I am a nurse practitioner covered for malpractice insurance through my company for 1million/3million. I have always carried my own insurance when I was working as a staff nurse. The policy covers 1million/6million. I am wondering is there any benefit in having the two insurances or does it put one at higher risk with the additional coverage? If I dont give additional advice outside the workplace, should I continue the coverage?
Dear Nancy replies:
The topic of professional liability insurance has many pros and cons depending on with whom you speak. Some general comments can be made here, but the decision to carry your own professional liability insurance is one you will need to make yourself. Checking with your nurse practitioner colleagues would be a good initial resource to explore. In addition, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org ) is another good resource. Your own insurance agent can discuss with you the pros and cons of not carrying your own professional liability insurance.
Even though an employer carries professional liability insurance for you, you may not know much about that insurance coverage. Does the policy name you specifically or just name “all nurse practitioner employees” working for that company? What does the insurance cover? What are its exclusions? What are your obligations as an insured when there is a possibility of a suit or you are named in a suit? Is the insurance policy one purchased from an insurance company or is your insurance covered by the employer’s self-insurance?
When one owns their own policy, the above answers are easy to obtain and allow you to make an informed choice about the coverage you, as the sole insured, decide upon. You are provided an attorney who represents you (and not the employer and you) in a suit. Having your own legal counsel in such a situation is vital to defending your interests in such a suit.
Insofar as your question about being more of a target if there are two policies covering you, keep in mind that plaintiffs (patients) who file a suit do not know the specifics about insurance coverage. They leave that up to the attorney. So the real issue is whether the plaintiff has a case or does not have a case.
If the issue of two insurance policies covering an event arises, it will be dealt with between the insurance companies. Either policy may clearly state, for example, that if more than one policy exists for a covered event, one or the other takes primary responsibility for the coverage. However, both insurance companies would be involved because they have a contractual obligation to defend the insured.
You may want to also explore what both policies say in relation to the existence of two insurance policies covering an event.