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Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Medical Malpractice

Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Medical Malpractice combined.. we've got you covered!

  • For self-employed, companies, partnerships, and groups
  • Over 500 covered practices, including healing practices, coaching, management, training, beauty procedures and many more
  • Choice of cover levels - up to £5 / €6.5 million limit available
  • Extensive cover – can include work overseas
  • From application to protection, in minutes
  • Mid-term changes easy
  • Optional extras: cyber liability, office contents, personal accident, portable business equipmentand employer’s liability

What is it?

We know understanding the ins and outs of insurance can be confusing, so here we want to keep things simple.

So, being specialists in the insurance market with over 14 years of experience, we designed this combined product to fit the needs of freelancers, businesses and groups. It could indemnify you up to your chosen cover level for different situations that can occur during the course of your work. Whether it’s a customer hurting themselves at your premises, you doing something you shouldn’t have, or one of the products you use in your practice causing damage, these are all mishaps that occasionally happen and could lead to a devastating claim against you.

Having our combined professional indemnity, public liability and medical malpractice insurance provides you with total peace of mind – knowing that in the event of a claim, someone else will take up your battle. If it’s found that you (or one of your employees) did do something wrong, the insurance will cover the legal and compensation costs up to the level you chose – meaning you and your business are safe.

Do I need it?

If you provide a service of any kind, even if you do so free of charge, regard it as a hobby or make only a small income from it, there is always the possibility of someone making a claim against you – that you did something wrong, or perhaps didn’t do something that you should have done.

With the best will in the world, even the most honest and professional person can make a mistake. Worse, allegations can be received and have to be fought evenif you are blameless but have to prove it!

Should this happen the consequences can be drastic: not only can it be very stressful and time consuming, but legal costs escalate fast and if the claim is successful the compensation to be paid can cripple your business. Of course, if you’re a sole trader your business is ‘you’, in which case it will be your personal assets (savings/ property equity etc) that will be used to cover the costs.

So, the question is, 'Would you want help handling such an unfortunate situation, and with cover costing so little, doesn't it make sense to have it?'


Note: on this page you will find abbreviated information for guidance only – subject always to the full Policy Wording.

What is covered?

As this is a policy ‘in aggregate’, all of the listed liabilities below would be covered up to your chosen cover level, which means that one or more claims can be covered by this policy, as long as its requirements are met and the whole amount does not exceed your chosen cover limit.

This policy is written on a claims made basis which means that the policy covers you for claims made against you and notified to us during the period of insurance. An exception would be if you received a claim during the period of insurance for something you did before obtaining thing insurance, if the event occurrence falls within the period of your retroactive date.

    • - Public Liability
    • - Products Liability
    • - Medical Malpractice
    • - Professional Indemnity
    • - Breach of confidentiality
    • - Breach of intellectual property
    • - Loss of documents
    • - Defamation
    • - Dishonesty of employees
    • - Legal costs
    • - Public relations expenses
    • - Your work as a subcontractor
    • - The work of your subcontractors, provided they have their own liability insurance in place

What is not covered?

    • - Prior or pending acts
    • - Bodily injury insurable elsewhere
    • - Clinical trials
    • - Your property or property in your care
    • - Product repair or replacement costs
    • - Claims arising from computer viruses
    • - Claims arising out of the manufacture of products
    • - Claims based upon insolvency
    • - Claims caused by
      • - Dishonesty
      • - War
      • - Nuclear
      • - Pollutants
      • - Asbestos
      • - Intoxication
      • - Hepatitis, HIV or Aids
      • - Abuse
      • - Discrimination

