Budget increase kicks in tomorrow

You may or nor may not remember, but in the last budget there was another attack on insurance premiums from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Not as you may wish from the insurers, unfortunately the increase is for all policy holders on the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax.  We first saw it increase from 6% to 9.5% and now it will increase to 10% from the 1st October 2016.

If you are looking to take out a policy now would be a good time to achieve that little extra saving.  At MIC we always try and mitigate the increases imposed upon our clients as best we can on policies such as Locum Insurance or your mandatory Surgery Insurance and Medical Indemnity cover.

Get your quote before the price goes up.

GP’s Indemnity costs for extended/weekend working hours

Recently read an article in Pulse titled ‘ GPs paying £35 per hour for indemnity fees as LMC leaders vote for full costs to be covered’.  Interesting read, however, it included some muddled examples perhaps perpetuating a common misconception regarding the medical defence unions.  To clear it up, the three main medical defence unions, MPS, MDU and MDDUS are NOT insurance companies, nor are they providing insurance cover in respect of the individual indemnity they offer to members.  They are mutual organisations who offer membership and as a part of that membership they could make available their support if needed.

In my time as an insurance broker I have provided many an medical indemnity insurance policy for healthcare entities and individuals and in the vast majority of cases they thought that the defence union’s cover was insurance.  Of course I put them right and in some cases they were quite shocked at the lack of transparency and recourse available to them in relation to a defence union.

The rising cost of medical indemnity for GP’s has been on the cards for some time now, but with their numbers accounting for a good proportion of the defence unions membership costs are being spread.  What I mean is that the risk spreading nature of the defence unions works to large respect, however, it is distorting the actual medical indemnity costs of many GP’s out there.  Out of hours work is in it its nature a higher risk element of GP’s work, however, extended working hours is not out of hours, as those patients seen are registered at that practice.

My experience of the defence unions of the last 10 years or so is that they are becoming more heavy handed with their members.  Perhaps a clearing out exercise to try and off load those individuals that no longer fit their membership criteria.

So should indemnity go over to the crown?  You may think I am bias in my opinion, but I don’t believe this to be the best option for GP’s, as the cover is very limited and not always in the best interests of the GP involved.  What is required is competition in the market.  It is currently dominated by the three defence unions, offering cover on a discretionary basis, unregulated and not accountable to anybody outside of the unions.  Many other countries actually put in a minimum requirement for indemnity cover and that it is insurance based, therefore, regulated and accountable in a court of law.  I know competition can sometimes be a dangerous word in areas of healthcare, but if you think about it, many already view the indemnity as insurance cover.  The only difference is that it is not working in a competitive market, such as the insurance market that is global and highly competitive in it nature.  Perhaps it is time that the indemnity question is revisited, as the last outcome only rubber stamped the current method, but many things have changed since then.

Medical Insurance Consultants are able to assist you individually and as an entity/company in all indemnity requirements.  Call us today on 0800 163870 or visit our website www.m-i-c.co.uk

How Much Longer Will It Keep Going? – Medical Indemnity costs

The ways things are going at the moment the chances of reducing the amount that individuals pay to Medical Defence Organisations for medical indemnity or malpractice cover, over the next few years, are very slim indeed.  It seems that the Consultants who provide a good professional service to their patients without any problems are being penalised by those that are not so good and do have problems.  A fairly sweeping statement, but one I am sure that is at the root of a problem that will not go away.

Why should trouble free consultants not benefit individually when they have an clean track record?  Does this ring a bell – do the words co-operative or insurance spring to mind? They should do because this is one of the simple definitions defining co-operative and insurance.  But there is light years difference when comparing these two words.  One gives you a guarantee – the other does not.

Which one would you choose and which one do you think costs less? You would have thought that the medical indemnity offered by the cooperative would cost less.  In fact it is the insurance guaranteed cover that in most cases is cheaper.  How can this be?  It is not rocket science!  Individuals are assessed as individuals and from there insurers are able to establish the “risk factor”.  If say a consultant has not had any claims he/she will obtain a better premium than somebody (in the same speciality) who has had claims. The greater the risk to the insurers the greater the premium will be.

The other point to make is that the insurance cover gives you “a contract” that states exactly what you are insured against and the amount that you are insured for.  The other is discretionary.  Insurance provides guaranteed recourse options, the other does not.

How long will the “bulk assessment” continue?  The answer is – so long as the people in the co-operative are prepared to fund the people who make claims.  There is a good comparison in everyday life – Would you expect to pay the same premium, having not made a claim for the last 10 years, as a newly qualified driver driving the same type of vehicle as you?  I suspect you would not be too happy if you did.

So, how do you feel about the amount you pay for medical indemnity cover?

Contact Medical Insurance Consultants to discuss your medical indemnity options.

Is there a shift in thought over Private Practice Indemnity cover?

For a long time now when asked who provides your medical indemnity cover the answer was simple, it was either the MDU, MPS or MDDUS.  It was a given that you were with one of the traditional mutual defence bodies, but have times changed and what other options are available?

The three traditional medical defence bodies have been around for a long time and operate in a unique way when compared with the insurance market.  Cover is provided by an occurrence based membership, giving discretionary assistance in the event of a claim to the member who requests it.  Much is made by the defence bodies of the flexibility and unlimited nature of this type of cover, however, is it all it is cracked up to be?  My experience is in the insurance market, working with many types of healthcare individuals and businesses for their property, liabilities, legal, personal and medical indemnity insurance, allowing me to question certain aspects of the cover compared with indemnity insurance cover.

