In an earlier time there was little risk of consulting engineers in New Zealand being sued by their clients or another aggrieved party. However in the 1960s consulting engineers recognised the need for Professional Indemnity Insurance. A group of engineers in the Consultants Division Institution of Professional Engineers (now known as ACENZ and Engineering New Zealand) looked at the advantages of a group insurance scheme, and decided to form the Consulting Engineers Advancement Society (CEAS).
How CEAS began
CEAS was formed as an independent organisation under the Incorporated Societies Act in 1966. The name Consulting Engineers Advancement Society was changed in 2012 to be simply CEAS. Initially, to qualify for membership, a firm needed at least one principal to be a member of ACENZ. That requirement no longer applies.
Denis Adam was appointed as the Society's Insurance Broker & Consultant. Through his firm Adam & Adam the PI insurance was arranged. Adam & Adam later became part of the Reed Stenhouse Group which, following further mergers was subsequently acquired by Aon. The Society's objectives were to elevate the status of Consulting Engineers and kindred professions and to advance their interests. Initially a five year PI policy was arranged with an overseas insurer.
In 1972 the chartered accounting firm of Calvert Haywood & Company was appointed investment consultant and manager and then in 1973 as secretary. The firm is the predecessor of our current secretary, Kendons.
In 1974 the Indemnity & General Insurance Company Ltd was formed to take part of the insurance risk and to give a much greater control over the handling of claims. The Indemnity & General Insurance Co is wholly owned by CEAS and continues to take a share of the risk.
CEAS is owned and administered by New Zealand engineers. Initially CEAS was controlled by an elected Executive Committee of 5 to 6 Wellington based engineers. During the seventies there was some debate on the management structure of the Society and in 1976 District Liaison Officers were appointed to improve communications with non-Wellington based members and the executive. In 1999 the Wellington based executive was abandoned in favour of a New Zealand wide Board as it is today. Board members are expected to stay involved for a number of years so that expertise is built up and there is planned succession to ensure this knowledge is not lost.
How we've helped New Zealand consulting engineers
As well as arranging Professional Indemnity insurance, CEAS has been involved in the management of risk for New Zealand consulting engineers for over 50 years. This includes:
- initiating the industry standard Short Form Agreement (SFA) for Consulting Engineers which is promoted through ACENZ and Engineering New Zealand
- initiating the Producer Statement system
- appearing at Select Committee hearings on issues affecting members
- issuing Indemnity Matters newsletter to update members on issues facing the engineering consultancy industry
- preparing publications on specific topics including good practice management to help members minimise exposure to liability
- a guide to better conditions of engagement
- issue of run-off cover when members retire or practices are wound up
- arranging Member's Forums and other face to face meetings to discuss issues of the day
- good risk management practices
- informing members of lessons learned through case studies.
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