Professional Liability Insurance for Counselors, Therapists, Psychotherapists, Social Workers & Psychologists
Malpractice Insurance for Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists,Independent Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Counselors
Please NOTE: The following information is not advertising. This information is offered as a public service to the counseling community.
Professional organizations often negotiate with insurance providers for special rates for their members. The four professional counseling organizations that I am most familiar with are the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the National Association of Alcohol Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), and the American Psychological Association (APA). All offer excellent professional liability insurance to their members at fairly inexpensive rates and the Healthcare Providers Service Organization insures persons without regard to membership. American Psychological Association (APA)
Individuals, groups and students are eligible for professional liability insurance coverage through the ACA Insurance Trust. Professional categories include Professional Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker, Counselor Educator, School Counselor (K-12), Substance Abuse Counselor, Bodywork Practitioner and other human development professionals. Business Owners Package (BOP) and Directors & Officers Liability Insurance are also available. For more information, visit the website, or call 1-800-347-6647. Extension 284. Licensed insurance professionals are available to offer consultation and to answer questions.
The ACA Insurance Trust, Inc. (ACAIT) has partnered with Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) to offer a professional liability insurance that provides broad coverage, whether you work with families, individuals, or in difficult areas, such as counseling sex offenders. Check whether your profession is covered and go through the simple Quick Quote process to find your annual rate, then you can either apply online or by fax or mail. [I did a simple inquiry on 9/21/10 about a mental health counselor in Washington State, working 24 hours a week or less, not a recent graduate, and got a quote of $159.25 a year premium for $1 million per occurrence/ $3 million annual aggregate professional liability coverage.
AMHCA business partner CPH and Associates has revamped its website so that eligible applications can apply for new coverage or renew their current policy online. Online applications are processed immediately and customers receive their proof of coverage in less than five minutes. In addition, customers can now access their proof of coverage from the "Customer Document Lookup" to print a copy or make changes.
CPH & Associates offers competitive rates and superior customer service to Marriage & Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, School Counselors, LPC, LCPC, Licensed Educational Psychologists, School Psychologists, Psych Assistants/Associates, Case Managers, Rehabilitation Professionals, Nationally Certified Counselors, Interns/Post-Masters under supervision, and Students/Trainees in accredited programs.
In an email November 2005, CounselingSeattle.com was advised that CPH has a discounted category for those completing their required hours under supervision toward licensure. It is entitled "Post-Masters/Intern under supervision." Supervisors for those on the licensure track will be covered for supervision automatically as long as they pay the professional premium and they are qualified to supervise by the state or a professional association.
NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, is the largest professional membership organization that serves counselors who specialize in addiction treatment. They are located at: 901 N. Washington St. Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: (800) 548-0497 , FAX: (800) 377-1136.
Individual Professional Liability Insurance for Chemical Dependency / Addiction Professionals who are members of NAADAC is available through The Van Wagner Group, 21 Maple Ave, PO Box 5710, Bayshore, NY 11706-0503, Phone: (888) 383-3512, Fax: (888) 525-9072.
In email communication November 2005, CounselingSeattle.com was advised that the regular policy covers licensed or certified persons doing supervision; however, we recommend that you verify that for yourself as policies are subject to change over time.
IMPORTANT: The liability insurance program does not cover physicians, licensed or certified clinical psychologists, pastoral counselors, registered nurses in the practice of their profession or hypnotherapists. It is intended for addiction counselors who are members of NAADAC. If you are not a member of NAADAC, call (800) 548-0497 for a membership application. [ NAADAC members online insurance application form ]
The American Psychological Association (APA) Insurance Trust offers a number of different financial security products: professional liability insurance, student liability insurance, researcher/academician liability insurance, disability income insurance, and office overhead insurance while recovering from a disability.
NASW offers processional liability insurance to members and agencies through American Professional Agency Inc. They also offer Group Health and Life Insurance. [Thanks to Jeff Hewitt]
Your own individual professional liability insurance coverage protects you beyond the limits of your employer provided plan. With HPSO you can protect your individual interests. Provides a defense attorney, settlement of a claim, deposition representation, defendant expense benefit, license protection, medical expenses and property damage resulting if you are assaulted in the workplace or while commuting to and from work, medical expenses and property damage for persons accidentally injured or property damaged at your residence or workplace, personal injury coverage on and off the job, even if you change jobs--all at affordable group rates. The underwriter for the Professional Liability Insurance Program is American Casualty Co. of Reading, PA, a CNA company. CNA is one of the 10 largest insurance groups in the United States with over $60 billion in assets. [They also offer a line of health insurance.] Call 1-800-982-9491 or visit their website.
In an email inquiry in November 2005, I asked whether their policy would cover a counselor doing supervision of other counselors working toward licensure. They assured me that it would, saying, "The intent of coverage is to pay amounts, up to the Professional Liability limit of liability stated on the certificate of insurance, that you become legally obligated to pay as a result of a professional liability claim arising out of a medical incident by you or by someone for whose professional services you are legally responsible." [However, as always, I recommend that you verify this information for yourself. Floyd Else, Webmaster.]
[Extracted from a HPSO advertisement in Counseling Today, March 2008, an American Counseling Association Publication]
Myth #1: An individual malpractice insurance policy is an unnecessary expense if your employer already provides coverage for you.
Fact #1: Your employer's malpractice plan is geared to focus on its own interest during a lawsuit--not yours. The main benefit of having your own policy is that it protects you and you alone. You'll have peace of mind knowing that your interests will be the top priority. Having you own coverage is worth it because you never know when you'll need it.
Myth #2: You are more likely to be sued if you carry an individual malpractice insurance policy in addition to employer-provided coverage.
Fact #2: The truth is, no one can know whether you've purchased an individual policy. If you are named in a lawsuit, you insurance status will not be uncovered until the "discovery phase" of the trial. At that point, you've already been named in the suit and you need to defend yourself.
Myth #3: Plaintiffs' attorneys will keep you on the defendant list in a lawsuit if they find out that you have your own insurance in addition to employer-provided insurance.
Fact #3: If the plaintiff's attorneys believe that you were even remotely involved in an incident or could help strengthen their case, you'll stay in court--whether or not you have your own insurance.
Myth #4: If you are careful with your clients, you are unlikely to be sued--and therefore don't need your own insurance.
Fact #4: You are ALWAYS under the risk of being sued. If a client even perceives there was harm done as a result of you providing (or failing to provide) services, that client could sue. If there are gaps in your employer's plan--and it's not uncommon--you may benefit from carrying your own insurance.