Practice Cover has updated its Locum Insurance Policy, adding the following new benefits at no extra cost. The changes include:
* Revalidation. For health professionals who are asked to undergo further training to meet revalidation criteria, payment is made to the practice to meet the costs associated with this. This is subject to a maximum 20 days’ payment and there is a five day excess period.
* Fit note. Returning to work after illness on a reduced hours basis can result in increased costs for the practice as it tries to cover the ‘missing’ hours. The insurance will pay for up to 35 days to assist the practice to meet these additional costs.
* Compassionate leave. This has been extended to cover the accidental death of a family member.
Practice Cover says its rates have remained unchanged since 2010 and that in terms of service it is unmatched in quality or consistency.
The plan continues to offer a choice of annually renewable or continuity of cover (where terms and premiums cannot be changed by the underwriter as long as the policy is renewed at each renewal) and a choice of three cover levels. There is no underwriting at renewal, no premium increase if a claim is made (although on annually renewable plans the underwriters may limit the cover in future) and a no claims discount for non-claimers. Customers do not need to provide locum receipts in order to claim.
For a weekly sum insured of £1,000 with a four week deferred period and a maximum benefit period of 52 weeks the plan would cost from £411.13 a year for Level 1 (the lowest level) annually renewable cover up to £810.51 for Level 3 continuity of cover. Benefits must be between £200 and £3,000 a week and the deferred period can be from 2-26 weeks. Group discounts apply to groups of three or more. Premiums are not based on age, sex or health and do not go up with age but are subject to Insurance Premium Tax (currently at 9.5% but due to rise to 10% later this year). Premiums will usually be tax relievable and can be paid in monthly instalments (subject to a credit charge).
What They Say
Director Lynda Cox said: 'It can cost £2,500 a week to get a locum to cover for a full-time GP who's off sick and practices usually have to meet this cost themselves. With their income under constant pressure we give them stable locum insurance premiums (rates held for more than six years) and extra benefits added to existing clients' cover, at no extra cost.
"We don't want clients having to look over the fence to see if the grass is greener - they've got enough on their plates as it is - and they love paying the same premium each year for extra cover. Who wouldn't?”
What We Say
"Locum insurance is a niche market, but such markets can be important both for themselves and as part of a package of solutions for key groups of clients.
"In the medical profession, doctors and dentists can use IP for locum cover, which can provide long term benefits and avoids IPT (a factor that is becoming even more important now that the rate is to rise yet again). But IP needs to be specialist product, as a practice’s income may not actually fall if a GP cannot work.
"For GPs however, their liability to the practice is limited to 52 weeks, so a short term general insurance policy can be a good fit. Practice Cover specialises in this market and is well-established and understands the market’s needs. So for GPs, the policy is subject to IPT and the benefit won’t be paid for more than a year but, if the cover offered meets what the GP needs, then this plan is well worth looking at. For groups such as dentists, the 12 month benefit limit may be more of an issue."