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The professional medical industry has received a much needed boost thanks to the announcement that Pracice Cover will not increase locum insurance premiums next year.

The news comes just one month after the Government increased the standard rate of insurance premium tax by more than 50%.

Lynda Cox, Director at Practice Cover, which works directly with clients and third-party insurance brokers and IFAs stated: “The industry has taken a real blow with the sudden increase in IPT which will cause many businesses to revisit their insurance budgeting. At Practice Cover we have designed our insurance products in-house and year on year they perform extremely well. This has helped us to position the business at the forefront of the locum insurance sector.

“This has contributed to our underwriters’ confidence to agree the same rates for the sixth year running which is a phenomenal achievement in this current marketplace. Our customers know they can rely on a quality product and service that is cost efficient and, importantly, will not yoyo in price despite what is happening in the industry or even if they have already made a claim.

“Not only can they renew at the same premium, we apply no claims discount that can reduce their outlay.”

The Southampton-based business specialises in financially protecting GPs, dentists, vets, opticians and allied health professionals should they suffer an illness or accident, with the added service of tailoring packages to cover jury service, suspension, maternity or paternity leave.

Partnering with Alpha Underwriting, a market-leading underwriting agency that specialises in placing accident, health and travel insurance at Lloyd’s, Practice Cover expects their confirmation of static rates to attract more IFA business, which already accounts for more than 50% of their premium income.

How important should these be when you’re choosing your locum insurance?

How can you tell if the company you’re proposing to use is a good bet?

Loss ratios

In simple terms, this is ‘money in vs money out’: how much does the underwriter receive in premiums (and pay in operating expenses) compared with what has been paid out in claims. It’s one measure – a very important one – of the profitability of the business. It should be reviewed dynamically to keep tabs on what constitutes good business. ‘Good business’ doesn’t mean policies never paying out claims; it means charging the right premium rates so that all genuine claims are paid swiftly and with no quibbling.

An individual client could be forgiven for thinking ‘as long as my claim is paid I don’t give a hoot’.

Well that’s the rub.

How important should these be when you’re choosing your locum insurance?

How can you tell if the company you’re proposing to use is a good bet?

Premiums

How often – in the past few years – have the company’s premium rates changed?

Some companies charge according to the age of the client and some don’t. Due to EU rules, companies are not allowed to charge according to sex. Some will also adjust premiums when a policy has been underwritten.

This is all very interesting (or not, depending on your pov) but it’s not the nub of the issue. The question should be ‘over the past few years when did you change your premium rates and by how much did they rise/fall?’

A report by the Medical Protection Society (MPS) recently shed some dark light on mental health issued suffered by medical professionals.

MPS surveyed 600 doctors in the UK and reported that an incredible 85% of doctors reported experiencing mental health issues at some point in their career. Of the 600, 32% had experienced depression and 13% suicidal thoughts.

Mental health, of course, is not as visible as broken legs and diagnoses of cancer or pneumonia. So, where do GPs and staff covered by a Practice Cover locum insurance policy stand?

We love to scour the social-mediasphere for titbits and came across this tweet from @Pickletray – a Twitterer with lots to say about GP issues.

Will your locum insurance cover your weekends? Thought not. Another reason why GP partners will soon be extinct. #gpnewdeal #GPNoDeal

What Pickletray is probably getting at is the GPs who will be offered a ‘new deal’ for adopting 7–day working. Will their locum insurance cover them for weekend working?

Have you a dentist client who’s thinking of buying a practice – perhaps to get into business for themselves, or to expand? As an IFA you will often be their first port of call.

Like us, you may have seen a new trend emerging from lenders asking for income insurance to protect themselves when a loan/mortgage is set up. This can seem like another layer of long-winded red tape for your clients – but it doesn’t have to be.

What if we said we could have locum insurance set up in as little as 2 hours?

Testimonials

Quality of communication, helpfulness of staff, range of insurance cover: excellent

GP, Norwich

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