- You must have an appropriate level of professional indemnity and, where appropriate, product liability insurance.257
- You must ensure that your insurance covers any changes in your scope of practice and responsibilities.
- You must ensure that your insurance cover continues if you:
- change insurers
- take a career break, or
- stop practising, since claims can be made many years after an event.
- You should choose your insurer after gaining a full understanding of the nature of the cover available and the difference between ‘claims made’ and ‘claims occurring’ insurance.
- In a ‘claims made’ insurance plan, your membership of the plan at the time the claim is made is what determines eligibility for cover. It works on the basis that all claims made while you are a member of a ‘claims made’ insurance plan are covered, even if the incidents which give rise to the claim occurred when you were not a member. So the claim must be made while you are a member of the plan. All incidents in your past are covered, even if they happened before you joined that insurance plan. When you leave a ‘claims made’ plan you should take out run-off cover from your previous insurer, or retrospective cover from your new insurer, to ensure that your insurance for past events continues. Your insurer can arrange that cover for you.
- In a ‘claims occurring’ insurance plan, your membership of the plan at the time of the incident which later gives rise to the claim is what determines eligibility for cover. It works on the basis that any event that occurs during the period for which you have bought cover will be insured, even if the claim arises in a period during which you are no longer a member of that plan. If, after you cease to be a member of a ‘claims occurring’ plan, a claim is made against you regarding an event that occurred while you were a member of the plan, then claims relating to that incident will be covered. If you move from a ‘claims made’ insurer to a ‘claims occurring’ insurer you need to make sure that you buy run-off cover from your previous insurer, or retrospective cover from your new insurer for the period you were in practice before joining the ‘claims occurring’ plan. Your insurer can arrange that cover for you.
- If you are a locum or work in more than one business, you should be fully acquainted with the extent and nature of the insurance policy or policies which cover your work for each business. If you rely on one employer’s insurance, you should be aware that one employer’s cover may not extend to another employer.
257 Opticians Act 1989 S10A