Nov 27, 2013

    Soon: Indemnity insurance for PMEs

    WORKERS who accidentally damage equipment on the job or get sued by customers may soon get some protection - in the form of professional-indemnity policies.

    The National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC's) arm for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) will be meeting trade associations here to discuss offering such insurance to their members.

    The head of NTUC's PME unit, Mr Patrick Tay, said that the union will be floating the idea to the Professional Photographers Association (Singapore) and the Singapore Computer Society, among others.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, he said that the idea came from a study trip to Britain, where such insurance is a key selling point in attracting members to join associations there.

    The insurance, he said, could cover photographers should they be blamed for damaging property while on a shoot.

    He added: "We are looking at which insurance agencies are able to provide that (insurance) and come up with potential propositions with association partners."

    Professional-indemnity insurance will provide "peace of mind" for certain working professionals, said Mr Tay, who pointed out that it will also help cover the increasing number of freelancers here who do not have employers to provide insurance coverage in the course of their work.

    The PME unit was set up in 2011 to cater to a growing number of PMEs. There were over 636,000 in the workforce here last year, making up 31 per cent of the resident workforce, up from 27 per cent in 2002.

    So far, the unit has helped to set up three centres - two physical ones and a virtual centre - specifically to provide PMEs with services such as job placement and access to legal advice.

    Union members will get priority at these centres, in line with NTUC's goal of drawing more white-collar professionals into its ranks.

    The first centre will open on Jan 2 in Jurong. The second, expected to open by March, will be located within NTUC Centre at One Marina Boulevard. The virtual centre will be a website that will let working professionals access information on the go.

    Mr Ryan Wong, president of the Professional Photographers Association (Singapore), said that such insurance will be useful in covering factors not within the photographer's control, such as when a photographer falls ill on the day of a shoot.

    He said: "We have approached a few insurance companies for quotations for professional indemnity but many have limitations or are too costly. It would be good if affordable insurance could be offered to us collectively."