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My manager says I should cancel my own liability insurance, since I would be covered by the hospital's policy, in case of any legal action. What is your opinion on this?

Friday November 30, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

My risk manager recently informed me that I might be named in a lawsuit. I told her I had my own liability insurance. She says I should cancel it because it only creates more problems. I work in a hospital and she said I would be covered by the hospital’s insurance, unless I did something to intentionally harm a patient. I have had my insurance for more than 30 years and I am not sure I should cancel it. What is your opinion on this?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Wendy,

Your risk manager's advice is based on what is best for the institution and not necessarily what is best for you. When a lawsuit is filed, a facility would prefer its attorneys handle the matter without outside attorneys' involvement. Although there is verbal representation by your risk manager that the facility attorney would represent you (unless the conditions she stated exist), it is assumed you have little information about the employer’s policy under which you might be covered.

For example, what does the policy cover? How much are you covered for? What other conditions, if any, are you required to meet in order to have representation under the policy? Or, is the facility self-insured?

You should speak to your insurance agent immediately about the possibility that you may be named in the suit or involved in some other way. If you look at your policy, it requires you to notify your insurance company if you are sued or there is the possibility you may be sued. Under no circumstances should you cancel your policy on the advice of your risk manager. The entity that has your best interest in mind is your insurance company.

If more problems are created (whatever that means) by having your own insurance, it is more likely than not that the problems may not even exist, but if they do, they can be handled by your attorney whose sole duty is to represent you, not the facility.


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.