Live with Purpose, But Live with Protection (Part 3)

Avoiding Malpractice: Tips for Social Workers to Manage Risk

Live with Purpose, But Live with Protection (Part 3)

Living with purpose certainly characterizes what is at the heart of the profession of social work. Equally as important is to live with protection. Social workers need to make sure that they are protected from the vast array of risks and threats that often occur in the profession.

This month let’s talk about general liability and how you are affected.

But first, to recap the past several months of “TIP” articles, we talked about a recent survey of six major liability insurance carriers with reference to their respective professional liability claims experience and claims adjudication. (Claims Journal; “Seeing Rise in Malpractice Claims Severity”; 7/3/14) There is an overwhelming and an increasing number of claims arising from client information breached through stolen or lost laptops and devices and 75% of insurance carrier respondents listed this as the most likely cause of a breach. Beyond this is the second most frequent breach, which is caused by information exchange and the related steps involved regarding information exchange.

The NASW Risk Retention Group has a Cyber Device insurance policy and a suite of Cyber Liability Choice Select breach policies that will protect in these cases.

Next…what about General Liability?

The NASW Risk Retention Group has a General Liability insurance policy that covers all of the major perils for less than half the cost of all other competitors. The RRG passes on saving directly to policyholders in turn allowing for a lower premium over similar competitors. Next time you get a quote for any insurance policy from an insurance company, it’s important you make sure you are aware of the commission that is included in the insurance premium quote. Most insurance companies charge a commission between 10% to 30% of the premium that you actually pay for.

Why do you need it?

General Liability is broader and different than professional liability insurance and focuses on therapy risk. General Liability protects you for claims against you for negligence. Negligence arises from these legal elements imposed upon you including duty, breach of duty, proximate cause, and damage as a result. A good General Liability insurance policy covers property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, fire legal liability, and legal defense fees. Slip and fall injuries are the most common claims, say from a client slipping, falling, and sustaining injury in your office. It is important for you to check your General Liability policy and Declaration pages very carefully. You also need to examine your policy for exclusions and non-stated coverage.

The RRG General Liability policy covers all of these with no sub-limits.

Here’s an example of a common claim that most insurance carriers do not cover, but the RRG does cover. If you hold client therapy sessions or instructional sessions in a rented hotel conference room, for example, or even a seminar in a hotel conference room and an attendee sustains property damage or loss such as a stolen computer, the RRG General Liability policy protects you from liability and responds with property damage replacement for the harmed party and legal defense for you.

As a Social Worker How Can I Get Protected?

The RRG General Liability policy is available now. Just sign up. Policy rates are as low at $154 per year; only one-third to one-half the price for the same level of coverage compared to other insurance carriers in the nation.

This fall, the NASW Risk Retention Group is introducing a new generation of Cyber Liability suite designed and priced affordably because the NASW Risk Retention Group has no public shareholders to pay dividends and charges no commissions like other insurance companies. The NASW Risk Retention Group exists to only serve its insureds. The Cyber Liability suite includes Bronze, Silver, and Gold benefit levels, and also a third party Stolen Device Cyber Liability policy for laptops and phones. Premiums within the Cyber Liability suite start at $59 per year and are guaranteed issue. They cover the major categories of perils with no deductibles, and can be bought stand-alone with custom benefit levels selected by the social worker. First-Party benefit protection for the NASW member social worker and three clerical employees can be added for only $20 per year.

There is no doubt that social work is a noble profession with implicit values of service, social justice, human dignity, integrity, and clinical competence. Despite all of the sincere devotion provided by social workers, and whether or not they are employed with an Agency or by a company, they must thoroughly read their own insurance policies to assess the gaps existing in their coverage. The Social Worker must also ask the insurance seller what the commission rate is that the Social Worker’s insurance policy because the Social Worker is paying this “buried” cost.

The NASW RRG Cyber Liability Suite, Cyber Device Liability, Professional Liability, and General Liability insurance products can be purchased separately to plug holes where you are exposed. They provide a well-protected barrier for social workers against liability aimed at social workers for the best value, lowest price, and with absolutely no deductibles.

Published December 2015

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