Insurance is sometimes seen as a luxury product to have.  Sometimes there is a thought that it is not worth having insurance for something as you don’t see the potential loss or risk. An exception to this thought process is Employers Liability Insurance, which is a compulsory insurance requirement for most businesses under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.  There are a few exceptions that allow you not to be required to have this insurance, such as:

  • Most public organisations including government departments and agencies, local authorities, police authorities and nationalised industries;
  • Health service bodies, including National Health Service trusts, health authorities, primary care trusts and Scottish health boards;
  • Some other organisations which are financed through public funds, such as passenger transport executives and magistrates’ courts committees;
  • Family businesses, i.e. if all of your employees are closely related to you (as husband, wife, civil partner, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister). However, this exemption does not apply to family businesses which are incorporated as limited companies;
  • Companies employing only their owner where that employee also owns 50% or more of the issued share capital in the company.

A good rule of thumb however, is to consider if you treat a person as if they were employed by you, such as having a reasonable level of control over where they work etc.  You put yourself at far greater risk by interpreting this regulation incorrectly, rather than being cautious and obtaining the cover.  Employers’ liability insurance is not a vastly expensive insurance and can usually be purchased as part of a contents and/or buildings insurance policy.  I always believe that it is better to be safe than sorry, especially as I have seen the level of some compensation pay outs in recent years.

The other area of liability exposure for your private practice work is Public Liability.  Quite often in the past if you worked from a room within a private hospital or clinic their insurance would pick up the public liability claims.  Insurers are now becoming a lot more precise over these types of claims.  It would be wise to consider purchasing your own cover in respect of public liability claims. This can be purchased on its own, with Employers’ Liability or with a package of cover, such as contents insurance or medical malpractice cover.  It only takes a misplaced bag for someone to trip and cause themself an injury, resulting in a solicitor’s letter and a compensation claim.

The final thought on insurance cover would be your own belongings or work equipment that you move about or use from a single location.  Do you have this covered adequately? Maybe your home insurance has cover for items away from the home, however, if they are used for business activities and this is not told to your home insurance provider the cover for it probably is not there.  Again check the cover and if in doubt, purchase the right cover for your needs.  If you are not sure talk to your insurance company or ring an insurance advisor, who will ask the questions needed to get to the right answer.

Author profile: Medical Insurance Consultants Ltd

Medical Insurance Consultants Ltd is a specialist insurance broker working solely with healthcare companies and professionals for over 16 years.  They provide a range of bespoke insurance products including medical malpractice, professional indemnity, property, liabilities and private practice income protection specifically designed to meet the needs of private practice professionals and healthcare companies.



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