The first point to consider is the basis of cover, this being the ‘discretionary’ basis given at the discretion of the board.  It contrasts quite significantly with the contractual obligation provided under an insurance contract and affords little recourse to the member should anything arise the member is not happy with, such as assistance not being provided.  This won’t happen I hear you say, but unfortunately it does happen and was referenced to in the MDU press release dated 14th December 2010, whereby it mentions two members who were first told they would get assistance and this was later withdrawn.  No reason was given for this, as according to the membership agreement, they don’t have to tell you.  Insurance contracts don’t and can’t operate in this manner, as it goes against the Financial Conduct Authority regulations and would be a breach of contract, with recourse options available to you through financial regulatory bodies and the courts.

The second point is the notion of unlimited cover as part of the membership of an MDO.  Is it really unlimited?  Simple answer is no, as with any mutual organisation the amount of cover is limited to the financial assets of that organisation, but when you offer discretionary cover you can say pretty much what you like.  The MDO’s are understandably very protective of their claims history, however, with the majority of membership fee’s increasing each year above inflation the funds available aren’t keeping up.  A medical indemnity insurance policy gives a defined limit of indemnity usually up to £10,000,000 per claim and policy year, which is more than enough to satisfy private hospital requirements and very often with a zero excess, the same as the MDO’s.

The third point is about cover when moving between medical indemnity providers or switching from occurrence based MDO cover to a claims made indemnity insurance policy or vice versa.  Occurrence based means that you are covered for circumstances that occur while you were a member, albeit on a discretionary basis.  A claims made policy provides cover for circumstances notified during a policy period, therefore, moving from an MDO to an insurance contract you would be covered by the MDO for circumstances during your membership period and any circumstances notified after this would be covered by your insurance policy.  The insurance policy would then cover you for as long as it is renewed for circumstances that occur from the date you left the MDO, known as retroactive cover, and is shown by the retroactive date on your policy.  Switching your cover between insurers is a simple process, as the new insurer will follow the retroactive date on your policy, providing seamless cover, similar to switching between MDO’s. I have heard a lot of comments from clients about how they have been told by their MDO that they would be left high and dry by an insurance policy if they decided to move back to them.  This is not that simple, as when or if you decide to move back to an occurrence based discretionary membership from an indemnity insurance policy it is an obligation of the new provider to ensure that you are not left without cover.  The MDO, if it wants you back, should provide cover for the periods that the insurance policy was covering, the same that would happen when you switch insurers, and when working on a discretionary basis this should be a simple task.  If for some reason the MDO will not give this cover then your insurer can offer run-off cover for you, but if the MDO is not willing to help why are you going back to them in first place.  I have found with our clients that to date none have requested to move back to the MDO’s, they have either remained with us or moved to another insurer.  A good medical indemnity or malpractice insurance policy will also provide run-off cover when you retire from private practice or die, covering you and your estate should a claim arise.

It may be that you like the reassurance of being able to contact your MDO for advice on matters, but this is no longer the unique aspect of the MDO’s as insurers are now providing medico-legal helplines with their policies allowing you to talk medico-legal experts when you need advice.

A more competitive and active indemnity market can only be to the benefit of consultants in private practice, allowing more choice of provider and the costs they have to bear to carry on practising.  Hospital groups are realising this and putting support behind insurance based indemnity policies, as they can provide that extra level of certainty that the MDO discretionary cover can’t.  Each method of cover does have its own merits and it is down to the individual to decide what elements they deem important when deciding where they place their indemnity cover.  Who knows, it may be that this decision is taken out of our hands and the UK follow the vast majority of other countries in requiring the cover to be on a contractual level of cover, not just discretionary.

If you would like to see which may suit you best, contact Medical Insurance Consultants (MIC) on 0800 163870 or click for a quote here.

Consultants Private Practice Medical Indemnity Insurance Savings!

MIC recently released their new Medical Indemnity Insurance product to Consultants with a great reception. The product covers all indemnity needs for private practice and gives medico-legal helpline if you need it. We don’t blanket rate specialities, like most MDO’s, we look at you as an individual and quote you a price based upon your roles, income and history. Indemnity limits are available to suit your needs or the limits set down by the private hospital you may work for, be it £1 million, £3 million, £5 million or £10 million.

Current savings being achieved are at least 25% off your existing membership rates/premium.

To see what you could be saving just give us a call on 0800 163870 or email [email protected] .

Remember that MIC is not a one trick pony and can assist you in all your business insurance needs as well as many personal ones.

Medical Indemnity insurance for Consultants and Specialists private practice

MIC are pleased to announce that we are now able to expand the medical professions we can provide insurance for. The new package available to us is designed specifically for a doctors private practice work, providing medical indemnity (also known as medical malpractice) insurance for this work that is not covered by NHS indemnity.

To obtain a quotation please click here.

A brief summary of the benefits are:

  • Various levels of indemnity
  • Cover claims for clinical negligence
  • A Claims Made policy
  • Libel & Slander cover
  • Breach of confidence cover
  • Defence costs, including GMC proceedings
  • Professional Indemnity cover for review boards and expert reports
  • 24hr Medico-legal helpline and claims reporting
  • 10 years run-off cover at expiring limit of indemnity, plus a further 10 years at £1 million in death or permanent retirement
  • Legal expenses insurance for disciplinary non-clinical matters including the NHS
  • Good Samaritan Acts worldwide