Breach of Confidentiality

Are you covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance when it comes to a breach of confidentiality? 

What is a breach of confidentiality?

A breach of confidentiality is when private information is disclosed to a third party without the consent of the party which owns it.

Examples of information which could be disclosed in the course of your business can include but are not limited to:


  • Details of suppliers and their terms of business
  • Details of customers or clients
  • Financial information
  • Details of employees or contractors
  • Trade secrets
  • Computer systems, software, or programmes
  • Any information provided in confidence by your clients, their customers, employees or suppliers


Does Professional Indemnity Insurance cover breach of confidentiality?

Qdos Professional Indemnity Insurance will cover you for defence costs and legal liability in respect of unintentional breach of confidentiality allegations made by your client in respect of your business. Examples may include:

  • Emailing a client's profit and loss accounts to another client by accident
  • Saving information on an unsecured system making it accessible to third parties
  • Discussing a client's trade secrets in a public place


Most contracts will include explicit clauses in relation to confidential information, and many will specify that you hold a suitable PI insurance policy as a result. You may also wish to consider holding a Professional Indemnity Insurance policy to cover such claims if you:


  • Handle client data
  • Handle or have access to sensitive or personal information
  • Have access to client data, systems, or information
  • Work with the media


Preventing breaches of confidentiality

If you have access to confidential information as a course of your business, it is vital to ensure this information is kept safe to not only prevent legal action being taken against you, but to maintain credibility with both existing and future clients.

You can help prevent unintentional breaches by:

  • Keeping your IT systems and software up-to-date with suitable virus protection
  • Use strong unique passwords for each system - particularly differentiating passwords for personal and business use
  • Avoid accessing data or client systems on public networks
  • Encrypt data, particularly if it is held on a portable device or being transferred
  • Ask your client who has access to the information being shared with you
  • Avoid discussing business activities in public locations where you can be overheard
  • Avoid use of Auto-Complete features on mailbox providers for inputting email addresses, or disable the feature altogether

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