By: Steven Boyne
Let’s Talk Insurance. Beyond Malpractice insurance, what other insurance should I consider?
Every medical provider knows that you have to buy malpractice insurance, and they generally understand why they need it. Another policy that every business has to have is Workers Compensation for their employees. But beyond these two policies, what else should a business consider:
- CGL – The Commercial General Liability Policy. Along with your malpractice policy, this is probably the most important policy you should purchase. CGL policies cover the following risks: Property damage, bodily injury, reputational harm and advertising injury. Examples of risk that would be covered would be someone slips and falls in your office, or a patient claims that you included a picture of them on your website without their permission, or the company that you hired to create your website stole the look and feel, or other information from another doctor in-town.
- Renter or Owner Property Insurance. If you own an office, or even rent space, you should consider property insurance. This will cover you for fire, water damage from leaking pipes or rain, trees falling onto your property, and theft.
- Flood Insurance. If your building is in a flood zone, you should consider buying flood insurance as rising water is generally NOT covered under standard property insurance. This type of insurance is generally inexpensive, and can prove to be very useful if there is a big storm or hurricane that has caused water damage to your property.
- Employment Practices Liability. These policies cover claims and lawsuits over wrongful termination, discrimination, workplace harassment and retaliation from your current or past employees. Generally smaller offices do not buy this type of policy, but if you have a relatively large staff, or multiple offices, you ought to consider coverage, as these types of claims can be very costly.
- Theft and Employee misconduct. While there are separate policies that cover a business for bad employees, oftentimes this type of coverage can be added to one of your other policies. Again the cost is not particularly high, so the key is to ask your broker about possible coverage.
- Cyber. We all read on a daily basis about different companies getting hacked or paying ransoms to criminals, but generally a small or medium-size physician’s office is not going to be a target. However, what you may face is some sort of inadvertent leak of patient information, and depending on the type of information released there are some very draconian penalties and reporting requirements. Examples of how this can happen can include theft of your laptop from your car, or a bad employee stealing patient data, or your IT systems not being set up correctly that allows a third party to review patient information. If this happens it can be very expensive to hire attorneys and forensic investigators to respond to requests from regulators, other health care entities, patients, and the press. Cyber insurance can be expensive for large corporations, but it is quite affordable for smaller ones.
- Business Interruption. If your office is burns down, or you cannot get to it because a hurricane has damaged the surrounding infrastructure, BI insurance can be your lifeline to pay all of the costs to set up an alternate location. Before buying this type of insurance, you need to honestly evaluate your risks, which would include where your office is located, how much it would cost to set up an alternate location, and most importantly do you have the cash on hand to make these payments.
In every type of policy you need to consider deductibles, limits of coverage, and possible gaps. Additionally, after you have settled on your insurance coverage, you ought to consider whether an umbrella policy that kicks in when certain limits are exceeded makes sense. Buying insurance is like every other important decision a business makes, and should be carefully considered, and periodically reviewed for both coverage and cost.