Definitions

  • Malpractice: bodily or mental injury, illness, disease or death caused to a customer
  • Professional indemnity: negligence or a breach of a duty of care. In other words, you did something you shouldn't, or didn't do something you should have done
  • Public and products liability: a customer hurts themselves at your premises, or a product you supplied failed,caused harm or was not as described
  • Defence costs and expenses: all legal costs incurred in defending a claim, and compensation paid out as a result of a successful claim
  • Breach of confidentiality: you or one of your staff accidentally disclose private information
  • Breach of intellectual property: you or one of your staff accidentally use copyrighted material
  • Continuous cover: for claims that should, but weren’t notified at a date prior to the policy provided that a previous policy with this insurer was in place at that time
  • Coroners inquests: : covering the costs of representation and your attendance at any Coroner's inquest
  • Court attendance costs: covering the costs of attending court (subject to maximum daily amounts)
  • Defamation: compensation paid because you or one of your staff said something deemed defamation, libel or slander – up to £25,000
  • Dishonest of employees: loss suffered through the dishonesty of a member of staff – up to £25,000
  • Extended notification: is a grace period after the natural expiry of your policy in which you can notify us of any claim that arose during the policy period
  • Good Samaritan acts: treatment you gave in a medical emergency, accident or disaster
  • Loss of documents: covers the cost of replacing and restoring lost or damaged documents – up to £25,000
  • Public relations expenses: when engaged in protecting your reputation - up to £25,000
  • Representation costs: covers costs of representing you at an investigation
  • Retroactive date: the date specified in the schedule from which we will cover business you performed but only where such business was disclosed to and accepted by us
  • Your work as a subcontractor or agency work: when you are contracted or employed to work
  • Your subcontractors: work others do on your behalf, provided that they also have their own insurance

How much will it cost?

The cost of your policy will vary depending on a number of factors (see below), but here is an example of a typical policy:-

£1 million indemnity cover for 1-2 people in a business with a turnover of up to £125,000 per year, that does not work with overseas customers.

Only £117.04 ( or £10.34 per month ) or from as little as £93.04 ( £8.14 per month ) if you are from one of our recognised organisations

IMPORTANT!

Always give accurate information when applying for insurance. Any misrepresentation could invalidate your policy.

The cost of your insurance will vary depending on the following:

  • The number of people to be covered.
    You should only include those people employed by you, or working on your behalf under your business name, who provide the service for which you are seeking insurance. People who perform a purely administrative role do not have to be included.

  • The level of indemnity cover required.
    You can choose from £1,000,000, £2,000,000or £5,000,000 ( or €1.2 million, €2.4 million or €6.5 million ).For many people £1,000,000 is sufficient but if you use public venues you will often find that they will require you to have £5,000,000.

  • The size of your business.
    In this particular situation size is determined by the turnover of your business. This is how much income your business receives in a year – NOT the profit you are left with after expenses, or the amount you pay yourself. You don’t have to worry about knowing the exact amount but will be asked 'to choose from our range of income brackets, the lowest of which is up to £125,000'.

  • Whether or not you do business overseas.
    You must inform us if you conduct business with overseas clients. If this includes the US and Canada it will increase your premium.

  • Discount
    Westminster is very pleased that many training organisations, accreditation bodies and membership groups recommend our insurance to their students or members, and in turn we support the professionalism that these organisations encourage by offering a discount to their students/members.

    If you belong to such a body then please ask them or us if they are one of our recognised organisations.


What’s the process?

Getting a quote, or multiple quotes, and buying insurance from Westminster couldn’t be quicker or easier. You can have your documents in minutes. All online, you can do it whenever suits you best and be in control of the whole process, but if you have any questions we are more than happy to hear from you.


Frequently asked questions

General and Quotes

We are a fully automated process and provide all the information needed for you to make an informed decision online.

A quotation is available 24/7 online. Anywhere on our website simply click on the ‘Get a Quote’ button.  That will take you through the questions necessary to generate a quotation. It’s all straightforward and simple and once produced you have the option to save the quote for later or proceed direct to purchase. 

If you choose to proceed to purchase, you have the option to pay monthly or for the whole year by Credit or Debit Card and once the transaction is authorised your policy is issued immediately. Your documents will be emailed to you for you to print and save.

For more details on this click on the ‘What’s the process?’ tab and if there’s still anything that remains unclear, simply give us a call, we always love to chat.

 

If you look at the wording carefully you will see that your signed declaration that the information entered is correct is required at or before a claim NOT at the time the policy is issued.

We pride ourselves on being the first to introduce commercial insurance that does not require a signature in order to have a policy issued.

This makes the process very convenient because the only time you would be called on to confirm that your information is correct is in the event of a claim, and, if there were a claim there would be a flow of paperwork anyway and a declaration would be just one of the papers exchanged.

Cost is dependent on a number of factors including annual income, level of cover, number of people covered, whether or not overseas cover is included.  You can refer to the product page for more information, or simply take out a quote which only takes a couple of minutes.

 

We require this for one reason - in order to gain an indication of the size of the business.

