Quick guide to surgery insurance

Oct 24

Quick guide to surgery insurance

Here is a quick overview of the main points associated with surgery insurance.

Definitions

There is no universal pre-definition of something called surgery insurance.

Different insurance providers will see the risks and cover required, differently. As a result, it’s important to think about your unique situation and its risks then to look carefully at the cover offered by a policy to see if the two match-up.

General risk and peril areas

There are a number of risks that you personally as a heath care professional, or as a practice, might be exposed to. Just a sample includes:

  • property issues. Typically seen as encompassing a range of perils including flood, fire and subsidence etc. Cover here is probably essential if you own the property. Even if you don’t and are only leasing, elements of buildings cover might still be highly advisable if, for example, you have constructed say a treatment room on the property (typically not covered by the owner’s buildings insurance);
  • Burglary, theft, vandalism and consequential damage following a flood or fire – these and other risks like them could put your expensive equipment at risk. A related issue here is what might be termed personal theft. That’s when the personal property of you or your colleagues is stolen while you’re at work;
  • If they’re taken ill or injured as a result of their legitimate activities on your behalf, then you may be liable. Employers’ liability insurance is typically a legal requirement and can be included as part of surgery insurance;
  • the public (1). Risks exist from having members of the public in your surgery. Trips, falls, slips, collapsing chairs – they and things like them cause injury. In a litigious society you may be held accountable. This is called public liability;
  • the public (2). You may also be sued under the grounds of professional negligence, incompetence or malpractice, which in turn leads to injury or financial loss for the person concerned. This is professional indemnity insurance;
  • business interruption. If your surgery has to close for a time whilst undergoing repairs following an insured peril claim (e.g. a flood) you may need to find an alternative temporary location. That will prove expensive and that’s where this cover can help.

Policies and getting help

If you’re a medical or medical services professional, you probably lack both the time and interest required to become an expert in insurance too.

Trying to assess where your financial and legal exposures are and how various policies would deal with them isn’t always easy. You might find it advisable to consult a specialist in the provision of such policies for assistance in assessing just how your risks could be dealt with through one policy versus another.

In practice, most policy providers offer a “core cover” comprising several elements of cover to perhaps include on-site public liability, buildings and contents cover. Many other components can be selected and added to the core provisions as required by your individual surgery insurance requirements.

Multiple sites / practices

For very ordinary commercial reasons, it’s often cost- advantageous to consolidate your cover through a single provider.

So, if you have more than one location, perhaps one providing GP services with another offering physiotherapy, it might be sensible to combine the two in insurance cover terms.