© The Medical-Legal News, 2007
Question: As a legal nurse consultant, what kind of insurance should I consider?
Answer: I recommend that legal nurse consultants carry:
1) Professional liability coverage for financial loss to someone that resulted from something you did (error) or did not do (omission); and
2) Property insurance to cover your physical assets if you are forced out of business after a covered loss. Equipment, furnishings, computers, valuable papers, records and loss of income are examples of physical assets covered under this insurance.
Professional liability: Nurses who use their nursing knowledge in a consulting role should consider obtaining professional liability insurance that covers them for specific injury and damage that are economic or financial in nature. They may not have this coverage from the typical professional liability (malpractice) policy.
The typical malpractice policy provides coverage for a medical incident. Direct patient care gives rise to medical injury. In a nurse consulting role, losses that arise are financial in nature. They involve a loss (or alleged loss) of money by someone for something you did or did not do (errors and omissions). Even though the nurse may be working within the scope of their state practice act, these losses may not be covered by the typical professional (malpractice) policy because they are not medical in nature.
Nursing Service Organization (NSO) recently added professional liability coverage to their coverages for nurse (RN) consultants when they use their professional nursing skills and knowledge in nonmedical settings. This coverage is an endorsement to their traditional malpractice coverage. The cost is affordable and varies by state. In Florida, the annual cost is $115 a year for the policy and $25 a year for the consulting services liability endorsement.
One phone call to NSO (800-247-1500) provides everything you need at an affordable price. This professional coverage is also extended to other nurse consultants including educators, administrators, expert witnesses, speakers and trainers. The program is underwritten by American Casualty Company of Reading, Penn., a CNA company, and is offered through the Healthcare Providers Service Organization Risk Purchasing Group. On the internet, you can see details on NSO’s web site at www.NSO.com.
Property insurance: Many nurse consultants who have home offices think their computers, printers, and other physical equipment used for business are covered by their personal homeowner’s insurance or auto insurance (when the equipment is carried in their car). Any equipment or furnishings used for business are not covered under a personal policy.
If your office is in your home, I recommend you purchase a home office or business rider (endorsement) to your homeowner’s or rental policy. It is affordable and covers damage and loss to your business property. The cost is based on the dollar amount of the items covered. Ask for replacement coverage. Make sure the coverage extends to damage and loss that occur outside the home office. An example would be if your laptop were stolen, lost or damaged at the airport or in a car accident.
The short of it
• If you are a nurse consultant, educator or a nurse not doing direct patient care, look for a professional liability (errors and omissions) endorsement on your individual malpractice policy at Nursing Service Organization (NSO).
• If you have a home office, look for coverage on your business equipment (computers, printers, desks, etc.) in the form of a business endorsement on your homeowner’s policy. •