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Avoiding Malpractice Tips

Would You Buy a Raincoat Full of Holes?

Oct 4, 2021 | Avoiding Malpractice Tips

Would You Buy a Raincoat Full of Holes?

The social work profession is indeed a noble one founded on service, integrity, and clinical expertise. At times, it can be a stressful and hazardous occupation. The nation is grateful for what you do, AND SO ARE WE! Thank you!

A client trips on your waiting room carpet, falls and breaks an ankle. Does your General Liability policy cover you? Maybe! Maybe NOT!

If your Professional Liability policy carries a General Liability rider, more often than not, it only covers you while you are delivering professional services during a therapy session. That is the same level of protection as a raincoat full of holes! Most carriers say your General Liability coverage is denied if a trip and fall in your waiting room happens while professional services are delivered, but not the NASWRRG.

Be wary of riders and endorsements for General Liability insurance coverage attached to your Professional Liability policy claiming to cover you in full. They usually don’t. That is why we recommend a stand-alone General Liability policy that the NASWRRG offers.

General Liability is considered the “first line” of coverage for a practice or business. The industry also calls it commercial liability insurance. Many states require General Liability, and certain sub-limits and aggregates are needed as well. Landlords frequently require it. The annual General Liability premium in the United States is about $100 billion. General Liability premium prices usually start around $500 per year, depending on the state and the carrier. The NASWRRG General Liability policies start with annual premiums of $154.

Most often, a good General Liability policy covers the critical perils: Third Party Property Loss or Damage, Bodily Injury, Personal Injury and Damages, Medical Expenses for Injured Parties, Advertising Injury, and Fire Legal Liability. The best General Liability policies like the NASWRRG have minimal exceptions and no broad exclusions.

Beware of limits on General Liability perils, particularly regarding fire claims. Fire incidents are the number one severe claim in the General Liability category, so most carriers limit one fire claim per year and cap the claim at $50,000 to maybe $300,000, certainly well below the policy per occurrence sub-limit. Many carriers also charge a deductible.

The NASWRRG has no deductible, no cap below the $1,000,000 per occurrence sub-limit, and no cap on fire peril frequency. Moreover, most carriers do not extend General Liability coverage beyond the insured’s premises. Still, the NASWRRG General Liability coverage travels along with the insured to other locations, including covering liability for thefts of client property while participating in therapy sessions with the insured.

Not the NASWRRG. Many General Liability carriers require an employee census and assessment of office locations and size. A particularly cumbersome requirement is when an insured replaces employees and contractors and moves, expands, or creates new offices and facilities. None of these variables matter to the NASWRRG because it only computes annual General Liability premium based on the insured’s yearly revenue.

You may ask why the NASWRRG General Liability policy is so comprehensive and half the price of other carriers’ General Liability policies. The reason is that the savings are passed along to the NASWRRG policyholders because the NASWRRG policyholders own the NASWRRG, not Wall Street stockholders.

Stay dry, my friends!

Thank you for all you do as first responders and as behavioral health and social work providers. It is truly a noble profession needed now more than ever. Good luck and stay healthy!

Avoiding Malpractice Tips

Avoiding Malpractice Tips

Monthly advice and information to help you manage risk. See list of past articles.

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COVID-19 Notice

NASW Risk Retention Group (NASW RRG) shares information based on our helpline inquiries, corresponding claims history, and an understanding of a varying nationwide professional state regulatory environment.

Due to COVID-19, many states have implemented or waived specific regulations; it is the individual professional's responsibility to research, implement, and monitor those regulations; and apply our risk management content as a consideration in your practice environment. Do not interpret this risk management material as any means to alter professional training, standards, nor any ethics information provided by your professional association.

Please understand, the NASW RRG makes no representations or warranties other than those stated to our current policyholders in the insurance policy contract. Please contact us if you have further questions.