Customized and other types of Software Developers codes that may apply to this: Traveling computer system designers and programmers, computer system designers or programmers in office only.
Common Insurance Terms
Description of operations: Software developers of customized products analyze their clients’ software needs, work closely with the clients’ internal computer staff and end users, program and test the final product. They may also advise or arrange for the purchase of the appropriate hardware, networking peripherals or similar items.
Property exposures consist of an office operation, as well as any incidental storage and areas for service work on computers. Ignition sources include extensive electrical wiring to support computers and servers, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Fire, smoke, and water can cause significant damage to equipment. Fire protection should consist of chemical applications instead of water. Although computer equipment can be included as part of the business personal property coverage, more complete protection is available under a computer or EDP policy. A detailed emergency plan should be in place since downtime is not an option. Extra expense coverage is needed more than business income due to contract deadline dates and should be purchased as a part of the EDP policy. The concentration of electronic equipment may be targeted by thieves. Appropriate security controls should be taken including physical barriers to prevent access to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Equipment breakdown exposures are typically moderate. Climate control is essential to proper computer function, and breakdown of the air-conditioning units may cause serious loss. There is also significant potential for direct or indirect loss due to computer breakdown or damage by power surges and power failure, affecting hardware, data, and media. Coverage may be addressed under either an EDP or equipment breakdown policy.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and computer fraud. Developers may have access to private financial information of their clients, especially for billing purposes, and represent a target item for identity theft. Hazards increase in the absence of proper background checks and monitoring of the insured’s workers who may have such access.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable if the programmer offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for customers’ information. A computer or EDP policy is critical since it covers hardware, software, and media. There should be frequent backup and off-site data storage. Typically the developer works at the client’s premises, presenting transit and off-premises exposures. There is a high risk of theft, both of portable hardware such as laptops and handhelds and of the software programs. Extra expense is an important option to purchase because of the need to quickly return to operation after a loss and meet contractual obligations. Information used to document the programming is not software and must be insured as valuable papers or its digital equivalent. All contracts, documentation, software design, copyrights, and patents, on paper, disks or other media, should be duplicated and the duplicates should be kept off site.
Premises liability exposure is minimal since most client contact is done electronically or by mail. Off-premises exposures arise from sales visits, training sessions, and installation of software or hardware at the customer’s premises. There should be policies and training regarding acceptable off-premises behavior. If the developer works on the client’s computer, the client’s property could be damaged, either the actual hardware or by corrupting code on the existing software. Personal injury exposures arise from breach of confidentiality as employees dealing with clients have access to their records.
Professional liability and errors and omissions exposures are extensive but vary by the type of software and its intended use. If the customized software is essential to the business’s operation or used to provide safety services, the errors and omission exposure will be higher as there may be long-term consequences.
Automobile exposure may be limited to hired and non-owned. There will likely be extensive off-premises work by sales representatives, programmers, and technicians. The developer may have a fleet of private passenger vehicles, require that employees use their own vehicles, or may use rental vehicles. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
Workers compensation exposure is limited to that of an office, although there may be significant off-site work. As work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Back sprains and strains can result from lifting and other material handling if there is any moving of computers or related equipment.
Minimum recommended coverage:
Business Personal Property, Business Income with Extra Expense, Equipment Breakdown, Computer Fraud, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Errors and Omissions Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Nonownership Auto Liability, Workers Compensation
Other coverages to consider:
Building, Earthquake, Flood, Real Property Legal Liability, Forgery, Cyberliability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Directors and Officers Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage, Stop Gap Liability
Reprinted with permission from the Rough Note’s Company copyrighted content.
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