Association News

Published on August 16th, 2018


Sponsored Message from BMS: Does Your Employer Have You Covered?

The article below is provided by BMS.

Kristine works as a speech-language pathologist for the school board, but also works one day a week at a private practice in town. Recently, she was named in a statement of claim alleging that her patient who is a young child was injured when she was assisting him onto a chair for the consultation. Kristine turned to the school board’s professional liability insurance for representation and protection. Unfortunately, as is the case with many public practice policies (such as school boards and hospitals), Kristine is only covered for work done in her employment setting. Complaints related to services provided outside of the workplace, such as advice to a neighbour, volunteer work, or other paid services are often excluded from an employer’s policy. Kristine is not sure what to do next and she’s worried about her ability to finance an adequate legal defence.

This scenario illustrates why communication health professionals working in public practice often decide to purchase their own independent professional liability insurance. However, there are many who are still relying on their employer’s policies, thinking they are well protected in the case of a claim. Some audiologists, speech-language pathologists and communication health assistants have been surprised to find that there are other gaps in the protection offered by their employer’s policy.

For instance, an employer’s policy:

Does not typically provide the speech-language pathologist with coverage for complaints made to a College regulator, such as claims of unprofessional attitude or improper conduct. A review of claims made to the SAC program suggests that College complaints make up more than half of claims against participating communication health professionals. Those relying on employer coverage would be left to independently secure legal representation to defend against these claims and would be responsible for the associated costs;

Generally shares limits of liability with all employees and the organization involved in a claim instead of having an individual limit of liability. If these limits are exceeded, the professional may become responsible for a portion of legal costs, including settlement or damage costs;

Does not typically reimburse criminal defence costs, for instance allegations of physical or sexual assault in the course of a professional’s practice that are brought before a criminal court.

These are only some of the significant reasons it is important to protect yourself. The only way to ensure comprehensive professional liability protection is by securing an independent policy. You can then be confident that your interests will be upheld and that your reputation and assets will be protected.

 Benefits of participating in the SAC program:

While an employer’s insurance policy is in place first and foremost to protect the interests of the employer, the SAC professional liability insurance policy protects the personal assets of the member or associate. This means that members and associates participating in the SAC program can rest assured that coverage is in place to defend and pay claims – both those made to regulatory Colleges and in Civil court. Legal representation is provided at no cost to you and without having to pay any deductible or additional fees. And the minimum $5 million per claim policy limit means you can be confident that money is in place to pay valid claims in a timely manner.

Participating members and associates even have access to pro bono legal services from Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP (Gowlings), one of the most highly recognized legal defence firms in medical defence and professional liability in Canada. This free, confidential legal advice is designed to help avoid or reduce the probability of a claim or complaint and is available to participating members and associates should you have questions related to a potential professional liability claim.

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