Chicago - a/e ProNet Fall Meeting Location
a/e ProNet meets in Chicago each autumn

This week, a/e ProNet’s membership will gather in Chicago for the annual fall meeting (September 28-30, 2016). It’s an opportunity for the members to exchange insights about the climate of the design industry, broadening each broker’s individual knowledge base.

Established in 1988, a/e ProNet represents a combined annual professional liability premium volume exceeding $300 million. For this reason, representatives from the top tier professional liability insurance providers are eager to present to the group.

What Happens at the Meeting?

A dozen insurance companies are scheduled to present this fall, including: Beazley, Victor O. Schinnerer, Liberty, Travelers and Arch. These presentations update the membership on regional and national insurance trends. Hearing about real life claims scenarios, legal precedents and new policy/endorsement offerings equips our members to do their jobs well. The underwriters are eager for feedback on their programs and changes. a/e ProNet’s members actively advocate for their own clients during this portion of the meeting.

Members will also attend a reception one evening at the Driehaus Museum, just off Chicago’s Miracle Mile. This exquisitely restored 19th century mansion is a must-visit for lovers of Gilded Age architecture and art. Representatives from major design industry organizations, like the AIA and NSPE, are also invited to attend.

To close the conference, Douglas J. Palandech, Esq. of Chicago law firm Foran Glennon will present on the Fiduciary Liability Exposure of Design Professionals. These presentations often turn into articles for one of ProNet’s publications. Don’t miss out! Follow us on Twitter and/or LinkedIn for updates.


Chicago architecture firm and a/e ProNet client John Ronan Architects is one of seven finalists for the design of the Obama Presidential Library, which will be built on Chicago’s South Side. The remaining seven firms hail from all over the world, so it’s exciting that at least one “local” architect made the cut. John Ronan Architects may be best known for the dramatic Poetry Foundation building in Chicago. Best of luck to the team!

Shout-out Credit:

Mike Welbel
M.G. Welbel and Associates
650 Dundee Road, Suite 170
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: 847.412.1414


Dozens of a/e ProNet members from across the country are gathering in Chicago this week for the annual fall meeting. They will be joined by representatives from several top tier professional liability insurance companies and a few major design industry organizations, including the AIA, NSPE, and ACEC.

Over the course of three days, members will receive presentations from the following insurance carriers: Beazley, Ironshore, HCC, Victor O. Schinnerer, Axis, Catlin, Hanover, RLI, All Risks, Liberty, Travelers, Navigators and Arch. These presentations will help inform the specialist brokers of a/e ProNet about industry trends, policy language changes, new coverage opportunities, and the like. It will also give our members a chance to ask questions and make suggestions pertinent to their own clients.

Along with insurer presentations, there will also be ample opportunity for the brokers to network with one another, alerting the group to trends around the country and problem solving in the collective.

To open the week, the Board of Directors will meet, and to close, Kent Holland of Construction Risk will present to the membership on the second edition of a/e ProNet’s Risk Management and Contract Guide for Design Professionals.

PNN_1310So, you’ve scored a new project! This is a shining moment. The road before you vibrates with the potential for creativity and ingenuity. You receive the contract in your email. Double-click. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Insurance Requirements?

Oh boy. You’d better send this one over to your insurance broker for a quick review.

At lunch, you sketch ideas on the back of your napkin, dying to get started. Buzz! Your phone trembles on the table. It’s your broker and, sadly, she didn’t just give you two big thumbs up. Nope. Turns out, the Insurance Requirements include the following line:

Client shall be named as Additional Insured under CG 20 10 (85) or equivalent.

No-can-do. This endorsement is obsolete. But your new client wants it!  And so you’re face-to-face with the eternal and confounding Additional Insured Conundrum.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You’re not alone. The following excerpt from our October 2013 issue of ProNetwork News may be able to help:

The Issue

Recent court decisions and increasingly onerous client demands are creating substantial insurance related difficulties for design firms. This article will focus on the potentially hazardous and surprising consequences of adding clients and others as additional insureds to the A/E’s general liability insurance (CGL) policy(s).

