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Hackers Love Health Records

increase in HIPAA data breaches from 2012 to 2014

If that stat from Redspin’s Breach Report 2013 tells you anything, it’s that hackers love health records. They contain all the personal and financial information a criminal needs to create a complete identity. Even though healthcare organizations have to follow the stringent privacy and security guidelines in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), nearly 30 million patient records have been compromised since 2009. Even worse? Forty-one percent of healthcare organizations think their detection solutions are underdeveloped, according to a 2014 SANS Institute survey.

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Important Insurance Policies for Medical Offices & Health Professionals

The allied health profession involves more than physicians, nurses, and dentists. The industry also includes a long list of other occupations: massage therapists, hypnotherapists, dieticians, and more. Your small business clients who own medical offices or work in healthcare face a unique set of risks because of the nature of their work and their patients' expectations. Understanding these risks can help you identify the protection they need.

A healthcare provider's risks depend on the type of work they do. However, most of your allied health clients will need:

Malpractice Insurance / Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance

Unlike other professions, your healthcare clients' mistakes can result in a patient's illness, injury, and even death. These high stakes make Malpractice Insurance, also called Errors & Omissions or Professional Liability Insurance, imperative. Depending on your client's profession and where they live, they may be required by state law to carry Malpractice coverage. This policy kicks in when a patient sues your client, alleging their professional negligence caused a direct financial loss. Malpractice Insurance may cover legal defense fees, settlements, and judgments, even when your client is not at fault.

General Liability Insurance

Many of your allied health clients have patients coming in and out of their office all day. General Liability Insurance can protect your client if a patient claims they suffered a bodily injury on your client's property. For example, if a patient trips and falls in your client's office, they could sue your client for damages. GL also covers claims that your client damaged or lost a third party's property. The policy can pay for attorney fees, settlements, judgments, and other court costs.

Property Insurance

Medical offices are often packed with expensive equipment. If your healthcare client's equipment is damaged or lost because of fires, windstorms, or theft, Property Insurance can help pay to repair or replace it. This policy can also cover your clients' physical office space, furniture, and more.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance is essential for any medical professional. Your client must protect their patients' health information, which means they are vulnerable to data breaches that could expose those private records. And because some healthcare professionals are regulated by federal laws (e.g., HIPAA or HITECH), your clients could face heavy fines if they fail to keep those records secure. A Cyber Liability policy can help your allied health clients handle the financial fallout following a data breach.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Your client will most likely need to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, depending on where they live and the number of employees they have. Workers' Compensation covers medical expenses and replacement wages when your client's employees suffer occupational injuries.

Excess Liability / Umbrella Insurance

When your client purchases either Excess Liability or Umbrella Insurance, they can access additional coverage when certain underlying policies have reached their limits. For example, say your client has a General Liability limit of $1,000,000, but they are found liable for $1,500,000 in damages. They can make a claim on their Umbrella policy to receive the additional $500,000 they need to cover the cost.

Tips for Insuring Medical Offices & Health Professionals

Finding suitable coverage for your healthcare clients requires some resourcefulness. Here are some insurance facts that might help you better serve those clients:

Know that Umbrella Insurance only applies to certain policies

Some policies don't benefit from the additional coverage of Excess Liability and Umbrella Insurance offers. Namely, your client can't apply Umbrella coverage to their Malpractice Insurance policy.

Investigate a Business Owner's Policy (BOP)

For low-risk medical businesses, a Business Owner's Policy may be your clients' best shot at saving money and receiving comprehensive coverage. It bundles together Property, General Liability, and Business Interruption Insurance (which covers lost revenue after a covered Property claim forces their business to close for a while). Though some of your healthcare clients may not qualify for a BOP because of their risk profile or size, the package's reduced rate and convenience makes the option worth exploring.

While everyone likes to save money, they also need to protect their assets. Be sure to compare rates and coverage to ensure your allied health clients get a good deal.

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