We are able to provide insurance to business practices where the total income is up to a maximum of £750,000 pa. This is not profit (after taxes and expenses), but the total revenue of your business.

The income we discuss here is the income generated from the business practices to be covered by this insurance. That may NOT be the total business income if the business engages in some practices NOT covered by this insurance. 

 

Your income level will have an impact on the premium.  Please see the ‘How much will it cost’ section for more details.

Yes, you can. 

When you proceed to purchase you will be given the choice of paying monthly or annually.  However, it is an annual policy and you are expected to maintain the monthly payments.  You should regard this as spreading the cost rather than purchasing monthly coverage.

 

We do not offer business advice. However, we can add a few comments that might be helpful in answer to your question.

You do not need to have a 'company' in place before starting to take on clients or to obtain insurance. But, you should have insurance in place as soon as you start to take on clients. If, at a later date, you form a company the policy can be altered to take that into account and will cover you before the company was formed and thereafter.

Insurance cover provides you with the comfort that in the event of something 'going wrong' with the service you provide you are covered against a valid claim.

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the regulatory body charged by UK law to regulate the financial markets in the UK. This, of course, includes the entire insurance market and this firm.

Westminster Insurance Limited is duly authorised and regulated by the FCA registration no: 439023.

 

For ease of reference you may use this link direct to the FCA Register - CLICK HERE where you may check the registration of this firm - or any other regulated by the FSA.

It is a criminal offense to undertake any regulated activity (as those activities and markets regulated by the FCA are called) without the appropriate FCA authority.

The financial regulation standards in the UK (enforced by the FCA) are probably the toughest in the world, and the process to become regulated takes into account all factors appropriate to the running of a business.

Where Westminster Insurance Limited does business in other parts of the EU - such as Eire - it remains under the same stringent regulatory conditions as if it were in the UK.

Professional bodies are usually set up to protect the interest of members and set professional and ethical standards for practitioners. The FCA is set up to protect the consumer. The conditions for authorisation are stringent, appropriate and thorough as is the ongoing monitoring of every person or firm regulated by the FCA. Accordingly, there is no professional body that Westminster Indemnity Ltd could belong, or subscribe to, that would further enhance the protection our customers receive.

 


Policy and Coverage

Ever made a mistake or had a bad day at the office? It may be something you did that you should not have, or something you did not do that you should have. 

Example: In one of your coaching sessions you happen to give an inappropriate advice to your client which leads to them filing a claim against your business. Can you cope with the financial consequences following this, even if you didn’t do anything wrong?

Professional Indemnity is sometimes known as “Malpractice”. What it covers is a claim made against you as a consequence of you practicing your professional service.

 

Public liability covers a claim made against you by a member of the public, and that means it isn't necessarily a client. It is quite different to Professional Indemnity and covers an event that has no direct connection with your professional practice. It is meant to protect you financially, should someone held you or your business responsible for injury or property damage. A claim could be for almost anything where there is the opportunity to point the finger at you.

Example: A visitor trips up and breaks a leg while walking on the carpet in your office. Easily done, isn’t it? Yet, this is all it could take to receive a claim for tens of thousands of pounds and this is exactly the sort of thing Public Liability insurance covers.

 

We offer £1,000,000, £2,000,000 and £5,000,000 cover per claim and similar amounts in euros.

Many of our customers believe £1,000,000 cover is perfectly adequate.

Some have £2,000,000 of cover because their clients insist upon it.  You will probably find this to be the case if you participate in any public shows/events. 

Others determine that due to the size of their business or the type of service they offer and the potential risk, the £5,000,000 is more appropriate.

 

Background:

When we started in 2003 our policy was crafted and constructed to cover Coaches and what Coaches do. We soon discovered that some Coaches are engaged in other therapies and disciplines, some of which have "medical" elements, and we wished to provide cover for them also.  As a very simple example - Aromatherapy - does have a medical element to it; it might not be much, but it is there. So that's the background as to why "medical malpractice" is now included within the policy.

What does it mean to you if these terms do not apply to you?

The policy is now designed to cover a very wide range of business practices, so it is always possible that some clauses will have no relevance to you.

