchase PI insurance from domestic providers due to strict insurance regulations.

For UK-based Linguists

  • Assess the scale of risk and potential liability in the work you do and the clients and agencies you work with.
  • Include a limitation of liability clause in your Terms & Conditions, capping your liability to say 3-4 times the value of revenues, up to a maximum that aligns with your level of PI coverage (e.g. £100,000 or £200,000 or more). This also demonstrates you are taking risk management seriously to insurers.
  • Aim to ensure your Terms & Conditions specify that your contracts are governed by UK/English law, even when working with overseas clients. Have clients agree to your T&Cs. This allows you to buy UK-based PI insurance.
  • Aim to secure professional indemnity insurance coverage of at least two to three times your annual turnover. Some clients may ask for higher levels of PI Insurance £250,000, or even £500,000 to £1m but these may be more protection than you want or need.
  • While the cover in your policy might be in the £100,000s, legal fees can quickly absorb this amount and many CIOL Members also choose to take additional legal cover. It may therefore also be worth the comparatively modest extra cost of legal cover which is to a maximum for each claim, which will cover multiple claims as opposed to annual cover which caps the policy to the limit purchased, regardless of the number of claims.
  • UK based professional indemnity insurance will generally cover breach of contract but will not cover cyber risk or hacking. Industry-wide cyber will require separate and additional cover.
  • If you work extensively with US/Canadian clients, be aware that PI policies often exclude claims brought in US/Canadian courts due to the litigious nature of those markets. Proceed with extra caution and seek to ensure in your terms and conditions that your contract will be governed by UK law, but also investigate extending your policy to include claims brought in USA & Canada for additional protection.
  • For all international work seek to ensure your terms and conditions are accepted and check your cover if you are signing up to another party’s Ts & Cs in case they fall outside the scope or legal jurisdiction of your UK cover. It is worth noting that post Brexit cover in the EU is less straightforward than was previously the case and UK insurers have not yet found fully complete solutions to EU cover. Hence the value of specifying your contracts are governed by UK/English law. 
  • For individual PI policies, you can also compare options on digital broker platforms, as these cater to smaller businesses.

Trafalgar Risk Management

For UK-based Members, CIOL has a long-standing relationship with Trafalgar Risk Management (TRM) which offers a broad range of PI cover discounted for CIOL members as well as add-on legal and cyber cover to match the range of activities undertaken by CIOL members.

UK based CIOL members are free to choose their own provider for PI insurance of course, and internationally-based Members will need to select a provider in their country as Trafalgar is based in the UK, however their scheme offers:

  • Highly competitive rates and a price promise in place for CIOL members that if you find the same cover for less within 14 days and Trafalgar will aim to match the price.
  • A simple application process and, if approved, cover in a matter of minutes.
  • Options available for Legal cover, as well as Employers & Public Liability (available in conjunction with Professional Indemnity) for companies and if you have an office which clients visit.
  • Full policy wording and summary online for easy reference if you need to make a claim.

Cover is subject to final acceptance by the underwriters. Please note that the scheme is not available to Affiliate members.

To obtain the most favourable quote from Trafalgar for CIOL members in less than 5 minutes, select 'Chartered Institute of Linguists' as your professional association/institute here:

CIOL is itself insured by AON, a multi-national business who may be able to support internationally based linguists, depending on location, by contacting their in-country offices.

Notes to the above:

Always discuss your specific situation and needs with a qualified insurance broker or provider. Cyber cover is almost always an additional policy. Additional legal cover is also well worth considering.

CIOL is not an insurance expert and is not liable for insurance decisions you make based on this guidance.