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Insurance for Healthcare Professionals in the 21st Century

Medico-legal cases have become a common incident across India. Studies conducted in 2016 show that there has been a 110% growth in incidents lodged as cases of medical negligence, out of which almost 90% instances involve hospitals or healthcare institutions for some form of inattention.
       On average, 20 to 25 cases are lodged against healthcare professionals and medical institutions regarding personal and financial loss witnessed due to some form of medical negligence.
In a country where almost 80% of the healthcare delivery system is controlled by the private industry, such cases can bring severe consequences to healthcare professionals, resulting in loss of pay or even suspension in extreme scenarios.

The rising number of medical negligence cases in India

Several reasons contribute to the rising number of medico-legal cases across the nation. Poor understanding of the medical procedures and following treatment, substantially low doctor-patient ratio, and several other issues have been identified as the key driver of such complaints.
       On average, 60% to 66% of the filed cases are directed against healthcare facilities for malpractice.
Not surprisingly, doctors and other healthcare professionals are held accountable in less than 10% of all cases.
Despite witnessing significant backlash in their professional and personal life, these cases often occur from unintentional mistakes, healthcare facilities failing to acquire adequate consent (from patient’s party) for certain procedures, and because of referral to other institutions.
For protection against unwanted financial setbacks witnessed during such incidents, many professionals resort to professional liability plans, such as indemnity insurance policies, that offer comprehensive financial coverage against similar situations.

What is an indemnity insurance plan?

Indemnity insurance plans are policies that offer financial cover against incidents where patients or any third-party claim harm, injury, financial loss, or death because of a medical practitioner’s consultation.
Professional indemnity insurance plans also protect doctors against any incident of defamation, offering comprehensive coverage against relative risks.

Benefits of purchasing an indemnity insurance policy

Indemnity insurance plans extend several advantages to policyholders, offering end-to-end solutions against claims of negligence, incorrect treatment, and even legal expenses. Let’s take a look at some of the primary benefits of this insurance plan.
1.      Extensive cover – Most professional indemnity insurance policies offer financial coverage against any loss suffered because of third-party damage, legal costs, and associated expenses. It primarily focuses on possible scenarios that a healthcare professional might get involved in.

Some of the best professional indemnity insurance policy for doctors even extends the coverage against a variety of other incidents.

For example, a healthcare professional can protect their financial interest against any incidents of fraud or dishonesty as well as breach of confidentiality executed by their employee.

Damages incurred because of loss of documents, legal expenses to cover incidents of defamations are also included under such insurance policies.

2.      High sum insured – Professional liability plans offer financial coverage based on an individual’s size of the practice. Such flexibility often proves beneficial, as healthcare professionals can purchase a professional indemnity insurance policy for doctors that best suits their financial requirements.

Moreover, most insurance aggregators offer these policies on an affordable premium. The payable amount is calculated based on the sum insured, coverage, and the identified risks, allowing a financial institution to determine the extent of coverage accurately.

3.      Quick claim procedure – Most indemnity insurance policies offer quick claim lodging and disbursement systems, ensuring timely financial assistance for a policyholder.

A customer only has to follow the subsequent steps to claim their sum insured –

a.      The policyholder will have to send written intimation comprising of all necessary details in writing to the financial institution.
b.      He or she will have to submit the necessary documents, like records of any reported incidents, First Incident Report, etc.
c.       Once the details are verified and approved, the settlement amount will be disbursed to the individual. Policyholders will be liable to pay any deductible amount at this point only.
Professional liability or Professional Indemnity Insurance plans are offered by several financial institutions, including NBFCs like Bajaj Finserv.
They also provide advances in the form of Loan for Doctors, which offers monetary assistance to mitigate any other form of personal or business-related requirements.
The all-around cover provided by indemnity insurances makes them extremely popular amongst medical professionals.
Moreover, one can choose the best professional indemnity insurance policy for doctors from a range of available options. Various financial institutions, including NBFCs, offer such policies with varying degree of coverage as well as other features and benefits.

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