It is ironic that the definition of indemnity (as per both the Oxford and Collins dictionaries) is “security or insurance against loss, damage or liability”. The discretionary benefit of the MDO’s is evidently far from being secure and is definitely not insurance so surely these organisations should use a different word when describing their own product?
Indeed it was the MDU who in 2010 issued a statement slamming discretionary indemnity, yet are now providing this themselves. Dentists could be forgiven for being totally confused yet many are still unaware of the potential issues with discretionary cover.
The insurance market has evolved over the last few years with more brokers and insurers getting
into the market. This provides clients with numerous options and competitive pricing. Most of these
insurers operate within Lloyds of London but more recently Hiscox Insurance has established a policy for dental professionals. The involvement of Hiscox in the dental industry is fantastic news for
dentists. Hiscox has an excellent reputation for their claims service (and more importantly paying
claims) and policy coverage and will already be well-known to many dentists. Hiscox only work with
two brokers for dental indemnity, one based up in Scotland for dentists that are free from claims
and GDC involvement and the other, All Med Pro, on a UK-wide basis that can accommodate
dentists that are free from historical issues as well as dentists that have had claims or GDC
Insurance policies provide dentists with a contract of insurance which means that there is a legally
binding contract between the dentist and the insurer that guarantees indemnity will be provided at
the point of claim. There are other differences between what MDO’s offer and what insurance
companies offer in terms of the scope of cover and insurers may also provide differing covers to one another.
You should ensure that if you purchase indemnity through an insurer that you have run-off cover
(retrospective cover for retirement & death) built into the policy from the outset and check their
claims handling process and other client supporting benefits as these will be crucial at the point of a
claim. Discuss this with the broker before committing to the policy.
It is easy to say with the benefit of hindsight that the historical MDO model is unsustainable but the
question really is how will they address this and what is the right way to indemnify yourself going
forward – with so many alternatives now available?
Posted by Gemma