What is professional liability insurance?

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Any therapy practitioner or counsellor looking to take out an insurance policy is likely to come across Professional Liability detailed on their quote. This is a vital part of any therapist insurance policy that will protect you and your business against potentially costly claims.

Due to the potentially hands-on nature of practising therapy, there comes an increased risk of a client or customer making a claim against that professional. This could be as a result of an injury suffered whilst undergoing treatment, or illness suffered following a therapy session.

Covering your negligence

Professional Liability insurance will cover you and your business if those injuries or illnesses come as a result of negligent act, error or omission on your part.

Sometimes called Medical Malpractice Insurance, having Professional Liability coverage will mean that if you are protected for a variety of scenarios. A Thai massage professional that causes a muscle or skeletal injury to a client due to performing the massage incorrectly would be covered. As would a hot stone massage therapist whose negligence meant their stones were overheated, causing burns to their clients.

Professional Liability - Hot Stone Massage
 

In these situations the therapist could face legal action from their client. With an insurance policy that includes Professional Liability, the professional would be covered for a number of costs. This includes the legal fees associated with defending the business, and any subsequent fines or settlements.

Claims Made vs Claims Occurring

One thing to remember and take note of when purchasing insurance is the terms that are applied in relation to professional liability. In many cases this benefit will be included on a ‘Claims made’ basis.

This means that for a professional liability claim to be valid, the claim must be made before the policy expires. Any claim made on this basis cannot relate to an event that occurred before the policy’s retroactive date.

The retroactive date refers to the inception date of your original policy with that insurer. If you have multiple, consecutive years cover under the same policy that has been renewed, it is likely that your retroactive date will be the first day that your cover with that particular insurer began.

Therefore, should a massage therapist treat a client a year ago (in year one of your policy), and that client subsequently claims that a long-term injury was caused during that treatment, a year later having renewed the same cover, the therapist would be covered. However, if that therapist had changed insurance providers in the meantime, it is unlikely they would be covered unless the new insurer had agreed to a retroactive date (normally at a cost).

Massage Therapy - Professional Liability
 

Policies operating on a ‘Claims made’ basis differ to those made on what is called a ‘Claims Occurring’ basis. This means that coverage is only included for events that happen during that single policy period, usually a year. If a claim were to come against the therapist in the future when they were uninsured, so long as the incident occurred during the coverage period, it would be valid.

Getting covered

Protectivity’s Therapist Insurance policy includes Professional Liability as standard. With prices starting at just £3.13 a month, therapists and counsellors can take advantage of this cover alongside Public Liability, Professional Indemnity and optional equipment and personal accident cover.

If you are unsure as to what protection your insurance policy provides or are looking to learn more about our Therapy product, just get in touch.