A Real exali Damage Event: Accountant Loses Important Applications
They support their customers with answers to important questions – often involving a lot of money: Self-employed accountants bear a great deal of responsibility. This real exali damage event shows that, despite specialist knowledge, even a small organisational omission is enough to cause major damage.
Risks for Self-Employed Accountants: Organisation is Everything
Anyone who runs a company has a lot of specifications and obligations to deal with. Especially when it comes to the accounting area, the law prescribes exactly how a company must be set up. In order to properly comply with these regulations, many entrepreneurs trust the expertise of professionals.
One of these professionals is an accounting service insured through exali. They received signed applications from one of their customers for the payment of short-time work benefits for three months. After reviewing the documents, they forwarded the documents to the competent employment office by post in a simple letter. Up to this point, the procedure ran smoothly. But the unpleasant suprise came a few months later.
No Mercy with Expired Deadlines
The months went by, but neither the external accountant nor their client received any feedback from the employment office. After inquiring, they were told that the documents for applying for short-time work benefits had never reached the office. Since the applications were sent by ordinary internal mail and not, for example, by registered mail, the whereabouts of the applications could not be determined. Unfortunately, a quick upload of the applications to the job centre’s website could not solve the problem either, because the three-month deadline for submitting the applications had long since expired.
The opportunity to receive short-time work benefits was gone, and the damage to the client was enormous at more than 10.000 euros. Understandably, the client did not want to be left with these damages. After all, they had given the documents to their external accountant in good time for examination and forwarding. The client trusted the accountant to work diligently and in a timely manner. So the client demanded compensation from the accountant.
Accountant is Liable: Legally, the Risks Lie with the Sender
The affected self-employed accountant forwarded the entire miserable affair to the insurance experts from exali. They clarified the claim together with the claims department of the insurer. The conclusion: Even if the accountant assumed that the documents would be reliably sent to the employment office by post, the sender is legally responsible for ensuring that the documents actually arrive there on time. Although the external accountant did not directly cause the “loss” of the documents, he is nevertheless liable for the timely submission of the documents (receipt of the documents at the employment office counts here). The accountant should have sent such important documents such as applications for short-time work benefits in a traceable manner, e.g. by registered mail.
But the case goes further. To paraphrase the saying “misfortune rarely comes alone”, the fact that the Professional Indemnity Insurance contract was new and was only concluded after the documents had been lost made the damage event even more explosive. Nevertheless, the Professional Indemnity Insurance assumed the client’s entire claim for compensation of over 10.000 euros.
The accountant benefited from two important circumstances: On the one hand, at the time the application was submitted, the accountant was not aware that the applications had disappeared and was able to truthfully state when applying for coverage that he was not aware of any circumstances that could lead to a claim. On the other hand, the Professional Indemnity Insurance included retroactive insurance coverage for six months before the start of the insurance.
Retroactive Insurance Coverage
The accountant was saved by the clause contained in the insurance conditions for indemnity insurance provided by exali on so-called “reverse insurance without the existence of a preliminary contract”. This consumer-friendly clause states that the policyholder also enjoys full insurance coverage if a damage event occurs up to six months before the conclusion of the contract. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that there is insurance coverage for this damage event and that the policyholder was not yet aware of the damage.
Comprehensively securing your business is worthwhile for many reasons. In the article Why Choose Professional Indemnity Insurance from exali? we tell you some of them.
Comprehensively Insured, Even in the Event of Organisational Omissions
With a Professional Indemnity Insurance from exali, the insurer generally checks all claims and claims for compensation for their justification and fends off unjustified claims on your behalf. If a claim proves to be justified - as in this case - the insurer not only bears the costs of the damage, but also, for example, assumes the expenses for legal assistance or experts. This means that you have a reliable partner at your side, both in the event of technical and organisational failures, who will support you in the event of a claim. Because no matter how careful you are, this damage event clearly shows: Even a small mistake can be expensive without a Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Vivien Gebhardt is an online editor at exali. She creates content on topics that are of interest to self-employed people, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Her specialties are risks in e-commerce, legal topics and claims that have happened to exali insured freelancers.
She has been a freelance copywriter herself since 2021 and therefore knows from experience what the target group is concerned about.