A recent Illinois Appellate Court Decision illustrates this threat: Patrick Engineering Inc. (Patrick) v. Old Republic General Insurance Co (Old Republic). The basic facts are:

Patrick was retained by Commonwealth Edison (Com Ed) to provide engineering services in connection with relocation of utility poles. While working on the project, Com Ed smashed through an underground sewer in at least four separate locations. Subsequently, the local municipality, Village of Lombard, sued Com Ed alleging that it acted negligently. Continue reading “The Additional Insured Conundrum: A/E Firms Face a New and Potentially Growing Liability Exposure”

Chicago, IL, October 01, 2013 –(– This week, a/e ProNet will hold its annual fall meeting at the Embassy Suites Downtown/Lakefront in Chicago. a/e ProNet is a nationwide network of independent insurance brokers specializing in the professional liability needs of architects and engineers.Members from across the country will convene to meet with representatives from several top-tier professional liability insurance companies and discuss changes in the industry, as well as to participate in a number of smaller events.

Over the course of the three-day meeting (October 2—4, 2013), eleven professional liability insurance carriers are scheduled to make presentations: RLI, Travelers, Hanover, AXIS, Catlin, HCC, Liberty, Beazley, Navigators, AllRisk and Victor O. Schinnerer. Each presentation will include information about the insurance company’s products, policy forms and endorsements, claims, risk management offerings, etc.

On Thursday night, a/e ProNet will host a reception for its members and insurance company representatives, as well as members of the Risk Management Committees of NSPE, AIA and ACEC. The reception will be held at The Rookery in Chicago, a space designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Established in 1988, a/e ProNet’s member-brokers represent a combined annual professional liability premium volume exceeding $300 million. At this meeting, a/e ProNet will explore the possibility of extending its scope to include Lawyers Professional Liability insurance. To that end, five insurance companies (Beazley, AXIS Capital, Catlin, Travelers and Ironshore) will present on their lawyers’ professional liability insurance program offerings, as well.

Learn more about a/e ProNet

a/e ProNet offers a wide range of Risk Management resources to all design professionals via the a/e ProNet website including: Practice Notes, Guest Essays, ProNetwork News, Contract Concerns, Typical Coverages and Frequently Asked Questions. For relevant industry news and risk management information, you can also follow The ProNet Blog and/or follow a/e ProNet on Twitter.

A Good Time to be An Architect

Is it finally a good time to be an architect? We saw this question posed recently by and, like many of you, we were excited to know the answer.

“I think there’s optimism—a very guarded optimism, given where we’ve been over the past four or five years,” says Scott Sarver, principal at Chicago-based SMDP LLC, which hopes to latch on to the better economy here, boosting its billings from domestic projects to 50 percent this year from 25 percent in 2012.

Among industry giants, San Francisco-based Gensler plans to add 50 professionals here through next year, to 273, says Nila Leiserowitz, a managing director in the Chicago office.

The pool of new architects is rising, too. Architecture schools awarded 10,252 degrees in the 2011-12 academic year, up 13 percent from 9,073 degrees in 2008-09, according to the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Things a looking up. And if the “industry giants” are hiring to meet the increase in project opportunities, it’s also probable that seasoned professionals will take this chance to open their own shops. We hope so! Continue reading “A Good Time to be An Architect”

100 Years of Zurich

zurich100years_adA treat for Architects, Engineers, and roller coaster enthusiasts alike.

In 2012, Zurich Insurance celebrated their 100th anniversary. A century spent insuring people, places, and things has given the company a fascinating historical perspective, from covering one of the rides at the Chicago World’s Fair to utilizing special training to help employees handle the first computers.

Visit 100 Years Insuring America, Zurich’s special anniversary web feature, to explore the last century through the eyes of one of the country’s leading insurance companies. Check out cool black and white photos, old advertisements, and a timeline organized by decade.

“Zurich first brought its knowledge and experience in workers’ compensation insurance from Switzerland to America in 1912 to help its customers take intelligent risks.” Today, “Zurich employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries.” Read more about Zurich at their website.

Learn more about Zurich’s insurance program for Design Professionals here. And if you have any questions or if you’re interested in obtaining a quote from Zurich, contact your local a/e ProNet broker today!

