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Choosing Insurance to Protect Your Practice

December 14, 2021

🇨🇦 Before we get started, we should mention this blog is based on Canadian insurance.

📍 Keep in mind, these resources are being provided for informational purposes only and do not replace the need for personalized insurance advice from a licensed insurance broker.

Hello to our Canadian Community,

If the idea of finding the right insurance for your practice has you reaching for the Advil, you’re not alone. 🤕 The world of insurance can be a bit convoluted, but today we’re going to try to untangle things a bit.

During Allied 2021, we sat down with Danish Yusuf, Founder and CEO of Zensurance, to learn the ins and outs of General, Professional & Cyber Liability Insurance for Practitioners. It was such a helpful conversation that we thought we should lay it out for you here!

Before we dive in, check out this handy checklist that we made with the help of the team at Zensurance! You can click the image to view and download if you’d like. ⬇️

Zensurance has also provided some extra resources for solo practitioners and clinic owners, as well as some great general insurance tips for the Jane community!

You can also get in touch with them directly if you’d like more information or a free quote.

Let’s take a closer look at each of those types of insurance:

⚖️ Medical Malpractice Insurance

🚧 General Liability Insurance

📦 Property Insurance

🤖 Cyber Insurance

⚖️ Medical Malpractice Insurance

Also known as Errors and Omissions, E&O, Malpractice, and MedMal… nothing confusing there, right? 😏

Medical Malpractice Insurance: is a form of Professional Liability insurance that covers health and wellness providers against actual and alleged bodily injury and/or financial loss due to a service provided.

Alright, so that was a lot of jargon. Let’s break it down a bit:

  • Actual and alleged: whether you did in fact cause harm (actual) or are simply being accused of causing harm (alleged)

  • Bodily injury: physical pain, illness, or death

  • Financial loss: this refers to the financial loss the client/patient suffers due to their injury

This is the most important insurance for any health-service provider, and insurance companies often won’t sell you another insurance policy until you have this one locked in. If you’re a regulated health professional, most regulatory bodies won’t let you renew your license until you’ve obtained adequate Medical Malpractice/Professional Liability insurance.

Common Add-Ons to Medical Malpractice Insurance

An add-on is additional coverage you can add to your main insurance policy to ensure it provides all the protection you need.

  • General Liability Insurance: we’ll cover this in detail below, but General Liability usually includes Slip & Fall insurance and can include Product Liability. For individual practitioners, you can often get this as an add-on to your Medical Malpractice policy. For clinic owners, it’s usually a separate policy.

  • Legal Entity Coverage: if someone is making a claim against you, they’ll often also make a claim against the business you’re operating under. For solo practitioners operating under their own business license, check if your Medical Malpractice coverage protects your business. If not, you can get this as an add-on! If you are a multi-practitioner clinic owner, your clinic should have its own Medical Malpractice and Legal Entity Coverage (more on that below).

  • Disciplinary Proceedings by your Regulatory Body: if your regulatory body is bringing charges against you and you require legal defence, this add-on will help pay for that.

  • Online Work: there’s been a big shift to online work in the health industry since March 2020 and insurance companies haven’t all caught up yet. If you see clients via telehealth, check that your Medical Malpractice insurance covers this. If not, you can likely get it as an add-on.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • International Clients: with the rise of telehealth, you may have considered widening your practice to an international client base. However, both your regulatory body (if applicable) and insurance might not allow that. Be sure to check if your policy covers working with clients outside of Canada.

  • Age Restrictions: your insurance may not cover the treatment of minors or may place additional requirements on working with clients or patients under a certain age (such as requiring signed consent from a parent or guardian). If you work with minors, be sure to check for this.

  • Whenever possible, communicate with your insurance company in writing (ex. via email). That way there is written documentation of your question and their response. This is especially important when asking whether or not certain things are covered by your policy.

  • If you have a patient or client interaction that concerns you, document, then document, and then document some more.

  • Some policies require you to notify them of any claims brought against you within a certain window of time. Look for this in your policy and be sure to report any claims within that window. If you don’t, they can refuse to cover you for those claims.

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🚧 General Liability Insurance

Also known as Commercial General Liability and CGL. 🙃

General Liability Insurance: The main component of this policy is Slip & Fall, which covers you if someone is injured in the space you conduct business as a result of the environment (ex. wet floors), rather than your treatment.

Common Add Ons to General Liability Insurance

  • For solo practitioners: General Liability is often offered as an add-on to your Medical Malpractice insurance.

