Sector and Service Focus: Insurance for Care Homes in the UK
With over 11.6 million people (17.8%) in the UK now being 65 years old and over and 1.5 million people (2.3% of the population) being 85 years old and over, it could be argued that care homes are becoming more important than ever. With an aging population comes increased care needs, but of course there is a whole host of other care home establishments too including, homes for people with learning difficulties, hospices, supported living facilities, nursing homes, residential homes, elderly care homes and children's homes.
The care sector is without doubt a very specialist and vital part of the 21st century but it's currently facing challenges and risks that it previously hasn't been exposed to. Insurance products can help you minimise the risks involved but this too is one of the areas that's proving difficult for the industry. Your industry sector will determine the type and cost of your insurance cover. But in the care home sector, Insurance, is directly affecting the very survival of some care providers.
In the last three years, two of the UK's larger insurance providers; Ecclesiastical and Hiscox, ceased to provide care home cover due to increased claims and scandals within the industry. The impact has had dramatic consequences, primarily the cost of insurance premiums having increased significantly, making it tricky for smaller care homes in particular to obtain reasonably priced insurance cover.
But with so many vital insurance products available to the care home industry and with these products changing and with increasing and evolving regulation in the sector, prices are starting to spiral for some. Employers and public liability, medical malpractice, professional indemnity, directors & officers/trustee liability, residents' personal liability, treatment malpractice including personal indemnity for nurses, legal expenses including defence costs at employee tribunals, motor fleet, property owners and digital risks (liability for loss or corruption of confidential records/data) are all common policies within the care home sector.
As in other sectors there are steps that care providers can take to lessen their risk, and in reality recent research has shown that this could lead to a reduction in insurance premiums. Insurance experts suggest that setting up in-depth risk management procedures, being transparent with the information shared with insurance providers and good working practices can all help to improve costs of insurance and also protect from potential risk.
Additionally, make sure you're up to date on all the regulations and that you're confident of meeting them. If you're a nursing care home in England you'll need to contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (the independent regulator of health and social care), to see if your business needs to be registered.
The Care Certificate is vital for anyone working within the care home and has been developed by Health Education England (HEE), Skills for Care and Skills for Health to help ensure best practice and quality standards and was ultimately designed to meet the requirements set out in the Cavendish Review.
Making sure that everyone in the care home, from residents and staff to visiting family and friends will be safe may go without saying but being aware of specific risks and taking steps to avoid them should always be in the mind of everyone involved. Loose carpets and trailing wires are even more likely to result in slips and trips where you have people who are possibly less steady on their feet. And don't forget, if you prepare food, all staff will need the relevant training in hygiene and safety and keep the required reports and certificates on file.
Public liability insurance is designed to cover you for legal fees and damages pay-outs as a result of any injury caused to your residents and visitors by something to do with your business. That includes food poisoning and slips due to spillages.
Employer's liability insurance is a legal necessity for any business with one or more member of staff and covers any injury caused to them by something to do with your business. Without it, you can be handed a financial penalty/ fine, and if anything does happen, you'll face large legal fees and compensation pay-outs.
You'll need specialist commercial property insurance even if you live at the address yourself. This can be tailored to your business' specific requirements, and can comprise of your own personal belongings too if required. It can even include cover for goods in your freezer spoiling as a result of it breaking down, broken glass, and for the more serious situation of loss of electricity, gas and water for example as well as more general areas. You might also want to consider additional insurance options, such as employee dishonesty and loss of money cover.
Running a care home presents unique challenges to keep everyone safe, secure and residents' environment enriched. Whilst insurance can't help with every challenge within the sector it's there for your peace of mind. Just like caring for individual people, one-size doesn't fit all, so it's important to talk to a provider who understands the specific needs of your business and can help make sure you're covered, whatever happens. Trusted, market leading insurers are on hand to provide this unique sector with all the cover it needs.
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"Running a care home presents unique challenges to keep everyone safe, secure and residents' environment enriched. Whilst insurance can't help with every challenge within the sector it's there for your peace of mind. Just like caring for individual people, one-size doesn't fit all, so it's important to talk to a provider who understands the specific needs of your business and can help make sure you're covered, whatever happens."