Finding the right retirement home or senior center for a loved one is a time-consuming and difficult process, but it’s important to get it right. It’s also a task that can be hard for families to do on their own.
When a family hires an agent to take care of senior placement for them, they are putting their trust in that agent. As with any situation that involves a high level of trust, both parties should protect themselves against a negative outcome. For senior placement agencies, that means having good liability insurance.
What is Senior Placement Agent Liability Insurance?
Senior placement agent liability insurance is a critical asset for any placement agency. In general, this insurance protects an agency from lawsuits clients might bring. It also protects an agency against negative actions that a senior home takes against a client or former client.
Most liability insurance can help cover you for instances of errors, omissions, or negligence. If anyone accuses you of these behaviors and takes you to court, liability insurance can help offset the legal fees associated with the case.
Liability insurance looks different for every profession. Because it’s based on the work you do, liability is different for a doctor than for a mechanic or taxi driver.
What Could a Senior Placement Agency Be Liable For?
The liability for senior placement services largely concerns the health and well-being of the seniors with whom they work.
There is a rapidly increasing population of adults over the age of 65. Many of them need some kind of assisted living care. As this population ages, their care needs increase. If senior homes don’t meet these needs, it can be a recipe for disaster.
It’s the role of a senior placement agency to find a retirement home for a client that meets their needs. These can include medical, emotional and financial needs. In a rapidly growing industry, it can be difficult to predict which homes will turn out to be problematic.
There are currently 1.7 million beds in licensed nursing homes. The need is outpacing that availability, leaving room for bad actors in the industry.
A senior placement agency could be held liable for a bad outcome at a senior home if they placed a client in a dangerous situation. They can also be responsible for putting a client at risk because of a mistake or negligent action. However, recently litigation against placement agencies has increased, even when the negative outcome for the senior isn’t the placement agency’s fault. This is where liability insurance comes in handy.
What Types of Insurance Should You Have?
Every business is different and has different insurance needs. However, every senior placement agency should have these kinds of insurance: general liability, professional liability, and non-owned auto insurance.
An insurance agent might recommend other coverage as well, depending on the agency. In addition, a senior placement agency should have coverage for the same regular employment risks as any other business.
General liability insurance is the basic coverage that every business should have. This is the starting point for any business insurance package because it covers broad circumstances.
The types of incidents that general liability coverage can help with include workplace accidents, like trips and falls, or other accidents that result in injury.
This coverage isn’t specific to any industry. Rather, it covers incidents that could happen in any field. Without it, you could leave your business open to a wide variety of issues. It’s best to start with general liability coverage and build your plan up from there.
Professional liability coverage picks up where general liability stops. This coverage is tailored specifically to different industries.
Liability for senior placement agencies can get complicated. Many seniors enter a nursing home or assisted living because of a medical need. A placement agency could potentially be liable for medical issues if those needs aren’t met.
In extreme cases, someone might bring a lawsuit against a senior placement agency for something as serious as wrongful death.
Research suggests that seniors in nursing homes are at a higher risk for abuse or wrongful death than seniors who live at home. A good insurance agent will consider this risk. It will help determine professional liability insurance for a senior placement agency.
Non-Owned Auto Insurance and Auto Insurance
For any agency where your employees travel on company time, especially if they are using company vehicles, you’ll need some kind of auto insurance.
When employees use their own vehicles, you need non-owned auto coverage (as the business doesn’t own the vehicles). If employees travel for the agency using agency-owned vehicles, you would need separate auto coverage too.
The chance of an employee getting into an accident during work activities is out of your control. It’s a good idea to have coverage just in case. If employees travel to senior homes with clients, auto coverage is even more important.
If clients are traveling with employees, that increases the risk your business is taking. In that case, you would need higher auto insurance coverage than if your employees and clients traveled separately.
Like any business, senior placement agencies should also consider standard types of business insurance coverage. Workers comp and employment practice coverage are both common coverage types.
Cyber liability coverage is increasingly important as more of our lives move online. This type of coverage can protect a business from liability if it gets hacked.
The way you run your placement agency will impact the types of insurance you need. The best way to get appropriate coverage is to talk to an insurance professional.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
The specifics of an insurance plan should be tailored to your practice. An experienced insurance agent can take a look at the way your agency operates and make suggestions.
A recommended minimum for both general and professional liability coverage is $1 million per occurrence and $3 million total. Auto coverage for any vehicles that your business owns should start at $1 million.
An insurance agent can help you adjust the coverage amounts based on the volume of placements you have and other factors. Where your business operates and whether your business crosses state lines can also have an impact on your coverage.
The premium costs for your insurance plan will vary depending on the size of your business and where you operate. Size, however, is only one of the factors that will influence your premiums.
Risk is a more important factor. Most premiums are influenced by the likelihood that you’ll need the insurance coverage. The less risk you take on in your business practices, the more likely it is that you’ll have a lower premium.
An experienced insurance agent will assess your business accurately and fairly to come up with a rate for you.
Is This the Same as Senior Living Facility Insurance?
Senior placement agent liability insurance might seem similar to senior living facility insurance. But these are two different facets of the industry, and their insurance is not the same.
Both types of business should have general and professional liability coverage. They also need auto liability and employer-related coverage. Coverage like workers’ comp or employment practice is common.
However, senior homes will need additional coverage for scenarios specific to the industry. An example would be abuse liability coverage. That will protect the business if an employee abuses residents or other employees. This kind of insurance could help hold the individual responsible without putting the entire senior home at risk.
While some placement agencies might choose abuse liability coverage, it’s not the same. Their contact with seniors is much lower than in a retirement home. In that instance, the coverage amount could be smaller.
Additionally, placement agents are not responsible for any medical care or procedures. Many nursing homes and retirement communities offer health care. Medical care comes with its own set of insurance requirements and recommendations.
Find the Right Senior Placement Coverage
Senior placement is an important link between families, seniors, and assisted living facilities. Trusting a stranger with your loved one’s future can be tough, but it’s often the best option. If you’re doing this critical work, you should protect yourself with the best insurance plan available.
EPG Insurance is an experienced agency leading the field in senior placement agent liability insurance. Contact us today to get a quote for your business. We can help you do your work confidently, keeping you and your clients safe.