Common Insurance Business Mistakes

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Take a moment to consider your current business insurance portfolio. Is your practice adequately prepared for the risks to which it is most susceptible? There are several areas of coverage commonly overlooked by equine veterinary practice owners.

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You need to be aware of the insurance needs of your practice in order to avoid incomplete coverage of claims. Consider these three common mistakes. Are you guilty?

1. Your mobile equipment is improperly covered.
If you carry portable radiography machines, ultrasounds and other equipment, such as a vet box—check your policy carefully. You want a policy that will pay the replacement cost (current market price) for covered losses. You do not want a policy that only replaces with comparable new property, minus depreciation and obsolescence, which is referred to as “actual cash value.”

Also, does your policy cover damages caused by your patients? Consider that a horse kick could put your business on hold while your equipment is being serviced. Will your policy cover your lost revenue? Make sure you have business interruption coverage that protects your profit dollar.

2. Your workers’ compensation coverage is lacking key enhancements.

A large number of the workers’ compensation claims reported by equine practices involve kicks and other impact injuries from horses. The most severe claims in the PLIT-sponsored program have involved experienced technicians who sustained traumatic brain injuries from horses. Some injuries have caused employees permanent impairment, and in some cases, the claims have exceeded $1 million.

First, check your policy limits. Standard limits (typically $500,000) may not be adequate. Ask your insurance broker about higher limit options.

Second, ask about the subrogration rights of your insurance carrier. Avoid a policy that allows the insurance carrier to automatically subrogate your clients on workers’ compensation claims when a patient causes employee injuries. Subrogation is when an insurance company—after paying for a claim filed by its client (you)—tries to recover some of the claim expenses by attempting to assign responsibility and collect fees from the other party (your client, who owns the horse) involved in the claim. Pursuing subrogation may damage your relationship with your clients.

3. You’re overpaying.

When was the last time you did a market comparison? Rates for business insurance policies will vary by state, broker and carrier. So it is important to obtain competitive bids and to use the group buying power of the veterinary industry to access the best possible pricing and coverage.

So how did you do? If you looked at the information above and found some shortfalls in your coverage, it may be time to re-examine it. The AVMA/PLIT-sponsored program has access to tremendous risk management resources and relationships with carriers to provide owners a unique and tailored business insurance program. Others that offer various kinds of coverage include Nationwide, Harleysville Group and Henry Schein.

Reprinted with permission; prepared by HUB International Midwest Limited for the AVMA PLIT.