As a dental professional, you should already know the importance of dental indemnity insurance. Not only is it a requirement of your General Dentist Council registration, but it protects you and your career in the event of a claim.
Protect your career
There were 39.9 million Courses of Treatment (CoT) delivered in 2016-17, this is up 0.6% on 2015-16 (NHS Digital).
Dentistry takes years of studying and a lot of dedication. Dental professionals have to perform complex, intricate and often costly procedures for medical and aesthetic purposes. There is clearly a high level of expectation from patients and data shows that the number of claims against dentists has increased.
While often these claims are not upheld, patients are seemingly unhappy with some of their procedures and willing to sue dentists. The rise of ‘no win no fee’ solicitors encourages a claims culture and dentists are feeling the stress and strain of lawsuits.
Clearly dental indemnity insurance is a vital part of protecting your professional status and personal mental health.
However, you do need to make sure you check your terms on a regular basis.
Your circumstances will change over time. Often checking and updating the terms of your insurance is not considered high on the priority list. However, if the information held by your insurer about your circumstances is not right, it might invalidate your policy which means that in the event of a claim, your insurer might reduce their pay out, or not pay out at all. You also do not want to be over insured as then you are paying a higher premium than necessary.
You might have seen dental indemnity premiums increasing over recent years – through changes to the Ogden rate and an increase in negligence and malpractice claims. So, it is important to make sure that you are choosing the right insurance with the right level of cover.
How should you choose your indemnity insurance?
Discretionary and contractual insurance
Dental and Medical Defence Organisations (DDOs and MDOs) are traditionally where healthcare practitioners bought insurance. However, the issue with these policies is that they are discretionary, which means that if the DDO chooses not to defend any claim, then you are left to deal with the lawsuit, and associated costs and stress, on your own.
However, a contractual policy, as provided by an insurance company, is enforceable by law. Your policy is legally binding, which means that any valid claim would have to be supported by the insurer. There is also the added level of protection from the FCA.
Occurrence based and claims made insurance
You should also see if your insurer provides occurrence-based or claims made cover. Occurrence based ensures that you are covered whenever the claim is made (not just during the year of when the insurance policy is live). DDOs tend to provide this type of cover. So does All Med Pro.
Other insurers often provide claims made insurance. This means that you need to be insured at the time of the claim and when it is reported (which could be more than a year later). In these instances, you need to purchase run-off cover, even into retirement or at a change in career, to remain fully protected. Some policies include run-off cover for a certain period of time.
Check your policy for additional benefits and clauses, such as excess levels in the event of a claim. Often these are set to zero. Supplementary legal expenses can also be a bonus when considering claims against them for criminal, fraud, and other scenarios.
With All Med Pro’s insurance, you also have the added benefit of legal support from an experienced and qualified dental practitioner. This means that you receive a better level of support through the legal process. We find that during a claim, dental professionals highly value the support they get from choosing a specialist dental insurer.
Find out more about key things to consider when reviewing your dental indemnity insurance.
What’s included in dental indemnity insurance?
As well as all the above considerations, you should check that your policy includes all the necessary cover that you personally value.