Indemnity insurance is a policy that caters for the legal costs and compensation in the event of you being sued by a client for an error that you made while on duty. There are various professionals whose nature of work require them to own this cover. Nurses fall on this category. While striving to improve the health of a patient, a nurse can make an unintentional mistake that could result in a claim by the client. As such, it is crucial for nurses to have detailed information about indemnity insurance.
Why Do I Need Indemnity Insurance as a Nurse?
Nurses deal directly with patients. In their attempts to improve a person’s health, it is possible to make an unintentional mistake. An indemnity insurance protects you against the costs resulting from a patient’s claim in case of such an error. However, even with this cover, you are obliged to fulfil your legal, ethical, and professional duties as a nurse to ensure that such scenarios don’t occur. Some of the mistakes that are likely to occur in a nurse’s line of work include:
- Administering the wrong drugs to a patient
- Incorrectly advising a patient
- Removing or applying a dressing negligently thus causing injury or damage to the patient
- Making an error in judgement in a particular medical situation
- Incorrectly executing instructions related to the care of a particular patient
- Being unfairly accused of an unprofessional conduct while at work
How Does Indemnity Insurance Cover Nurses?
As a nurse, an indemnity policy will cover your legal expenses, settlement costs, and reimburse you for the time spent in court. These payments may result from you being:
- Sued for defamation
- Sued for negligence or malpractice
- Sued for the violation of a person’s intellectual property rights
- Summoned by the Coroner
- Called before a medical practitioners’ board following a report of unprofessionalism by the public or fellow practitioners.
How Does a Nurse Get Indemnity Insurance?
There are three major ways that a nurse is able to get an indemnity cover. These are:
- Through an employer. If you are employed, the employer is expected to cater for this cover on your behalf.
- Purchasing your own policy. You can choose either to deal directly with an insurer or to use the services of a suitable adviser. Once you acquire the cover through this approach, it is important to safely store the proof for at least 5 years.
- Get a cover through an association. There are certain practitioners’ organizations that extend this cover to their members.
Even with these three broad options, there are certain scenarios where a nurse may be unsure of the relevant approach of acquiring an indemnity insurance in the U.K. For instance;
- Working under the NHS. The NHS covers its employees if the claim is related to something you did in your capacity as a NHS worker.
- An employee at a private healthcare facility. Your employer will cater for the costs of a claim as loss as you were working in your capacity as the amenity’s employee. Since the arrangement varies from one employer to another, it is important to seek detailed information about the extent of the cover.
- Working in the education sector. Nurses in the education sector tend to have an indemnity cover availed by their employer. In other cases, it could be provided by your placement provider or you could be required to purchase one yourself. It is also important to check the details of the arrangement.
- Self-employed. In such a case, you are responsible for acquiring an indemnity policy. However, in some instances, your professional body may do so on your behalf.
- Combined setup of self-employment and employment. You should have a suitable indemnity cover for each setup. For instance, the one offered by your employer will only cover mistakes made at that place of work. This approach is also applicable if you have more than one employer.
How Much Does an Indemnity Insurance Cost?
There is no constant figure for an indemnity insurance. For nurses, the factors influencing this policy include the nature of your work, extent of cover you are looking for, and the rates of the insurer. As such, it is essential to compare the provisions of different insurance companies as the basis of identifying the policy that best suits you.
What is the Process of Making an Indemnity Claim?
- Notification. You are required to inform the insurer of an existing or probable claim against you.
- Pre-action stage. The insurer will require detailed information regarding the situation.
- Negotiations. The ideal scenario would be to settle the dispute outside of the court. This approach is less costly and saves time.
- Litigation. If the alternative dispute resolution approach fails, your case will be dealt with in a court of law.
Insurers That Offer Indemnity Insurance for Nurses in the UK
The nature of certain professions such as nursing increases one’s chances of making a mistake. Depending on the extent of damage resulting from the unintentional error, the client can present a claim against the worker. To cater for the subsequent legal charges, compensation, and time spent, an indemnity insurance is necessary for nurses.