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Risk Insights: Incidental Medical Malpractice Insurance

This type of medical malpractice insurance is intended for those who have a medical exposure for operations that are incidental, but not the major function of their business. Incidental medical malpractice insurance was not designed to protect clinics, hospitals or health care service providers simply because their medical exposure is directly related to their job.

Examples of incidental medical exposures that would be covered by this insurance are nurses or first-aid providers at schools and infirmaries, athletic trainers and counselors. With some policies, the coverage can extend to EMTs, paramedics, ambulance attendants/drivers and firefighters. Specific policies vary greatly depending on provider and state.

History of Incidental Medical Malpractice

Originally, incidental medical malpractice coverage had to be inferred by exception to medical professional liability exclusionary endorsements. This was largely eliminated when incidental medical malpractice insurance was first introduced to standard general liability policies in 1976.

Its purpose is to protect those offering medical services by an entity not engaged primarily in the offering of such services. Coverage can now also be provided in a commercial general liability policy to cover employees such as those implementing first aid to an injured worker.

Current Coverage Standards

Coverage can vary by state and especially by the individual plan you carry. Overall, the latest incidental malpractice liability coverage comes with the standard ISO commercial general liability policy provisions instead of as separate policy coverage.

The coverage is included within the “Who Is An Insured” section of the policy, which is different from the previous exclusion because it only applies to an employee providing or failing to provide professional services. In other words, this means that by exception, the coverage applies to the vicarious liability of the employer unless a professional liability endorsement is attached. This endorsement would have to preclude the vicarious liability of an employed professional. 

Incidental medical malpractice insurance is intended for those who have medical exposures that are not major functions of their business, such as first aid providers, athletic trainers or counselors.

Who is Covered?

Coverage applies to injury arising out of the rendering or of failure to render, during the policy period, the following services:

  • Medical, surgical, dental, X-ray or nursing service/ treatment or the furnishing of food or beverages in connection with these services
  • The furnishing or dispensing of drugs or medical, dental or surgical supplies or appliances.

The coverage does not apply to the following:

  • Expenses incurred by the insured for first aid to others at the time of the accident.
  • The “Supplementary Payments” provision and the “Insured’s Duties in the Event of Occurrence, Claim or Suit” condition. Both are amended accordingly.
  • Any insured engaged in the business or occupation of providing professional medical services.
  • Injury caused by any indemnitee if such indemnitee is engaged in the business or occupation of providing professional medical services.

Talk to Sanford & Tatum, An Alera Group Company about incidental medical malpractice coverage today to protect your company, your employees and those you care for. 

This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2009-2011 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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