Professional liability insurance premiums for engineers and architects, which in recent years have been at historic lows, are on the rise, according to a recent survey of 14 leading A/E insurance companies. The nation-wide survey—carried out by the National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Private Practice (NSPE-PEPP) (Alexandria, VA), the Risk Management Committees of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)—compiles information relating to coverage, exclusions, claim trends, and the insurer's history, among other issues.

According to survey results, current premium rates were already heading higher prior to the events of September 11. Expected losses from September 11 came at a time when many insurers, financially weakened as a result of overzealous competition, already were experiencing pressure from reinsurers to increase rates and drop unprofitable programs.

"Years of competitive pricing had pushed the market to the bottom and it was starting to 'harden up' even before the September 11 catastrophe. September 11 accelerated the process and removed a lot of capacity," according to Lorna Parsons, managing director, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, based in Chevy Chase, MD. Now the pressure is even greater and "will impact all lines of insurance, including A/E professional liability," says Brian Van Cleve, vice-president of Illinois-based Euclid Managers. "Not only do we expect price increases but also fewer markets providing coverage," he says. ASME For the second consecutive year, the engineering community will include outreach to K-12 girls as part of Engineers Week activities. E-Week organizers have designated Thursday, Feb. 21, as "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day." On that day, the engineering community will publicize the need to recruit more women into engineering education and careers, as well as reach out to K-12 girls with positive messages about math and science education and engineering careers.

The goal of the day's activities is to mobilize at least 10,000 female engineers who will reach out to one million girls. This will be done through activities ranging from corporate plant tours and job shadowing to demonstrations of basic scientific and engineering principles in K-12 classrooms and university open houses for high school students.

"Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" is an outgrowth of the first Engineers Week Diversity Summit, held in October 1999. The long-term objective of the activity is to attract increasing numbers of women to the engineering profession by raising the interest of girls and young women in engineering, math and science subjects long before they enter college.

The event is guided by a number of corporations and professional societies such as ASME, as well as by the National Academy of Engineering's Celebration of Women in Engineering program.