If the business practice you wish to cover has no "medical" element at all (and many we cover have NO medical element) then those clauses of a "medical nature" have no relevance to cover and can be safely ignored.  If a clause does not apply, then the fact that it is within the wording has no detrimental effect.  Quite simply, if they do not apply to you - they do not apply to you - so just ignore them.

The benefit of what may be "surplus wording" in some circumstances is that one standard set of wording can be used across many different business practices. The fundamental cover provided does not change because of surplus words.

 

There are 5 key dates relating to your policy and coverage.

‘Policy Start Date’ and ‘Policy End Date’.  This is the policy term and usually these dates are 1 year apart.  You are covered for valid claims made during the policy term, dependent on the ‘occurrence date’ and ‘retroactive date’.

‘Occurrence date’ is the date on which the incident happened, that later gives rise to a claim.

‘Claim date’ is the date you first know of a claim and the insurers are informed.

‘Retroactive date’ is the date after which the date of occurrence must be in order for it to be considered.

Our policy is what is termed a ‘Claims made policy’. That means the insurers will consider a claim that they are advised of (and you must tell them at once!) during the policy year. The incident that caused the claim could have occurred in the recent past – and it could have been years before, provided the incident occurred AFTER the retroactive date. Our policy has no retroactive date and therefore our policy covers you during the policy term for an incident that could have occurred at any time in the past.

 

So, by way of example, if your policy year was 1st January - 31st December 2018 - then if between 1st January 2018 and 31st December 2018 you first became aware of a claim (and it related to an incident say 3 years ago) and advised the insurer then the insurer will deal with that claim, even though the incident that caused the claim happened years ago.

If you have a break in your insurance coverage (ie a few month gap between policies) then when you renew your policy, you have the option to retain the original Retroactive Date of Nil (incidents any time in the past covered) or change it to the start of the new policy (incidents only after this date covered).

 

First, we need to get to grips with very slightly different words that can mean very different things, and only apply to Professional Indemnity policies.

Claim made: When a claim is made

Claim arising: When the incident that caused the claim occurred - it could be years ago

 

With Motor insurance for example, when there is a claim there is no great time gap between the "accident" that gives rise to the claim and when the claim is made. A claim is made immediately following an "accident".

Professional Indemnity can be quite different. The claim can arise years after the incident that causes the claim.

 

In short, the answer is not a lot in the practical world. They are expressions that effectively means the same thing but tend to be used in different types of business. The insurance they provide covers essentially the same thing - the consequences of a claim that you did something wrong or didn't do what you should have done.

E&O
Tends to be used in business. Where a claim might be as a result of something the business did or didn't do. Clearly there's no medical component and no advice in the "professional" sense.

 

Medical Malpractice
Tends to be used wherever there is a medical element, doctors, nurses, dentists etc.

 

Professional Indemnity
Tends to be used in the "professions". Now this is where language can tie you up, because - should a Medical Consultant be covered for Medical Malpractice or Professional Indemnity.

 

It's perhaps easier to answer the question by asking should an Architect call his cover - Medical Malpractice (clearly no), Errors and Omissions (well maybe - but E&O doesn't include "advice") or clearly Professional Indemnity would be the answer.

For the medical consultant it would actually be medical malpractice.

This is an easy one to get tied up with the words of the title. What's really important is what the cover provides.

In all of the cases used to illustrate this here the answer is - the cover provides for a claim against you for getting some part of your business wrong. Be it an error, omission, incorrect procedure - the claim that you "plain and simple" made a mistake.

The answer lies in the context of what the "retail store" actually does. Our cover does not include cover for a "retail store". What it does cover is products and services that are sold by you in the course of the business practice that you are covered (by us) for.

It would, in our view, be unreasonable to claim that any business practice we provide cover for has, as an essential element of that business, a retail store. We would see the sale of products that are a part of your practice as more incidental than full-on sales activity of product.

Dependent upon how the store will operate and what it will sell you might be better placed to obtain retail store cover - but it all depends on how the "store" will work.

In the event of a claim that involved the sale of a product (as opposed to the sale of your expertise/service) the underwriter would want to establish that the product sold was as a direct result of, and an extension to, your professional practice and not a stand-alone retail store.

 

Before we answer the question directly, let us first establish who is covered and for what.

The insurance we offer covers the policy holder (and this can be a person, a company or a group) for claims made against them, during the term of the policy, within and under UK (or Eire) jurisdiction.

