Allied health professionals make up an important part of Australia’s health workforce.
But the sector has been under significant stress since the start of the pandemic, with a rise in telehealth appointments pushing the number of scheduled services to 200 million each year across the allied health network.
And while there are over 200,000 professionals already registered in Australia, the allied health sector is set to continue to boom over the next decade, according to government statistics.
Yet many could find themselves with significant gaps in their coverage as the risks they face blur between different types of insurance products.
Brokers could help explain this issue but the opportunity cost for brokers to advise in this crucial industry has been traditionally low, with premiums sitting between around $300 on average for an allied health small business.
“Targeting allied health professionals without an online digital offering may not be cost-effective,” says Jane Mason, Head of Product, Channels & Risk at BizCover for Brokers. “Going out approaching multiple different markets, emailing, and following up all takes time and when we’re talking about getting a small cut of a low premium it may not be financially viable for the broker.”
While the traditional broking process is manual by nature, Insurtechs have paved the way for new opportunities for brokers to enter this critical sector and help the growing number of allied health professionals understand their exposure.
“Through BizCover for brokers, you can compare two providers on the same platform and get quotes instantly,” says Mason. “The efficiencies gained through our platform makes allied health a viable target for them again.”
Allied health is a unique industry, and not just because it includes everything from sex therapists to Chinese medicine practitioners. What makes it distinctive is the way the exposure to Professional Indemnity (PI) and Public Liability (PL) risks are intrinsically linked meaning that having separate PI and PL policies can have unintended effects in the event of a claim.
Traditionally, Professional Indemnity insurance is intended to cover financial loss and exclude bodily injury whilst Public Liability is not intended to respond to claims for injury resulting from a professional service.
Whilst PI policies may contain a write-back to a bodily injury exclusion, providing cover for bodily injury arising from the negligent provision of the professional service, this is not always the case. In some situations, the root cause of the injury may not be so easy to identify resulting in a potential allocation dispute between insurers.
Unlike traditional professions such as accountants where a negligent act error or omission results in a financial loss, for allied health professionals, the professional service they provide comes with an inherent risk of bodily injury.
For example, a chiropractor provides a professional service and negligence in providing this service such as an incorrect spinal manipulation could result in bodily injury or a personal trainer who failed to obtain the medical history of a client before instructing high-intensity exercise that results in injury or death.
For this reason, insurers such as DUAL and Vero have opted to combine the PL and PI policies for allied health professionals. These tailored products prevent such gaps in cover or allocation problems, and often there are cost benefits with purchasing a combined policy.
“At BizCover for Brokers, we offer a comprehensive packaged product that includes Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance coverage, with the option to exclude Public Liability if not required,” says Mason.
“The best way forward with allied health is a combined policy and it’s because there’s an intrinsic crossover between the PI and PL exposure.”
The bottom line
Allied health professionals provide essential care for people of all ages across Australia, including children, older Australians, and people with chronic conditions or mental health issues.
At a time when we are overcoming a global pandemic, it’s paramount these essential workers are protected by adequate insurance products and understand their exposure.
Technology has made it easier than ever before for brokers to benefit from this interaction, with platforms like BizCover for Brokers redefining the broking process.
“We have two leading insurers offering a Combined Allied Health Policy for our brokers’ SME and miro-SME clients,” says Mason. “Covering more than 200 occupations under the allied health umbrella, you can bind quotes instantly all with single data entry, now making this industry a lucrative target for brokers.”
*The information in this article is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. BizCover for Brokers is a registered business name of BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769).