The current Coronavirus situation is causing quite a bit of panic and uncertainty for a lot of people - and it’s normal if you’re feeling it too. And one thing that lots of you have questions about is your Aesthetics Insurance. Are you still covered at the moment? Should you cancel your insurance policy for the time being? Are you covered for any financial losses? It’s a confusing time for all of us, so to bring some clarity to everything and help you practitioners out, I reached out to Cosmetic Insure to give you some insurance advice in the midst of the current climate.
Are you still insured to treat clients even though it’s non-essential contact?
“Cover is subject to advice issued by the Government and any other regulatory body. I think there’s a very strong case against providing treatments during this time. Essentially, insurers would be within their right to decline cover for a treatment provided against government rules. Practitioners may be putting themselves at risk of a claim for negligence if they continue to provide non-essential treatments during this time,” says Lizzie Newton, Section Leader from Cosmetic Insure.
Guidance for businesses during the pandemic is changing quite quickly at the moment, and will likely continue to change in the coming days and weeks, so it’s important that you stay up-to-date with current government instruction at all times.
Can a client bring a claim against you if they say they caught Coronavirus from your clinic?
Lizzie says: “This one is really difficult to answer as there are so many different scenarios to consider. Ultimately, a patient can try to bring a claim against a practitioner but, for it to be successful under a Medical Malpractice policy, negligence must be proven. It might be difficult to prove a patient contracted COVID-19 from a practitioner but, until this is tested, we won’t know the answer for sure.”
Should you be cancelling your insurance policy?
Whilst it might be a scary time at the moment, it’s still important that you keep your insurance policies in place. If a client were to make a claim against you for a treatment you provided before you cancelled your policy, you would no longer be covered. So, you need insurance at all times to make sure you’re covered at all times.
“We do understand that this is a testing time; however, we wouldn’t recommend cancelling any insurance policies right now, especially if you intend to continue practising within the aesthetics industry once the outbreak has died down. Medical Malpractice policies are issued on a ‘claims made’ basis, meaning cover must be in force at the time a claim is made in order for the policy to respond. If you cancel your policy and a patient makes a claim against you, you’d be left to indemnity yourself and have to pay any damages awarded to the third party. I’d suggest contacting your broker or finance provider to discuss your options before making any decisions,” says Lizzie.
Am I covered for any financial losses as a result of the Coronavirus?
With many clinics having to temporarily close their doors, it’s understandable that practitioners are feeling concerned about the financial impact this might have on their businesses.
“As expected, we have been inundated with enquiries regarding coverage in the event that a business should suffer any losses as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. We are mindful that there’s a lot of confusing information out there; however, we are now of the understanding that 99.9% of insurance policies will not cover this incident. COVID-19 is a new disease and, therefore, doesn’t appear on insurers’ specified disease list,” says Lizzie.
She goes on to say, “as insurance providers, our advice would be to act as though you are uninsured - be as prepared as you can be, review any business contingency plans, communicate effectively with your staff. In the event insurers do provide cover, if the predicted scale of loss is reached, they may be unable to readily pay claims. It’s important to remember that your policy schedule, combined with your policy wording, details exactly what you’re covered for and you should refer to this in the first instance.”
Statement from the Association of British Insurers (ABI)
One final word of advice...
With the Coronavirus situation changing rapidly, it’s really important that you stay up-to-date with guidance from the Government and run your business according to their official instruction, for both the safety of you and your clients, and to ensure your insurance is still valid.
And, remember, contacting your insurance provider to discuss your policy is the best way to know exactly where you stand. They’ll be able to give you advice on a whole range of things during this difficult time and give you peace of mind. It’s also good to check the unoccupancy period of your policy, to know exactly how long you can leave your clinic unattended for before you may lose cover of certain things. And, finally, making sure you follow the guidance set out by the Government and your Local Authority is essential as we try to navigate these unsettling times.
For more Aesthetics Insurance advice, check out this handy article.
* Information is accurate as of 23/03/2020