 

You could therefore argue that it doesn't really matter where employees or directors actually live or reside.

What really matters, is where business is conducted, and where in particular any business was conducted that gave rise to a valid claim.

The underwriters will ONLY respond to a claim that is brought under UK jurisdiction, against a policy holder that is delivered to a UK address, written in English, meets the criteria for cover (like: the policy holder is actually covered for the business activity that is the subject of the claim) and meets the other criteria.

So, to summarise the answer: Where any employee or director of a company lives has no effect on the term of cover, one must be careful NOT to extend that line of reasoning to mean that the underwriters will consider any claim of any sort from anywhere in the world.

 

It all depends on what you "do" at a "Pamper party". If, at a "Pamper party" what you do is practice one of (or a number of) the disciplines, therapies or business practices we provide cover for and are specified on your policy, then you would be covered and there would be no extra charge.

Each discipline, therapy and business practice has a very simple description – a definition of what it is - so you should read them carefully and be sure what you actually do at your "Pamper party" is what we cover you for.

 

The simple answer is No.

Let us investigate who is actually insured by an insurance policy and who a "complainant" should deal with.

This insurance provides protection against a valid claim made against the Policy Holder according to the terms of the policy.
In the event of a dispute where there is, or could be, a potential claim then the claimant should make a claim against the person they consider responsible for their loss. In the realm of Professional Indemnity insurance this would normally be the person who provided the service.

 

We therefore need to fully understand who provided the service, and who is covered under the terms of the policy.

If both are the same person - then all well and good.

But if the person who provided the service is an individual and the claimant lodges a complaint against them because they alone provided the service, as evidenced by Terms of Business, who was paid, who the contract was with - the fact that they may also be a part of a group that is insured is of no concern or benefit. In such a case the Group did not provide the service, the individual did, and did so outside of the group activity.

So, a valid claim made against a Group that is insured would be considered by the underwriter subject to the policy terms IF the Group were responsible for the claim, and that could mean any individual acting on behalf of the group at their request and suitably trained and experienced so to do.

 

Let us jump directly to the example.

Say you are a small limited company dealing with sports and health coaching and you have insurance with us with cover level £1,000,000.  At the beginning of the year a visitor walked into your office, tripped on your doorstep and broke their arm at your premises. They say that it’s your fault because it happened on your watch and claim for £50,000 Public Liability for this mishap. Then another client comes and claims that the Coaching he paid for didn’t get him the results promised and in fact has lost him his job.  This is a £100,000 Professional Indemnity claim. This is £150,000 in two claims, not to mention the piles of legal costs and advertising costs to restore your damaged reputation.

Assuming that you notify us straight away of these claims and meet the underwriter’s criteria stated in our policy wording, our policy will indemnify you for the two claims, as well as for the legal and advertising costs that may arise.

All of this means that we will indemnify you for any claim that you become aware of during the term of the insurance and meets the policy criteria up to your chosen cover level.

Most policies today are claims made. Ours is!

A ‘Claims made’ policy is one in which the insurer will consider a claim they are informed of and the claim is first known about during the policy year. The incident that caused the claim could have been years ago - but the key dates are the date on which the claim is first known and advised, and the Retroactive date.

A ‘Claims made’ policy with no retroactive date - or one that is the start date of your business - can be renewed annually and all the time you are insured any claim that arises will be dealt with by the current insurer. When you stop work you then need to have ‘run-off’ period of cover which continues to provide you with cover against a claim that can be made in the future. Clearly, ‘run-off’ cover is not required for a claims arising policy.

A ‘Claims arising’ policy means the insurer in whose policy year the claim actually arose - it could have been years ago - deals with the claim.

Most policies are ‘Claims made’ for the very simple reason that the insurer can "close his books" after the policy year. An insurer issuing a ‘Claims arising’ policy can never close his books.

You do not want to be switching between the two without being fully aware of the consequences. If you move to a ‘Claims arising’ policy from ‘Claims made’ you could almost wind up with the worst of all possible worlds!


Changes, Cancellation and Renewal

Most certainly - the answer is Yes.

We do not charge extra to add more business practices, either at inception or at a later date. However, there are certain disciplines within a higher premium tier, which would cost extra to add.  So if you added something that is in the same or lower premium tier than your current coverage then there would be no more to pay.

All you need do is contact us when you are ready and we will add them for you.

 


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