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Is there any benefit in having two insurance policies or does it put me at higher risk with the additional coverage?

Wednesday July 24, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I am a nurse practitioner covered by malpractice insurance through my company. I carried my own insurance when I was working as a staff nurse. Is there any benefit in having two insurance policies or does it put me at higher risk with the additional coverage? If I donít give advice outside the workplace, should I continue my own coverage?

Maria



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Maria,

It would be difficult to respond directly concerning the two insurance policies you refer to in your question without comparing and contrasting them and their respective provisions. However, some general comments can be made.

It always is best to be a named insured on a professional liability insurance policy. As a named insured, your interests are the ones that are represented when a suit is filed. When you are an employee covered by a policy that your employer carries and does not name you directly, it is the employer's interests that control. It may be that you and your employer would have the same interests in the outcome of a suit, or that may not be the case. In either event, you have no authority to control what happens when a suit is filed. It is the employer who has the authority to deal with the specifics.

If there were a suit filed against you with the two policies, the details concerning which insurance policy would be the primary coverage, and which would be the secondary, is based on the specifics of the policies themselves and the two companies would battle this out. You might want to discuss this issue with the insurance agent of your individual policy for the specifics of this scenario.

You are at no higher risk for being sued by having one policy of professional liability insurance versus having two. The important thing is, if you decide to keep your own policy, remember to contact your carrier if you are sued or think you might be.

There is a wealth of information on the Internet and in print material, such as texts and articles, concerning the value of having your own professional liability insurance policy even when there is an employer policy. Reviewing them will provide you with additional information. Checking with The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org) for their view also would be helpful.

Regards,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.