This week, 46 a/e ProNet members from 27 member agencies are expected to attend our annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Over the course of two and half days, twelve top-tier Professional Liability insurance companies will present to our membership. Each company will take this opportunity to announce policy form changes, new endorsements, and pricing expectations for the coming year; as well, they will alert us to industry trends surrounding claims and risk management.

Because a/e ProNet brokers are independent, that-is, not tied to any single insurance company, the insurance companies sending representatives to this event know that they are in competition for our business. It is in their best interest to make their programs as comprehensive and beneficial  to our clients as possible. The companies attending this event include: RLITravelersVictor O. SchinnererLibertyBeazleyCatlinHCCHanover, Navigators, Insight, All Risks, and AXIS.

Our Thursday night reception for members and insurance company representatives will be held at a new venue this year: The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Rotunda at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Our clients are architects and engineers, and we appreciate what they do today, as well as what they have created in the past. We chose the Chicago Cultural Center, opened in 1897, because it is “one of the city’s most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States.” In other words, it’s beautiful! A Chicago landmark, located in the Loop, across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park, the GAR Memorial consists of a large hall and rotunda in the north wing of the building. The hall is “faced with deep green Vermont marble, broken by a series of arches for windows and mahogany doors. The rotunda features 30-foot walls of Knoxville pink marble, mosaic floor, and a fine, stained-glass dome in Renaissance pattern by the firm of Healy and Millet.”

If you have questions about this meeting, or a question about a/e ProNet, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also find your local a/e ProNet broker through our website.

Chicago architect and a/e ProNet client Ann Clark of Ann Clark Architects believes the “most important aspect of every project is getting a group of seemingly unrelated parties to reach an end goal together in the most harmonious and effective manner.” This belief is undoubtedly one of main reasons she was able to succeed in this particularly daunting project: designing a 180,000 s.f., 320-bed teaching hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. All this in spite of inclement weather, difficulty obtaining sound construction materials, a dearth of skilled labor in-country, and her own physical distance from the job site.

With the support of Boston-based charity Partners in Health, Clark began the project in 2008 with a much more humble and abbreviated design. But that was before a deadly earthquake in 2010 raised the stakes in Haiti, increasing the need for a much larger and more advanced structure in which to care for the needs of a destitute people. In the wake of a natural disaster, we admire the optimism and tenacity of the Haitian people, as well as the dedication and talent of Ms. Clark and her staff.

We want to congratulate Ms. Clark and everyone else who partnered to build this beautiful new hospital in Haiti. To understand the scope of this challenge, we recommend reading The Chicago Tribune’s recent profile of Ms. Clark and the hospital project. The following is an excerpt from the article titled Chicago architect designs a beacon for health care in Haiti:

On Jan. 12, 2009, one year to the day before the earthquake, Clark flew to Haiti for the first time.

Partners in Health dispatched a driver and SUV to pick her up at the chaotic Port-au-Prince airport. After escaping the capital’s open sewers, dust and trash, Clark rode past huts, one-room concrete-block homes, grazing goats, broken-down cars and gravel soccer fields.

The epicenter of Partners in Health’s work is Cange, the site of Farmer’s first clinic. Over decades the clinic had mushroomed into a maze of more than a dozen concrete and stone buildings perched on a steep hill wholly unsuitable for medical care. To get from the emergency room to the tuberculosis ward, for instance, one must ascend a steep ramp and dozens of stone and concrete steps.

Clark’s first stop was Lacolline, then the newest of Partners in Health’s clinics. It had been built with $640,000. Farmer didn’t involve an architect until two years after the building opened — “just so we had documentation and could share the plans with others,” he said.

Walking into the waiting area there, Clark saw women wearing dresses and men in dusty pants or jeans. Everyone’s shoes were beaten up. Clark was immediately struck by how close the people sat next to each other in the waiting area and how sandwiched they were in line at the pharmacy window.

And people walked everywhere, even in rural areas. Clark marveled at how women balanced jugs of water and baskets of supplies atop their heads. She wondered how far these women had walked, and how far they had to go. And she noticed they were often smiling. Given their ragged clothing and signs of malnutrition — poverty unlike anything she had ever witnessed — she wondered what Haitians had to smile about. Continue reading “ProNet Client Project Profile: A Hospital for Haiti”