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Is your renewal transparent?I've just had a nice surprise: a cheque that I wasn't expecting.  It came from an insurer and their letter explained that they were compensating me for their failure to follow FCA rules. I thought I'd share the rationale with you.  You never know, you could be eligible for a little windfall.  


In 2017 the Financial Conduct Authority decreed that when a general insurance company invites renewal of a policy - so that's house insurance, car insurance, locum insurance and so on - they must tell you clearly and explicitly what last year's premium was. 

The exception is ‘group policies’ but, if you, as a GP, dentist or similar health professional, have an individual locum insurance policy, this applies to you.

The thinking behind the FCA’s new rule is that people were just renewing their insurance without realising the cost was going up and without being prompted to shop around. It undermined the 'transparency' the FCA wanted insurers to demonstrate.

It seems that, when inviting me to renew my household insurance, my insurer had contravened the rules and hadn’t clearly stated the basis of my renewal premium. They sent me a cheque in compensation followed up by a further letter reiterating that they had made an error and reminding me that they had sent a cheque!

So, the message in my story is: take a look at your renewal invitation - for your house insurance, your car insurance and your locum insurance. If your insurer hasn’t told you prominently and explicitly what your premium was last year i.e. your insurer isn't being entirely 'transparent' you might want to point this out.

You never know, you might be eligible for a nice cheque in time for Christmas.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

 

Whatever you’re buying for your practice, whether it’s a phone system, vaccines or locum insurance, you’d be right to shop around.

derek trotter webNo-one likes to think they are paying over the odds – particularly for something like insurance which, with any luck, you’ll just put in a drawer and forget about.

So should you simply get the job done and buy the cheapest?

The answer to that is simple: only if you know for certain you will never need to claim.

This is what cheap locum insurance looks like:

  • It excludes ‘…any claim arising from … Planned/Non-fortuitous absences which are any known fact or medical condition which the proposed insured person can reasonably foresee leading to their absence in the proposed Period of Cover’. 
  • It restricts cover after renewal if an insured person has been off work for a week or more in the preceding year even if you didn’t make a claim.
  • The premium goes through the roof if you need to make a claim.

So, buy cheap – and keep your fingers crossed that no one falls ill.

Or buy a policy which doesn’t sell you short when you need it the most!

The choice is yours.

But if you need help or advice that is what we are here for.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

practice cover jury webA summons for jury service can create a frisson of excitement or a feeling of dread, depending on your view of the criminal justice system and the extent to which you want to be involved.

For your practice it can be tricky, both logistically and financially, to plan for it.

Courts allow those summoned to request a deferral in case, for example, they have a holiday planned or their work means that they can’t be spared. Until fairly recently GPs simply had to cite their indispensability and the Court would waive its summons.

This is no longer the case. I was talking to a GP today who had written back to the Court explaining he was a partner at a small practice and asking to be excused or to have the date deferred; he was told ‘no’ which meant the practice had just over a month to plan for his absence.

When a GP, whether a partner or a salaried doctor, has been summoned for jury service the practice manager has to look at:

  • pay for the ‘absent’ doctor
  • meeting the cost of a locum to provide cover for the ‘absent’ doctor.

Although employers have a duty and responsibility make an employee available to attend the Court, most partnership agreements and contracts of employment are silent about pay for the person who’s carrying out jury service.

The employer must provide the court with the earnings information and the Court will use this to determine the compensation they will pay to the individual.

Court compensation will not cover your absence

The problem arises in the case of ‘high earners’ where the Court’s compensation comes nowhere near the person’s earnings. This applies to the vast majority of GPs and also their key staff.

Would the practice want to continue paying the individual in full?

If so, how can they do this while also paying for a locum?

Most locum insurance policies can include jury service cover but it is crucial to check how the cover would work: policies differ in the scope and extent of cover.

  • Some policies don’t pay for the first few days of the doctor’s absence so, if the jury service lasts only for a few days, you get nothing.
  • Some policies cap the amount payable by the insurer so you can end up out of pocket.
  • Some policies limit the payment to 2 weeks, even if the jury services goes on for longer.

