Everything You Need to Know About Your Coverage

What You Need to Know About Your Coverage

What is professional liability insurance? 

What the insurance industry refers to as professional liability insurance, you are probably more familiar with as malpractice insurance.  Professional liability helps protect you from claims that allege an error committed in the performance of your professional services resulted in some form of damages/harm.  While malpractice claims typically involve a physical injury, they can include violating a patient’s rights, verbal abuse or unprofessional conduct. Your NSO policy covers you around the clock every day of the week and travels with you from one job to the next.1 

Most licensed healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists and counselors carry professional liability to protect their careers, reputations and finances from potential malpractice allegations.   

What are the dollar limits of my coverage? 

NSO professional liability insurance offers several levels of coverage. Many of our insureds select $1 million of coverage for lawsuits alleging malpractice.  The $6 million ‘aggregate’ limit you see on your certificate of insurance means it will pay up to $1 million per claim, not to exceed $6 million in claims per year. Please check your certificate of insurance for your policy limits. If you’d like to raise or lower your limits, please call us at 1-800-247-1500, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. 

How much do nurse’s malpractice claims cost? 

According to the most recent NSO and CNA liability claim report, the average nurse’s malpractice claim cost $164,586.  The average attorney fees to defend a nurse’s malpractice claim cost $37,084.2  When you look back at previous NSO/CNA reports, you will find nurses’ malpractice costs on the increase. 

The most frequent (42.8%) malpractice claim against nurses is attributable to patient death.  However, claims resulting in the need for long-term medical care, such as neurological damage ($553,542) and spinal injuries ($375,000) result in more costly settlements.2 

Even in a frivolous lawsuit, you still need an attorney to defend your interests.   In one such case, though the nurse was proven not guilty, it took 12 years to resolve and cost $500,000 in legal fees.3  With medical malpractice lawsuits taking anywhere from months to years to resolve—the cost for legal expenses can at times outweigh the cost for the malpractice payment. 

What other types of claims does my professional liability cover? 

Your professional liability insurance includes a dozen coverage extensions that pay for expenses such as the cost to hire an attorney for a deposition, defendant expenses like lodging and travel, and fines associated with HIPAA privacy violations.   

The most commonly used coverage extension is License Protection. 

Though nurses typically buy professional liability for the malpractice coverage, there are thirty-six times more licensing complaints filed against nurses with state boards of nursing than there are malpractice claims every year.4   

Your policy includes up to $25,000 of license protection coverage that allows you to hire an attorney to help you craft a written response to your state board and accompany you to any hearings.  Having an attorney at your side can be the difference between losing and keeping your professional license.   

Professional liability coverage extensions include: 
  • $25,000 Sexual Misconduct/Abuse 3 
  • $25,000 Information Privacy (HIPAA) Fines and Penalties 
  • $25,000 Defendant Expense Benefits 
  • $25,000 Workplace Violence 
  • $10,000 Deposition Representation 
  • For a full list of coverage extensions, click here 

How do you get in touch with us? 

Our website, nso.com, is full of helpful information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, give us a call at 1-800-247-1500, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. This is the same number you would use to report a claim.  If you believe you may have been involved in an incident, call us.  We’ll let you know what to do, plus you’ll feel a lot better. 

A good idea is to store our number in your phone.  That way, if you have a question or a concern, whether it be about your coverage, billing, or a potential claim, we are at your fingertips. 

1Coverage is available for incidents that occur on the job and after hours as well. Your insurance remains in force even if you change jobs or during a period of unemployment. Helps insure you anywhere in the world provided a claim is brought against you in the United States, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, or Canada. 
2Nurse Professional Liability Exposures: 2015 Claim Report Update, NSO, CNA, October 2015. 
3Nurses and Medical Malpractice: Case Study with Risk Management Strategies, NSO, CNA, January 2013. 
4National Practitioner Data Bank, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, September 2019. 

All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.  


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Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions. We have answers. (It's why we're here.)

What kinds of activities might trigger a disciplinary action by a licensing board or regulatory agency? 

The fact is anyone can file a complaint against you with the state board for any reason—even your own employer—and it doesn’t have to be solely connected to your professional duties. All complaints need to be taken seriously, no matter how trivial or unfounded they may appear. 

How does a shared limit policy work?

A shared limit policy is issued in the name of your professional business or company. The policy provides professional liability insurance coverage for the business entity named on the certificate of insurance and any of the employees of the business entity, provided they are a ratable profession within our program. Coverage is also provided for locum tenens professionals with whom the business entity has contracted for services the locum tenens performs for the business entity.

The business, and all eligible employees and sub-contractors you regularly employ, will be considered when determining your practice’s premium calculation and share the same coverage limits you select for the business.

We have a shared limit policy. Are employees covered if they practice outside our office?

The policy covers your employees outside the office as long as they are performing covered professional services on behalf of your business.

If your employees are moonlighting, either for pay or as a volunteer, they should carry an individual professional liability insurance policy to cover those services. Otherwise, they might not be covered for claims that arise out of these activities.

There are plenty more where those came from.

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