Compensation Fund and Professional Indemnity
Compensation Fund and Professional Indemnity
The Land Surveyors Act provides protection for the public from the unprofessional conduct of the registered surveyor. Two levels of protection are provided:
- The Professional Indemnity
- The Compensation Fund
Claims for compensation from the Board may only be entertained after the potential claimant has exhausted attempts to recover funds from the registered Surveyor, the Insurance Company providing Professional Indemnity and/or the Surveyors’ estate in cases where the surveyor is deceased.
Professional Indemnity Insurance:
Every Registered Land Surveyor and Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyor is required to carry professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the Land Surveyors Act, unless similarly protected by virtue of employment, he shall be insured through any other policy that meets the Board’s requirements.
Surveyors solely in the employ of the State are not required to carry Indemnity Insurance. All registered surveyors in private practice and their companies/partnerships/associations of persons are required to have professional indemnity insurance in the sum of at least $250,000.00 per period of registration. The policy limit is determined by the Institute of Surveyors of Trinidad and Tobago from time to time. Every member holding a policy, must inform the Registrar-Secretary immediately upon notice of a claim or an impending claim under it.
An indemnity policy must provide at least minimum coverage required and must contain a clause that the Board shall be given thirty (30) days’ notice before the policy is cancelled or altered. Every surveyor who is protected by insurance and liability by virtue of employment must furnish documentary evidence that the employer acknowledges the responsibility. Where an employee or a Director of a Company or a partner of a firm is permitted to work for his own gain, the employer or the company or the firm shall also acknowledge that the coverage will be in force outside of the employment or state duty.
Claims made against surveyors under their Professional Indemnity policies are to be filed with the particular insurance company providing such coverage. Details of a registered surveyor’s professional indemnity coverage can be sourced from the Board by applying for (a) an inspection of the register, or (b) a Certified Copy of the Register.
The Compensation Fund:
The Board maintains a fund known as the “Compensation Fund” and holds it in trust for the purposes of relieving or mitigate loss incurred by any person as a result of the death, dishonesty or negligence of a Land Surveyor or Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyor. Even that if after the commission of the act of dishonesty or negligence the Land Surveyor or Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyor ceased to be registered under the Land Surveyors Act.
The Compensation fund is made up from every person registered under the Land Surveyors Act who engages in private practice, unless he is exempted by regulations, who pay into the Compensation Fund a prescribed sum annually. The fund includes interest earned from investment of the fund and funds recovered from the estate of deceased Land Surveyors and Trinidad and Tobago Land Surveyors and their companies/partnerships/associations of persons.
A Surveyor who is in the service of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as such and who does no surveying work for reward on his own account, is exempt from this payment.
Conditions for Access to the Compensation Fund:
No grant shall be paid out of the Compensation Fund unless notice in writing of the loss is received by the Registrar-Secretary of the Board within six (6) months after the loss came to the knowledge of the person suffering the loss or within such further time, not exceeding eighteen (18) months, as in any case that may be allowed by the Board.
When a grant is made, the Board is obliged to recover the amount of the grant to any rights or remedies to which the person receiving the grant was entitled on account of the loss in respect of which the grant was made against the person registered under the Land Surveyors Act or any other person or, in the event of the death or insolvency or other disability of such registered person or other person, against his estate.
No person, to whom a grant is made or, in the event of his death, insolvency or other disability, his estate, shall receive anything from the estate of the person registered under the Land Surveyors Act in respect of the loss for which the grant was paid until the Board has been reimbursed the full amount of the grant.
Where a grant has been paid and the person registered under the Land Surveyors Act has been declared bankrupt, the Board may prove against the bankrupt’s estate for the full amount of the claim of the person to whom the grant was made and receive all dividends on such amount until the Board has been reimbursed for the full amount of the grant.
Process for Filing a Claim from the Compensation Fund:
All claims must conform to the following conditions:
- If the claimant is not the client of the Surveyor, evidence of legal authorization to conduct business on behalf of the client must be provided.
- The Claim must be made against a Surveyor who is registered at the time when the death, dishonesty or negligence occurred.
- Proof of payment of the claimed sum to the Surveyor must be provided and confirmation that no signed/registered survey plan was delivered as a consequence.
- The Surveyor must had made contributions to the Compensation Fund as required by the Land Surveyors Act during his period of registration.
- The claimant must have submitted notice of the claim in writing to the Registrar/Secretary within six months but no later than eighteen months of becoming aware of his loss.
Claims cannot be made to the Disciplinary Committee for redress of losses suffered from the acts of registered surveyors.