Practice Cover thinks differently, and ensures that the amount we pay takes all this into account and covers the individual adequately – and leaves the practice with no nasty surprises.

With GPs being less likely, nowadays, to avoid the summons, practices need to look carefully at their insurance to make sure it will perform as they need it to.

For further information or a quotation call Lynda at Practice Cover on 023 8051 3286 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

When you have spent years building up a successful practice, you need an assurance that it won’t crumble if you’re off sick.

Our Absence Insurance pays a weekly sum for up to 52 weeks to meet the fixed costs that will continue pouring in regardless.

We don’t need to see your accounts and you don’t need to ‘justify’ the amount you choose to insure for. It’s simple to set up and, if your practice depends on more than one person, you can include the other people in your insurance too.

With our flexible policy, you can also choose to cover yourself against other absences such as being summoned for jury service, needing compassionate leave or even being suspended from practising.

For further details on protecting your practice against absence, download our brochure here – or call us on 023 8051 3286.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

We're incredibly proud of our achievements over the years, not least because we have received such great testimonials and continue to grow, even in the face of confusing NHS reimbursement changes. Here's why we think you should look at Practice Cover for your locum insurance.

SO3709 Practice Cover Why choose infographic v3

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

mark twain image

Earlier this year when the new GMS contract was announced many thought it was the end of locum insurance. To be honest, it panicked us, because we’re the only company in the UK that focuses 100% on locum insurance.

We could hear GPs’ thoughts. “Why would my practice need to buy insurance when the NHS would provide something similar?”

Get your facts first. Then you can distort them as you please*

The measures announced in the contract were designed to improve the financial position of GP practices – a good thing. In most part the measures were costed. For example, £156.7m has been set aside to cover for the discontinuance of AUA DES; £30m for indemnity insurance costs; and so on. 

But we asked the question, “where are the sickness absence reimbursement figures?”, because we can see that no cost has ever been publicly attributed to what was announced as a significant change in sickness cover reimbursement for GPs.

We’ve been talking to you. GPs are struggling to see where the funding is coming from. We are already hearing that some CCGs and health boards have a set amount of money, most already spent, and some GPs are finding it difficult to claim under their GMS contract.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable*

While we fell into a cold sweat with the GMS announcement, the facts have surprised us. GPs still recognise the need for locum insurance. They see the NHS sickness reimbursement as something of a lottery – not a statistical certainty.

Here’s what’s happened to us. We can announce our best ever year of trading since we started out. The number of GP cases is 27% up and premium income is 14% up (ytd 2017 vs 2016)

Of course we also provide locum insurance to other healthcare professionals, and the number of cases is 30% up and premium income is 19% up.

Honesty is the best policy – when there’s money in it*

We think it’s because our policies provide some certainty. For a relatively low premium practices have the chance to receive a payment from their locum insurance policy alongside the NHS reimbursement payment. For example, if a GP is insured for a monthly premium of £120pm the practice could receive £2500pm PLUS any claim made under your GMS contract.

We’re also very open about our service and our premiums. We haven’t increased our rates in almost 8 years, against a landscape of premium rises across the insurance sector. Transparency is a good thing to us. You know where you stand – and we have a very loyal customer base because of it.

  • Clients who have made a claim have not been charged a higher premium rate. That’s not how we work.
  • We have a ‘continuity of cover’ option with our locum insurance so that, if you become ill – let’s say you have a heart attack – our underwriters won’t exclude heart attacks from your future cover.
  • We include a no claims discount so premiums can actually reduce by staying with us.We can confirm that premium rates will stay the same in the foreseeable future – as they have for many years.
  • In the event of receiving a payment from the NHS, your locum insurance will not be affected – potentially a win-win for the practice.

Not insured yet? Well, the secret of getting ahead is getting started*. Click here to get a locum insurance quote.

 

* With apologies to Mark Twain for borrowing his quotes.
All figures are as at end October 2017.
** Cover for a full-time GP would cost around £120 pm (after tax relief) and, for this, the practice would receive £2,500 pw for up to 52 weeks (after a 4 week waiting period) in the event of a valid claim. 

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice. Practice Cover is a trading name of Practice Cover Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

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Practice manager, Hampshire

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