Insight

Want to switch your dental indemnity insurance?

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Reviewing your indemnity insurance, and think it could be time for a change? The key to this change is if the process of switching is easy and does not leave you without cover for historical matters, as well as any that occur in the present or future.

When we move provider for anything – banking, utilities etc – we want efficiency, no hassle, as well as a better deal and added value. With dental indemnity, although other providers may be more appealing than your current one, and perhaps a colleague is urging you to switch, dentists must feel reassured that they can transfer with confidence and won’t be left exposed, with gaps in their cover.

Historical claims, the most common

When a patient makes a complaint about their treatment, it tends to happen at least 12 months after the event; fewer than 25% occur within a year.[i] If a claim relates to treatment delivered to a minor, including orthodontics, it does not have to be made until the patient is 21. The last claims to arrive tend to be the biggest, most complex and potentially damaging too.

Particularly over the past decade or so, the climate has shifted, and patients are now constantly given information about how straightforward it is to make a claim against their dentist, if they believe they were given inadequate, inappropriate or incorrect care. If they didn’t feel encouraged to press ahead with a claim a few years ago, at the time or soon after they received treatment, perhaps they have recently read about someone in a similar situation to them, who has successfully sued and received a pay-out. 

The thought of a claim is already a source of great stress for dental professionals, and no wonder, when we are dealing with what is likely to be a lengthy process. So, sticking with the cover you have, rather than creating a gap by switching provider, can seem a good enough reason to stay where you are.

A safety net, to protect you from the impact

Run-off cover can indemnify you against future claims, made for work carried out previously. It can enable you to feel comfortable that, when you transfer your indemnity insurance, your policy will cover you historically and going forward, even into retirement, or if you stop practising for any other reason. Even if you never face a claim for work already completed, you will know that there is a safety net in place, which can minimise the impact not just to your livelihood and finances, but to your emotional wellbeing too.

When you know there is run-off cover, you get more options and reasons to transfer. Many dental practitioners who held discretionary indemnity insurance with a Mutual Defence Organisation (MDOs), have now moved to contract cover for better peace of mind. Insurance-backed policies represent a contractual obligation to provide compensation, via a monetary payment, and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), unlike those offered by MDOs.

Howden is a specialist dental indemnity provider, offering strong, contract-based cover for dentists and practices. Built into all its policies like a safety net is 10-year run off, to ensure you feel comfortable and confident about moving. With clear, concise wording there are no hidden surprises and clients also get access to a 24/7 mental health helpline for extra support and advice, or for any time when you just need to vent. The cover is already competitively priced, but this helpline, as well as the medico-legal helpline represents added value.

If you want to switch your indemnity provider, when you choose wisely the process can be seamless. Don’t be put off by the thought of extra stress and how time-consuming it will be! And you won’t need to worry that your policy will not cover you historically, should you need it to, if you transfer to a provider that has run off cover as part of its offering. Even after you stop practising, you will know you are still being well looked after. Why risk all the hard work you’ve put into a successful career? There are certain things you would never do in life without checking you have a safety net – that works! – firmly in place. When it comes to professional insurance that is fit for modern dentistry, switch to a provider that gives you everything you need to protect your livelihood and health, should a complaint or claim come your way. 

 

[i] BDA. BDA Advice, Professional Indemnity. Found at: https://bda.org/advice (accessed September 2022). 

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