A Brief Guide to Insurance for Local Authorities

Local authorities are a significant source of work for many home care providers throughout the UK. If local authority contracts are to be awarded and maintained, then it is important that providers can meet the various authorities’ requirements. It should be noted that the requirements can vary significantly between local authorities and if there are any concerns then these should firstly be raised with the insurance broker that you work with.

Local authority insurance requirements

Many local authorities send out a form for completion and return on an annual basis to ensure you have the correct insurance cover in place. Often these are to be completed by the broker rather than the provider. Even if this is not the case we would recommend sending these to your broker for review and completion to ensure any onerous terms are not complied with.

Authorities which ask for disproportionately high amounts of cover can increase the cost of providers’ insurance premiums. Providers should therefore consider drawing excessive requirements to council’s attention during tender processes.

Here is a summary of some of the requirements Towergate have come across in the 36 years they have been providing insurance and risk management solutions to the UK social care sector:

Employers' liability

This is the most common requirement and provides cover for employees who are injured whilst at work. The usual limit required is £10m which is a standard limit provided by insurance policies.

Public liability

This covers injury to third parties (service users and members of the public) and damage to third party property for which the provider is legally liable. The required limits typically range from £2 million to £10 million. Most policies provide a limit of £5 million as standard. Increased limits can be obtained through a variety of methods and we would recommend contacting your broker in the first instance. Towergate insurance though have recognised the need for home care providers to have in the region of £5 million to £10 million indemnity so they supply a policy with a £10 million limit as standard.

Medical malpractice

This provides cover for injuries caused by medical errors including the maladministration of drugs and medicines. Some providers will ask for this cover only if nursing care is provided. The Towergate policy includes this for all clients.

Professional indemnity

Professional Indemnity (commonly known as “PI”) provides cover for purely financial losses as a result of services rendered. The type of organisations who usually have this cover are accountants, insurance brokers, architects etc. who provide professional advice services.

Many local authorities get confused between this and medical malpractice cover. It should be noted however that there are circumstances that this could be suitable for a home care provider. If, for example, training is provided to external candidates, especially if a fee is charged. In addition, if a benefits application is completed incorrectly on someone’s behalf then there is potential for a purely financial loss to be incurred.

These are just some of the key points that local authorities look to homecare providers to adhere to with your insurances. If you have any queries regarding these or another part of your policy, you can contact Towergate for their advice.

Legal support

Towergate work with their clients to provide them with the right insurance for their needs and with their domiciliary care product they also provide a care specific legal tool called elXtr which provides users with access to an online portal that contains a range of different legal documents including a staff hand book and solutions to a variety of HR and business issues you may face. This is backed up with a 24-hour legal helpline.

Want to find out more about our Professional Indemnity Insurance?

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