As a medical professional, you no doubt already carry medical malpractice insurance. In most states, like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, this insurance is not only essential for physicians and other health care service providers, but also a legal requirement.
However, while your malpractice insurance will provide you with coverage for liability arising from disputed services that result in a patient’s injury or death, this is certainly not the only insurance product that you need to protect yourself, your business and your employees.
Today, medical and health care practices have far more to protect than ever before, including their office’s physical structure, the integrity of their patient’s electronic medical records and private information, and expensive, industry-specific equipment.
Here are six of the most important coverages to include in your medical office insurance package:
Since your medical malpractice insurance covers a range of expenses associated with defending and settling malpractice suits, you might wonder why you would even need to have a general liability policy on top of this coverage. However, the two types of insurance products – and what they cover – really are quite different from one another. Versus medical malpractice insurance, a General Liability policy covers “non-professional” negligent acts, such as a patient tripping over your reception area carpeting and injuring themselves. In this scenario, your medical practice could be held responsible for paying a variety of costs, such as medical and legal expenses, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. General Liability coverage is one of the most important insurance products to have in place because it can help alleviate the financial impact of a lawsuit resulting from any non-medically related bodily injury or harm done to your clients or anyone else who comes by your office, like delivery, cleaning, or maintenance people.
Employment Practices Liability
As opposed to medical malpractice insurance, which covers you in case of litigation by a patient, Employment Practices Liability (EPL) protects your medical or health care office from lawsuits filed by current and former employees. The majority of EPL lawsuits are based on a claim of wrongful termination related to age, sexual orientation, gender or race, but those types of complaints are not your only exposure. Employees also take their employers to court when they feel they have been wronged via invasion of privacy, failure to promote, defamation, deprivation of a career opportunity, negligent evaluation, and more. While it might seem hard to fathom any member of your caring and dedicated medical office team taking issue with your employer practices, there are tens of thousands of cases being heard by U.S. courts every year. Thus, having this extremely important coverage in place, is the unquestionably smart thing to do. An EPL policy may pay for any judgment for which you’re found liable as well as provide legal defense costs, which can be substantial even when there has been no wrongdoing.
If there is one type of liability insurance that seems to have been created with the medical and health care services industry in mind, it’s cyber liability coverage. While, of course, nobody wants their credit card information stolen while shopping at a big box store or any other retail establishment, if a card is compromised by a data breach, at least a consumer can dispose of the old one and get another. Much more unsettling to people today is the idea that their personal identity, including confidential medical, health, and insurance information could be stolen by cyber criminals. Medical practices like yours store a great deal of patient data that, if hacked into, could do irreparable damage to your clients, your business and your reputation. In particular, for medical offices and healthcare providers who must comply with HIPAA – a law that has emerged into greater prominence in recent years with the proliferation of health data breaches caused by cyberattacks and ransomware attacks – it is imperative that you invest in extra cyber liability coverage. This type of insurance protection provides you with comprehensive data security and privacy coverage that addresses both first party losses and third-party liability claims, expert claims handling and breach response services in the event of a suspected breach, credit monitoring for all affected patients, and a risk management website which provides information, guidelines, and tools to help mitigate risk before a breach occurs.
Some of your company’s assets are probably pretty similar to what’s in the HIG office setting – reception area coffee tables and chairs, office desks and filing cabinets, a breakroom coffee maker, fridge and microwave. But, the commonalities probably end there. We are keenly aware that your investment in equipment has gone well beyond what we will ever need to do to provide a high level of service to our clients and employees. To simply outfit just one exam room, you’ve probably invested several thousand dollars, or more, in exam tables, medical cabinets, and specialized medical equipment and other supplies. Business property insurance is the coverage that will ensure that you have the resources to repair or replace your medical office furniture and equipment should you ever experience damage or destruction by fire, vandalism, severe weather, or other covered event.
Computers, Computer Software and Data Coverage
Back when one-hundred-year-old obstetrician W.G. Watson started his practice in the late 1930s, there were no computers, no beepers, and certainly no cell phones. In fact, there was not much more he could tell a pregnant patient than, “See you and your baby in nine months!” Can you imagine running your medical practice today without the benefit of having modern technology and equipment? Just the thought of losing all of your computer hardware, not to mention the data and records kept in the system, probably makes you queasy. Our prescription is to have Computers, Computer Software and Data Coverage which protects you from the financial repercussions of having to reinstall data or software that’s been lost or attacked by a computer virus or malware. This coverage also helps you with the cost of replacing laptops, tablet PCs, mobile phones, or portable computer equipment that have been ruined by vandalism or a covered event, like a fire. Still keeping some papers, files and records the old-fashioned, manual way? We can make sure that your medical office insurance policy includes Valuable Papers and Records Coverage so you can replace or restore items that are stolen or destroyed in a covered event.
Experiencing a business shutdown due to a damaging event, like a fire or windstorm, can have a significant impact on any small to mid-sized company. But, when you are a medical or health care practitioner, with patients who rely on your care every day, being closed for business can obviously have much more far-reaching and significant effects than just financial ones. Business Interruption Insurance can not only stabilize your financial situation by covering revenue lost due to the closure and fixed expenses, such as rent and utility costs, but also help you get back to serving your patients quicker by paying for expenses of operating from a temporary location.
With any of these coverages, it’s important to understand that they come with specific limits and special features. For example, if you use extremely high-value, advanced technology in your practice, you may require an additional Health Care Endorsement to ensure that this equipment can be replaced or repaired if vandalized, stolen, or damaged by any other covered event. To ensure that you secure the comprehensive medical office insurance coverage that fits your business’ distinctive needs at affordable premiums, it’s important to work with a local, knowledgeable and experienced insurance agent, like HIG.
Contact us today for a complimentary review of your current medical office insurance policies and an assessment of your risks. We will gladly answer all your questions and concerns with the straightforward answers and advice that have been appreciated by medical and health care practitioners for generations.