  • For clinic owners: General Liability may be its own policy or offered as an add-on to your clinic’s Medical Malpractice policy.

  • Product Liability: someone is injured in the course of using a product you sold them. Ex. a client breaks out in a skin rash after using a cream you sold them.

  • Non-Owned Auto: if your employees ever drive their own vehicles to run errands for the clinic, consider adding Non-Owned Auto to your General Liability. The employee’s auto insurance may not cover them if they are deemed to be driving for work purposes. If your employees drive their own vehicles regularly as part of their role (ex. a mobile practitioner), you’ll likely need to look into Commercial Auto insurance.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • For mobile/home care providers: you might still need General Liability insurance! Even if a client were to trip over your equipment in their own home, they could potentially make a claim against you.

  • If you sell any products: be sure to itemize exactly what you are selling, where the product has come from (country, company, etc.), and where you are selling to. Some policies may not cover you for selling products to or from certain places. Ex. if you sell to clients outside of Canada.

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📦 Property Insurance

Property Insurance: besides covering the property you run your business from (if you own it), this policy will cover your business-related equipment in the event of vandalism, theft, and fire or water damage.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Co-Insurance Penalty: when it comes to property insurance, most insurers require you to insure anywhere from 80-100% of the true value of the property. If you choose to insure less than this value, the insurance company can pro-rate the amount they pay on any claim, even if the value of the claim is less than the value you insured.

    Here’s an example of how that works:

    • You own $5000 worth of equipment
    • Your property insurance states you must insure a minimum of 90% of the value

    [90% of $5000= $4500]

    • To save money on your monthly payment, you only insure half of your equipment ($2500). Sadly, your business is vandalized and $2000 worth of equipment is damaged.
    • When the insurer assesses your claim, they determine that you have only insured 55% of your minimum value

    [$2500 of $4500= 55%]

    • Because of this, they will only pay 55% of your claim, even though the cost of the damage is within the amount you have insured.

    [55% of $2000= $1100]

    Major bummer.

  • If you own a piece of equipment worth more than $2500, this may need to be recorded (serial number etc.) and sent to your insurance provider when you purchase your policy (or as soon as the equipment is purchased). If you fail to report a new item within a certain number of days, your insurance provider can refuse to cover it.

    It’s probably not a bad idea to document all valuable equipment in your practice for yourself as well!

  • Water Damage: this may need to be purchased as an add-on! Be sure to check for different types of water damage that may apply to your space as well, as they are often added separately (ex. sewage vs. flood).

  • Portable Electronics: (like laptops, tablets, phones) are not always covered. It is important to itemize any electronic that you own that can be easily removed from the business. Additionally, many policies will specify how long property can be removed from the premises.

  • Tenant Improvements (such as new paint, light fixtures, flooring) need to be insured separately from Property Insurance.

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🤖 Cyber Insurance

This one can also have a multitude of names, but generally, you’ll find the word ‘cyber’ in there.

Cyber Insurance: this type of policy is relatively new and therefore what it covers can vary greatly from insurance company to insurance company. There are typically three main parts:

  • Incident Response: if patient/client data is stolen and you have to expend time and resources to respond, this insurance should cover the costs of things like lawyer fees, forensic IT, and client notification. The best insurance providers will also have a service that can help you coordinate this response.

  • Privacy Liability: if you are being sued by a patient or client for financial loss or bodily injury as a result of a data leak, this will cover those costs.

  • Business Interruption: if you suffer a cyber attack and have to shut down for a couple of weeks to fix the problem, this should cover the resulting loss of income. This is a common clause in many different types of insurance, so keep an eye out for it!

Common Add Ons to Cyber Insurance

  • Cybercrime: if someone is holding your data for ransom or tricks you into sending money to an account they shouldn’t, this will have you covered.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Privacy Liability is typically covered, but not always! Be sure to check for it. Pay attention to what is covered:

    1st party liability= the financial loss YOU incur to fix an issue.

    3rd party liability= losses to OTHERS that you are responsible for covering.

  • Pay attention to the value that is covered. If your Cyber Insurance covers $1000, you should check to see if that provides $1000 across all 4 parts (incident response, privacy liability, cybercrime, and business interruption) or $1000 for EACH part. This is an important distinction to pay attention to in all of your insurance policies!

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That’s all for now! We hope this has helped give you a better understanding of your insurance needs and what to look out for when purchasing and using your policies. Let us know if there are any other resources that would be helpful for you in the future!

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