When choosing your Professional Indemnity insurance – things to consider

Today, there are a number of competitors who have entered the community pharmacy PI market. Although some may offer competitive premiums, it is also important to consider the following when choosing a policy;

Is there an excess? Do you have to pay the first £500 or even £1000 of any claim? Insurers will often reduce premiums if the policyholder is obliged to pay an excess. The PI policy we provide has no excess and you will not need to worry about paying any sums towards the settlement of the claim.

Do obtain a copy of the policy. This is an important legal contact which is there to safeguard your business and livelihood. A Statement of Key Facts, whilst giving a broad outline of the key features of the policy, is not sufficient when the full terms and conditions between one policy and another need to be compared.

One of the prime elements for consideration is the basis on which cover is provided. We offer, as part of NPA Membership, cover on a ‘Claims Occurring’ basis. This is rare but means that as long as the incident or error occurred during the period of the policy, we will protect you after you have sold your business or retired. The alternative ‘Claims Made’policy means that the insurer is only required to deal with the claim in the year that it is made, so if the date an error occurred was in 2010 but the claim was not made until 2013, the insurer holding the risk in 2010 will not deal with the claim. Consequently, care will need to be taken in subsequent years that additional cover is in place (otherwise known as retroactive cover) to ensure that there is no hiatus between the date of the incident which has given rise to the claim and the date the claim is made. Unfortunately, not all policies provide retroactive cover and you could find yourself uninsured. Do check. This is particularly important if you are thinking of eventually selling your business or retiring – claims made policies will not extend beyond the expiry of the policy. With the NPA Insurance PI policy, the breadth and depth of our cover is second to none.

Our aim has always been to cover you the proprietor and your staff,  for the many and varied activities undertaken by pharmacists. In addition to Professional Indemnity, we also cover public and product liability claims. In other words, the accidents which occur in and around pharmacy premises and liability for defective items. Does the policy you are being offered cover the public and product liability risks or is it purely professional indemnity? Will the policy respond if you are accused by a shop-lifter of wrongful or unlawful arrest or false imprisonment? Will it cover the small-scale wholesale dealing that you may still be entitled to transact without the benefit of a licence? Our advice, when enquiring about alternative policies, is to raise specific questions – Am I covered for supplementary prescribing, independent prescribing, phlebotomy, private PGDs (in their many varied forms), flu and travel vaccination administration, etc? Also, bear in mind that not all insurers will agree to cover new risks – the new services that are increasingly being developed and offered through pharmacies. NPA Insurance is usually able to confirm over the telephone whether a new service is covered and in the very rare event of our being unable to provide cover we have access to a number of specialist markets for such contingencies.

Does the policy cover both indemnity and legal expenses? Bear in mind that some policies will have different insurers covering the indemnity and legal defence/expenses section of the policy. Do the two different companies gel together in this respect and will there be continuity in the event of a claim? With our proprietor policy, we underwrite both the indemnity and defence cover and this means in practice that the legally qualified individual who handles the claim will deal with it throughout and therefore knows what is happening start to finish, irrespective of whether it is an indemnity or defence claim.

Contract certainty. As an insurance company, we are obliged to offer contact certainty in our policies. However, we retain a discretionary element that allows NPA members to request assistance to pursue or defend a claim which may not otherwise be covered. This is something which you will not find in other policies and is designed to ensure that community pharmacy proprietors benefit from the strength of being part of a trade association.

Claims handling service. Will you be able to speak to a legally qualified person who understands pharmacy working when things go wrong? who can not only deal with a claim but also advise and assist, e.g. with drafting correspondence on pharmacy-related matters? The proof of any ‘insurance pudding is in the claims eating’. NPA Insurance has been protecting the needs of pharmacy owners since 1899. Our legal team are highly experienced in the unique and complex world of pharmacy and are able to help, advise and assist in a completely member focussed way – something which is unlikely to be found in other non-pharmacy claims offices. The preservation of members integrity – it is your name above the door – is our prime consideration.