The case for continuous liability coverage
Things don’t always go as planned. Reduce your risk.
In the busy work environments of nurses, pressures you face every day such as overwhelming workloads, intense time constraints, and inadequate staffing can put you in a situation that may result in an investigation by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and/or have a patient or family member file a negligent acts lawsuit against you.
There are many benefits for being a member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO). Keeping you protected is one of them. We frequently hear from our members that you value your Professional Liability insurance – but not all members are aware that RPNAO’s Liability insurance includes Legal Expense coverage, and how it truly benefits Registered Practical Nurses.
Understanding your Professional Liability Legal Expense coverage, and what you can you do to protect yourself.
Legal Expense coverage provides a nurse accused of malpractice or negligence with financial assistance to pay the legal expenses accrued in the course of a legal defense. Without this coverage, a nurse may have to pay these expenses her/himself. It’s important to know that the Legal Expense coverage applies only to situations during the policy period for nursing acts committed or alleged to have been committed after the date you purchased your membership. For example, if you purchased your RPNAO membership on January 1st, your coverage would take effect on January 2nd.
RPNAO’s Legal Expense benefit covers when a member:
- has been subpoenaed to appear before a legally constituted tribunal in Ontario; or
- has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness in matters arising out of the Regulated Health Professional Act (1991) and any amending or superseding legislation; or
- has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness in an incident relating to his/her profession of nursing; or
- has received a letter of complaint from the CNO as a result of a complaint, laid under Regulated Health Professions Act (1991) and any amending or superseding legislation.
You must be a member in good standing on the date that the claim is made against you and have continuous membership following the date of the incident in order to utilize RPNAO’s Legal Expense coverage.
“I was faced with a complaint submitted by a previous employer to the CNO. I cannot adequately describe the anxiety and fear I faced. I expected the worst and thought I might have my license revoked. It was a stressful roller coaster ride and my world felt turned upside down. I am so thankful I had the PLP coverage. I could never have navigated the complaint on my own, and didn't have the resources to cover legal costs. RPNAO was there for me throughout the total complaint process. They provided me with the support of a lawyer, and thanks to RPNAO and the PLP coverage, my case was resolved and all legal fees were covered." ~RPNAO member
It is important you have continuous coverage. Gaps in coverage put you at risk and effect whether you are eligible to make a Legal Expense claim. It is also important to understand real situations for when claims can be denied.
Parental leaves are often a cause for confusion…
“I was a member of the RPNAO for years but cancelled my membership during my maternity leave. I then reinstated my membership once I returned to work. I have now received a letter of complaint from the College of Nurses for an incident that occurred prior to my maternity leave when I was a member. Do I have coverage?”
Unfortunately, coverage would be denied for legal representation for the complaint as the RPNAO membership was not kept in force, and the new effective date of coverage would be when the membership was reinstated. Even though a RPN was a member when the complaint was received, the effective date of coverage is the reinstatement date which begins after the incident occurred.
Oops! I forgot to renew my membership…
“I have been a member of the RPNAO since 2015 but I forgot to renew my membership this year. Three months passed before I remembered to renew my membership. Now, two months after renewing my membership, I have received a subpoena to appear as a witness for an incident that occurred during my previous membership term. Do I have coverage?”
Coverage would be denied under this extension for legal representation as the member had a three-month gap in membership which resulted in a new effective date of coverage when the membership was reinstated. Even though the RPN was a member when the complaint was received, the effective date of coverage is the reinstatement date which occurs after the incident.
Uh-oh, the College of Nurses of Ontario just sent me a letter…
“I received a letter of complaint from the College of Nurses. Can I get legal representation if I apply for membership now though the RPNAO?”
In this scenario, coverage would be denied for legal representation as the coverage excludes any prior knowledge of a claim or incident that could give rise to a claim.
What makes us different? Comprehensive protection!
Any of these claims scenarios could prove to be financially devastating. Your membership includes insurance coverage for Regulatory Disciplinary Coverage for Legal Representation defense costs for complaints filed with the CNO, as well as protection against suits that might arise due to your alleged negligent acts. Protect your personal assets and provide yourself piece of mind by ensuring you have PLP as part of your RPNAO membership.
RPNAO PLP insurance covers you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter how many jobs you hold or how you spend your volunteer time. Our coverage goes above and beyond what is required by the CNO by-law, including access to your own legal counsel – something not typically covered through employer insurance. And the insurance will continue to cover you between nursing jobs, when you change jobs or if you experience a period of joblessness.
The best way to protect yourself is to reaffirm your RPNAO membership to ensure you have continuous liability coverage.Category: Membership NewsDate: Tuesday, February 5, 2019