Use the right insurance strategy to protect your most valuable assets.
Chiropractors are known for their passion and education to the human body and for providing holistic, natural treatment solutions to complex patient problems. Most chiropractors are also business owners who face unique challenges in running a practice. Successfully balancing your duties as a healthcare provider with your responsibilities as a business owner can be daunting at times. The right insurance strategies can go a long way toward helping address both personal and business risks.
To protect your business, consider business protection and employee practice liability insurance. Business protection needs differ based on the structure of the practice. For example: An independent contractor’s insurance needs will vary from that of a multi- doctor practice, and similarly with a traveling chiropractor to one with a brick-and-mortar shop. Regardless of your business model, there is a business insurance strategy that can meet your needs.
The options for business protection insurance are broad and can be tailored to best suit your specific risk. The policy may cover the business’s equipment and property, general liability such as slip-and-fall accidents, business income, non-owned auto, and even employee dishonesty.
Let’s say, for example, that you asked your office manager to stop by the bank to make a deposit on his or her way home from work. While turning into the bank parking lot, she is involved in a rear-end collision. Several insurance policies and carriers will respond, including the employee’s auto insurer, your business insurer, workers’ compensation, and the other vehicle’s insurer.
Because both you and your practice are exposed to potential risk, making sure your insurance policies are properly structured to respond to such a complex claim is vital to the continued success of your practice.
Business protection insurance is necessary for practices of all sizes; however, for doctors with staff members, employee practice liability coverage plays an important role in risk management. Any time a business brings on more staff, the concern for you as the owner increases. Employee practice liability protects against accusations of wrongdoing with staff, including wrongful termination or harassment claims. This type of coverage may be written as part of your business owners’ policy or as a standalone policy.
And you don’t have to worry about just your employees, but also any vendors you are using. For example: You have a friendly office-supply delivery person. You have worked with this supply company for the last five years since you first opened your practice.
One day, one of your staff members advises you that they feel threatened and harassed by the person due to continuous unwanted advances and inappropriate jokes. Employees have a right to work in an environment free from such harassment.
At any time, an employee can make an accusation—whether justified or not—filing complaints with the EEOC or bringing a lawsuit against the employer. Even if vindicated, an employer can incur thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend such claims. Employment Practices Liability Insurance protects the employer for these types of claims, as well as from third parties if structured properly.
To protect yourself, consider professional liability, malpractice, and disability insurance.
Similar to insuring the business, holding professional liability coverage goes a long way toward defending you from potential uncertainties—and there are plenty to consider, from audits and board complaints to patients alleging professional wrongdoing.
Malpractice insurance varies greatly and should be tailored for your practice’s unique needs and varying exposures. Key to knowing that your coverage needs are being met is communication with your broker.
For example: You have just completed laser therapy certification and plan on implementing it in your practice. Have you advised your malpractice carrier? If the answer is no, you may have a gap in your coverage.
On a more personal note, as you think about the professional-level protection you can put in place, pay special attention to disability insurance.
Your livelihood depends on your capacity to treat patients, and practice is physically demanding. Should something happen that physically limits your ability to practice, your business and your livelihood are both in jeopardy. Disability insurance can help ensure your business and protect your family in the occurrence of such an event.
To protect your patients, consider cyber liability insurance.
Finally, in looking at necessary insurances for your practice, there are options to safeguard your clients’ personal information as well. Most practices have transitioned to computer-based recordkeeping, appointment booking, general office administration, and many have adopted electronic health records.
But the convenience and efficiency technology affords also puts the business in harm’s way. Oftentimes, technology isn’t a problem until it becomes a big problem, and your practice must safe- guard your patients’ private information. Cyber liability insurance is relatively new but goes a long way toward protecting your business and your patients’ information from hackers.
When designing your practice’s insurance strategy, assess all areas of potential concern. Proper insurance coverage can make the difference in your business and as a healthcare provider.
Denise Hockman is the chiropractic program director at NFP, a leading insurance broker. A consultant with more than 15 years of experience, Denise helps create tailored property and casualty insurance solutions for chiropractic clients across the country. She can be contacted through nfp.com.