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Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Legal Expenses Insurance Scheme for Full Members of Nagalro
Nagalro offers professional indemnity and public liability insurance as part of the full member’s annual subscription. As the insurance is obtained on a group basis the cost is much less than a premium purchased on an individual basis. Full Members are covered against claims made against them up to £10 Million pounds for both professional indemnity and public liability. This covers any claim arising from either (i) a claim which is made whilst a Full Member of Nagalro and in some cases even if the incident occurred before the date of joining, or (ii) a claim made after the Full Member has retired or are no longer a member provided the member was a full member when the work in question was carried out. There is a £250 excess which would apply to any member who has a claim made against them. The Nagalro insurance cover also provides legal representation up to £5,000 if a member is referred to his or her professional registration body. See below for further details.
Members must notify Nagalro as soon as they become aware that a claim may be made against them.
The insurance policy is limited to Full Members. Nagalro Associate Members are not covered under this scheme.
This cover applies to all Nagalro Full Members carrying out the business activities of an independent social work practitioner or consultant or Family Court Advisor including:
- Children's Guardian
- Family Court Advisor
- Children and Family Reporter
- Expert witness, including in court proceedings
- McKenzie Friend
- Other social work assessments including fostering and adoption applications
- Independent Reviewing Officer
- Chair of Reviews and Child Protection conferences
- Independent investigator of complaints
- Social work consultant/trainer, including but not limited to appraisal of staff
- Family mediator
- Counsellor and psychotherapist
- Play therapist
- Manager and Management Advisor
- Independent Visitor
Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance
As a full member of Nagalro you have the benefit of insurance cover arranged as a block policy by Nagalro, for the benefit of all its members. By joining together in this way, members are able to obtain cover at a much lower cost than if they were trying to arrange a similar level of cover as individuals.
Local authorities, looking to contract work to ISWs will always insist that you have adequate professional indemnity insurance. As far as we are aware, the Nagalro policy equals, or exceeds, the requirements of all local authorities in England and Wales.
Even if the work you are undertaking does not absolutely require insurance, it would be very unwise to embark on independent social work without adequate insurance cover. The legal costs alone, of defending a serious claim, could be financially crippling and a successful claim could result in bankruptcy and the loss of your home. It is simply not worth the risk.
What are you covered for?
- You are insured against negligence claims (including the cost of defending the case) up to a total of £10m per claim, subject only to an excess of £250.00. The cover is worldwide, so you can work overseas with confidence. The only limitation is that claims brought in the courts of the USA or Canada, are not covered. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot undertake work in North America. It simply means that the contract under which you work must contain a provision giving the courts of England and Wales exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute. Any member proposing to undertake work in North America should contact Nagalro in good time before the work starts so that we can discuss the case with the insurers and make sure that you are fully covered before you begin the work.
- You also have a similar £10m of insurance cover for public liability. This means that if, for example, someone falls over your bag when you are doing a visit, or a child in your care is accidentally injured, you are protected against any claim for damages. There is an excess, again, of £250.00. This cover only applies within the European Union.
- In the event that you were to be subject to disciplinary action by the HCPC or similar governing body, you are insured up to a total of £5,000 for the legal costs incurred by you (with the insurers prior agreement) defending those proceedings. It is important to note that the insurers will not pay for ‘hopeless causes’ and so have to be satisfied that the chances of success are at least 51%.
- Within the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, you also have insurance cover for up to £250,000 in the event that you are subject to a claim for damages based on allegations of ‘abuse, assault, harassment, mistreatment or maltreatment’.
- As a full member of Nagalro, you also have access, under the terms of the insurance policy, to a legal advice helpline provided by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company.
What if I retire – will I lose my insurance cover?
No, you will not. The insurance which we have arranged includes cover for past Nagalro members, provided that the claim arises from work which they carried out whilst they were a full member of Nagalro. You do not have to remain a full member after you have retired just to keep your insurance in place.
What about advice and support?
If you have been used to working in a large organisation, life as an ISW can sometimes feel rather lonely and isolated. This is where the mutual support and assistance of Nagalro comes to your aid. The Nagalro Council is made up of fellow ISWs with many years of experience to call upon. You are always free to contact Nagalro, through our administrator, who will put you in touch with someone with appropriate experience and skills, to help you navigate through the difficulties. It is also recommended that you join the Nagalro Google Group (‘NGG’) which, for more general ‘sounding-board’ issues, is another source of advice and support from your fellow members.
Do I need any other insurance?
Do remember to contact your motor insurers and make sure that you are insured to use your car for business purposes. This is very important.
Additionally, you may wish to consider what would happen if you were unable, either temporarily or permanently, to work. Becoming self-employed does mean an end to sick pay! Health insurance and/or an income protection policy may be appropriate for this. Should you wish to arrange this, we would advise you to contact an independent financial adviser, who will be able to assist you with your own particular requirements. Similarly, any issues relating to pension arrangements should be discussed with an independent financial adviser with expertise in pension arrangements.
Full Members and difficulties with their Registration Body such as Social Work England (SWE)
Full Members are entitled to legal advice and legal costs up to £5000 if they have to respond to allegations made by their registration body questioning their professional competence as the investigation process may lead to a tribunal.
The choice of lawyer can be made by the member provided he/she has the approval of the insurers.
In such situations members are advised to contact the Nagalro office as soon as they receive notification that such a process has started.
For members employed by Cafcass
For full members employed by Cafcass, professional indemnity and public liability claims arising out of their work would probably be met by their employers, although there may not be any stated insurance cover to this effect. However, should this not be the case members would be covered by Nagalro as part of their membership subscription.
Nagalro insurance underwriters advise us that when Cafcass practitioners are appointed personally to a case and are responsible for their actions and decisions, under the amended courts rules, anyone suing for redress would sue both the individual and Cafcass.
This is similar to what happens to some other public sector employees such as doctors employed by the National Health Service - most of whom have personal and professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves against any claim for professional negligence. It is our view that Cafcass employees have similar good reasons to maintain personal professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
Full Members who leave Nagalro, retired members and members on maternity leave
These groups of members are covered indefinitely by the policy - provided they were a paid up member at the time of the incident leading to the claim. A claim arising out of past professional work would be covered even if the member has left Nagalro, retired from work or is on maternity leave.