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Hyett attacks ARB over additional insurance demands

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RIBA president Paul Hyett has hit out at the ARB, accusing it of demanding additional details of members' Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).

Hyett, addressing members of RIBA council last Wednesday, claimed the regulator has been asking members to reveal details of their insurance policies.

However, the ARB, responding to the comments, dismissed the claims. ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan maintained there is no legal requirement for architects to reveal details of their insurance, only to confirm that there cover is adequate.

'We do not insist that they give us details and they do not have to reveal any private financial information, 'Vaughan told the AJ.

The RIBA and the ARB have been at loggerheads over the issue since the regulator decided to tighten up its PII requirement, setting the minimum insurance cover at £250,000 (AJ 20.12.01). It also ruled that architects must confirm they have adequate cover as a condition of registration.

The RIBA, which has consistently maintained that there has never been a problem of underinsurance within the profession, and that the move could sound the death knell for part-time practitioners, is fighting the new policy.

Hyett called on the membership to refuse to cooperate with the ARB if it demanded additional information: 'You should not give any details of your PII insurance cover to the ARB - it is a private matter.' He added: 'We should not feel obliged to hand over any more information than we want.'

John Wright, vice-president for international relations, agreed that there is serious concern in the profession about the PII demands. 'This problem is deeply felt throughout architecture, ' he warned.

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