GPs are fast becoming a new target for PHI providers.
The main reason is the attractive premiums GPs are offered, because their income is protected in the first 12 months absence from work.
GPs are required to have locum insurance, which provides cover for a locum to replace them for a 12 month period. The GP also receives his or her usual income from the NHS over this period. GPs would only claim under their PHI policy once this 12 month period was over.
A large proportion of PHI claims are paid out and terminated within or just over a 12 month period, so GPs are seen as a relatively low risk since they are never going to claim within the first 12 months.
Given that stress is now seen as the most common reason for both short and long-term incapacity for work, GPs could expect to pay high premiums, as theirs is classified as a high stress occupation. But as a result of this locum insurance they are effectively paying for a low risk occupation.
Gerry Berncastel, manager at Pulse Insurance Bureau, an IFA firm linked to the weekly magazine for doctors, Pulse
, which sells insurance exclusively to GPs said there were two schools of thought as far as PHI for GPs was concerned: “On the one hand there is the feeling that since they are not in need of PHI in the first year it is somewhat unnecessary. On the other hand if they want cover for long term illness then PHI is clearly a good option. Given how affordable the premiums are, they would be crazy not to consider taking out PHI.”
Pulse Insurance Bureau sells GPs PHI polices from PPP Healthcare. It offers its customers guaranteed premiums and,as Berncastel points out, though premiums may increase in the future any rise is likely to be marginal rather than a significant hike.