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Transitions Magazine

Transitions is published bi-monthly for members of the APhA New Practitioner Network. The online newsletter contains information focused on life inside and outside pharmacy practice, providing guidance on various areas of professional, personal, and practice development. Each issue includes in-depth articles on such topics as personal financial management, innovative practice sites, career profiles, career development tools, residency and postgraduate programs, and more.

Common myths about professional liability insurance
Tom English

Common myths about professional liability insurance

When it comes to managing your career, you have a lot on your plate, but devoting hours to learning the ins-and-outs of malpractice insurance doesn’t have to be one of them. Malpractice insurance may seem confusing and intimidating. That’s why we’re here to help you understand some common misconceptions surrounding this important topic. 

Read on to learn more about the five most common myths we come across on a daily basis.

Myth #1: I’m covered under my employer’s professional liability insurance; therefore, I don’t need my own plan.

FALSE: While your employer-based plan may provide some coverage, it also may result in significant coverage gaps, thus leaving you vulnerable to the devastating effects of a malpractice lawsuit or licensing board complaints. Your employer’s policy focuses primarily on the coverage for its business. However, you need an insurance policy that puts your interests first and provides additional benefits to help protect you. Furthermore, your employer-based policy probably provides coverage solely at your place of work, and does not extend to volunteer work, moonlighting or freelance work you may undertake.

BOTTOM LINE: In order to truly help provide coverage and safeguard your career, you need your own individual professional liability policy.

Myth #2: A professional liability policy from HPSO only provides coverage in the event of a lawsuit.

FALSE: While it's true that policies issued through HPSO do provide coverage in the event of an actual malpractice lawsuit, the policy makes coverage available for more than that one scenario. HPSO’s policies also respond in the event of covered depositions, subpoena requests, complaints against your license and more. A malpractice lawsuit may potentially damage your career and your finances. However, we’re here to offer insurance products and services that provide other benefits as well.

BOTTOM LINE: HPSO’s policies are wide-ranging. Our approach considers various aspects of your career, such as finances, reputation and the ability to help you to continue to work toward your professional goals.

Myth #3: Malpractice insurance is cost prohibitive. I’d rather take my chances than have to spend so much money up front.

FALSE: The average lawsuit can devastate a career. For example, the average total cost of a malpractice lawsuit for counselors exceeds $110,000, the average total cost for physical therapists is $130,000, and the average total cost for pharmacists is $136,000.

You’ve spent time and money investing in your education and working hard to build your career. However, as a health care provider, you may be open to the risk of a malpractice incident or lawsuit simply by virtue of the nature of your job. Going without a professional liability policy is a risk. HPSO is here to help. We offer important coverage at an affordable premium cost.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t think of the premium as an up-front cost. Rather, it should be thought of as an investment in your career.

Myth #4: I’m a student and I’m covered by my institution. I don’t need a policy of my own.

FALSE: Even though you’re still learning the skills you’ll need to perform in your chosen field, you may be named as a defendant in a malpractice lawsuit. Even with the coverage provided under your institution’s policy, you’re exposed to potential risk. HPSO’s professional liability policy for students was created with you in mind. It helps provide coverage at an affordable price. And, as a bonus, even after graduation, your coverage can be extended to a professional policy until 6 months after graduation, or at your renewal, whichever is first—at no additional charge!

BOTTOM LINE: Safeguarding your future career is about more than test prep, practicums, and pop quizzes. A professional liability insurance policy has the potential to start your professional journey on the right track.

Myth #5: A patient can only allege malpractice during the course of treatment. Once I’m no longer seeing them, I can’t be named in a lawsuit.

FALSE: Malpractice can be alleged for months—if not years, after treatment with the patient—by an injured party (your patient), parent/guardian, or an estate. Keeping an occurrence-based individual professional liability policy current and active throughout the course of your career can help assure that you are protected and covered in the event of a lawsuit (subject to the terms, conditions, and exclusions of the policy). Under an occurrence policy, coverage is available for a claim that occurred during the policy period regardless of when the claim was reported. For information on a claims-made policy, click here.

BOTTOM LINE: As a health care professional, you are vulnerable to more risk than you may think. A policy through HPSO can help provide the coverage you need so that you can continue to practice with peace of mind.

This publication is intended to inform Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., customers of potential liability in their practice. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized guidance. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy. Any references to non-Aon, AIS, NSO, HPSO websites are provided solely for convenience, and Aon, AIS, NSO and HPSO disclaims any responsibility with respect to such websites. This information is not intended to offer legal advice or to establish appropriate or acceptable standards of professional conduct. Readers should consult with a lawyer if they have specific concerns. Neither Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., HPSO, nor CNA assumes any liability for how this information is applied in practice or for the accuracy of this information.

Healthcare Providers Service Organization is a registered trade name of Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., a licensed producer in all states (TX 13695); (AR 100106022); in CA, MN, AIS Affinity Insurance Agency, Inc. (CA 0795465); in OK, AIS Affinity Insurance Services, Inc.; in CA, Aon Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., (CA 0G94493), Aon Direct Insurance Administrators and Berkely Insurance Agency and in NY, AIS Affinity Insurance Agency.
 

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