The Need for Accountant EPLI
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is coverage intended to protect businesses against three general areas of employment-related issues: sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims, wrongful termination, and any type of discrimination (which can include discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, nationality, family, disability and pay, and more). Therefore, it’s evident why employers of all sizes and industries should carry this insurance policy, and accountants are no exception. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) recommends that EPLI be an integral part of any CPA firm’s insurance portfolio, and here’s why.
In addition to helping safeguard an accounting firm’s assets, an EPLI policy will also provide the educational services and risk management strategies for their employment practices. While some firms might be worried about the cost, foregoing the coverage altogether is counterproductive. In fact, when you consider the average cost of defending an EPLI claim – $50,000 – in addition to the lost time, productivity, morale, and reputation of the firm, the premium cost is much more justifiable.
Take this real-life example for some perspective: a Chicago-based partner in a small professional services firm was sued for allegedly making sexual advances on a young female employee. While the partner denied any sexual advancements, the jury sided with the plaintiff, eventually leading to the bankruptcy of the business. With an EPLI policy, this downfall of an entire firm could have been prevented.
It’s also important to note that any claims brought about by employees don’t necessarily mean they will be covered under a professional liability insurance policy. Employee-related claims are excluded under the definition of “professional services”, as they are not the recipient of those services. Further, if the claim is covered under this policy, your clients might not have the coverage limits available to cover the damages. Therefore, an EPLI policy is a necessity for accountants and professional service firms of all types.
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