To Carry Malpractice Insurance or Not To Carry Malpractice Insurance, That is the Question?
Yes, your agency carries malpractice insurance. Yes, your supervisor tells you they carry malpractice insurance (always check). So you are all good right?
Perhaps, but in the event that something happens and you were to get named in a lawsuit the agency and the supervisors attorneys may start looking to clear their clients names- hey, thats what the attorney is paid for… and it could happen this fast:
The Scene: A crowded court room with a serious looking judge in the center and the jury to the left.
Agency’s attorney to agency: “Did the primary supervisor and supervisee follow company policy regarding the care of this client? ”
Agency: “No they did not.”
The agency has just shifted responsibility to you and your supervisor.
Supervisor’s attorney to Supervisor: “Did the supervisee (you) follow your guidance in supervision on how to clinically handle this client?”
You are now hanging in the wind….yea….as fast as that.
Yes, you could and would challenge the agency and the supervisor, but without your own attorney provided by your malpractice insurance it would be costly. And lets face it, without insurance you’re gonna melt down into a pile of gew.
“But I like my supervisor and my agency seems so nice, they would never do this would they?” People are people, protect yourself.
YES! Get your own Malpractice insurance!
The good news is it is CHEAP. For the low price of around 100-200 dollars a year, the peace of mind alone is well worth it to carry your own insurance. Truth be told we all make mistakes. Insurance is here for a purpose, and not one person who was ever sued by their client and lost meant to mishandle their client.
Professional Liability Insurance
There are two social work malpractice insurance carriers who provide Professional Liability/Malpractice insurance:
1. American Behavioral
2. National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Assurance Services.
Both provide (a) student, and (b) professional forms of malpractice insurance. Both provided insurance at a low cost to build a relationship with you so you will stay with them throughout the course of your profession. As a general rule the cost of insurance goes up every year you practice.
A Breif history-
NASW used to provide insurance to its members through a contract with American Behavioral. In 2012 NASW stopped using American Behavioral to start their own insurance company.
- NASW Assurance Services requires membership in NASW for Professional Liability Insurance.
- American Behavioral does not require membership in NASW for Professional Liability Insurance.
Both these companies are fighting to maintain market dominance. What does this mean for you: Competitive rates.
Tip: Make sure to get legal representation as part of your insurance! Regardless of if you win or lose those legal fees hurt.