Indemnity Insurance for Nurses

Professional indemnity insurance (PI) for nurses protects them against potential claims that may arise while fulfilling their professional duties. Should a client file a claim alleging negligence or mistake on the part of the nurse, this policy steps in to provide financial support and legal assistance.

In the course of their duty, nurses can make an unintentional mistake. Some of the errors that are likely to occur during their work include:

  • Administering the drugs to patients
  • Wrongly advising a patient
  • Causing injury or damage to a patient
  • Making a judgmental error in a medical situation
  • Offering incorrect instructions to a particular patient
  • Being unfairly accused of being unprofessional in your conduct of work

Nursing indemnity insurance becomes important in such a scenario to cover the nurses against costs arising from such claims. But even with the cover, every nurse must portray ethical legal and professional duties to avoid such occurrences.

Is Nursing Indemnity Insurance Compulsory in UK?

In the United Kingdom, nurses, midwives or nursing associates are required by law to have professional indemnity insurance tailored specifically to their profession.

When nurses, midwives, and nursing associates apply to join or renew their registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, they need to confirm that they have, or will have, the necessary insurance to cover them while practicing in the UK. If you’re employed by the NHS, you’re automatically covered by their insurance for any work you do for them. This means you’re protected if someone makes a claim against you while you’re working for the NHS.

If you work in private healthcare, like a nursing home or general practice, your employer will likely have insurance that covers you for the work you do there. This insurance is designed to protect you from risks related to your job.

Different employers may have different insurance arrangements, so it’s important to check with them to make sure you’re covered. If you’re self-employed, work as a consultant, or through an agency, you’ll probably need to arrange your own insurance. You can get this insurance through professional bodies or by directly contacting an insurance provider.

How Nurse Indemnity Insurance Works

Nurse indemnity insurance is offered to a nurse working in diverse healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, and even those providing Good Samaritan care. Having indemnity insurance is mandatory for nurses practicing in such healthcare settings. The policies can be tailored to suit the specific needs of different nursing specialties and practice settings. For example, nurses working in high-risk areas such as intensive care units may opt for higher coverage limits compared to those working in less high-risk settings.

If nurses face claims or lawsuits related to their professional duties, indemnity insurance offer financial coverage and legal support. Here’s what PI for nurses may cover:

  • Coverage for Claims: If a nurse is accused of negligence, error, or omission while carrying out their nursing duties, their indemnity insurance kicks in to cover the costs associated with defending against the claim. This includes legal fees, court costs, and any damages awarded to the claimant if the nurse is found liable.
  • Legal Assistance: The insurance provider typically offers access to legal experts who specialize in defending healthcare professionals. These professionals help them in the legal process, gather evidence, and represent the nurse’s interests in court, if necessary.
  • Financial Protection: Without indemnity insurance, nurses could face significant financial burdens if they were sued for malpractice. Indemnity insurance provides financial protection by covering the costs of legal defense and any damages awarded, up to the policy limit.
  • Disciplinary Proceedings: Some policies cover defense costs for investigations or disciplinary hearings by your regulatory body.

When a claim is made against a nurse, the process begins with promptly notifying the insurance provider. Subsequently, the insurer conducts an investigation to evaluate the claim’s validity and potential financial implications. If deemed necessary, the insurer appoints a lawyer to represent the nurse in court. Negotiations for a settlement with the patient may take place, but if unresolved, the case proceeds to trial. Depending on the outcome, if the nurse is found liable, the insurer covers the compensation amount (up to the limit) and legal expenses. However, if the nurse is cleared of wrongdoing, the insurer solely covers the incurred legal costs

How much is Nurse Indemnity Insurance in UK?

The cost of nurse indemnity insurance differs from one provider to the other. There is no fixed price. Various factors affect the cost of indemnity insurance for nurses. Among them is the nature of your work, the extent of the cover you are looking for, claims history, experience and qualifications, and the prevailing rates in the market. As such, it is important to compare nursing indemnity insurance from different providers before buying one. This way, you can get a cheaper policy and one that adequately covers your needs.

For example, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), their membership fee includes indemnity coverage, ranging from £133 to £243 annually. However, it’s important to note that not all membership tiers include this benefit, so it’s wise to check eligibility criteria beforehand.

For those seeking alternative options, Simply Business offers policies starting from a mere £1.90 per month, translating to an average annual cost of £45.62. On the other hand, MMI 4u’s basic coverage starts at £272.16 per year, providing a middle-ground choice for nurses looking for comprehensive protection.

Enhance Insurance takes a personalized approach, offering quotes tailored to individual circumstances, with costs aligning closely with other market competitors. Balmoral Direct caters specifically to newly qualified nurses, offering coverage from £139 annually for a basic level of protection.

Moving up the scale, the Medical Protection Society (MPS) offers a tiered pricing structure based on membership level and specialization. Associate Membership for Band 5 nurses starts at around £300 per year, while Consultant Membership can exceed £2,000 annually, reflecting the breadth of coverage available.

BUPA Health Professionals’ pricing varies based on factors like specialty, claims history, and chosen cover level, with rates starting from £365 per year. Meanwhile, Allianz and Aviva both provide tailored solutions, with premiums starting from £395 and £365, respectively, ensuring flexibility to match individual needs. Towergate and Zurich round out the options, offering customizable policies with premiums typically falling within the £200-£500 per year range.

Nurse Indemnity Insurance Providers in the UK

There are many providers offer nurse indemnity insurance in the UK. Here’s a list of some of the best PI providers.

Nurse Indemnity Insurance in the UK: Key Considerations

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. Nurse indemnity insurance in the UK is a crucial protection for nurses against potential legal claims arising from their professional duties. It’s important to carefully review the policy terms and exclusions to understand the specific coverage provided. You should also be aware of policy limits, which cap the total amount paid for claims and defense costs. Promptly reporting any potential claims to your insurer is essential to ensure timely assistance. While some employers offer indemnity insurance for their nurses, it’s advisable to double-check your coverage for clarity and peace of mind.

Keep in mind that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) membership fee includes indemnity coverage. However, this coverage applies specifically to individuals who are self-employed, members who don’t work under a contract of employment (such as agency or bank workers), volunteers, and those acting in a Good Samaritan capacity. It’s important to be aware that if you are employed, whether within the NHS, non-NHS public sector, or independent healthcare sector, you won’t be covered by RCN indemnity. If you’re employed by the NHS, you’re automatically insured for any work performed under their umbrella.