Professional Liability

What does The Trust Professional Liability insurance policy cover?

The Trust Professional Liability insurance policy covers psychologists in the legitimate practice of psychology for bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, and limited property damage. The policy also includes supplemental protection for employment practices liability, defense reimbursement for licensing board complaints, and no-fault medical.

What other insurance protection is included in The Trust Professional Liability policy?

The policy includes numerous important protections, including the following:

  • Licensing Board Defense (LBD): The policy will reimburse you for the cost of your defense if you are the subject of an investigation by a state licensing board or other governmental regulatory body. While some policies require that a client file a complaint against you before they take effect, The Trust policy reimburses for defense of any investigation by a state licensing board or other governmental regulatory body. The policy provides you with $5,000 protection automatically, and you can increase your licensing board/other regulatory body protection to $25,000/$7,500 for $35, $50,000/$10,000 for $45, $75,000/$12,500 for just $60, and $100,000/$15,000 for just $75. *Note that as of April 1, 2017, separate purchase of these coverages is no longer required by the state of Maryland, and they may once again be included in The Trust Professional Liability insurance policy.
  • Employment Protection Liability Insurance (EPLI): The policy will reimburse you up to $5,000 for the cost of your defense if an employee sues you for any employment related issue (such as wrongful termination, not hiring or promoting, harassment, discrimination, libel, slander or any practice which violates a state or federal employment discrimination statute).
  • No Fault Medical Payment: The policy will pay up to $2,500 for each person who is injured in an accident while receiving your services, regardless of fault, up to an annual maximum of $75,000. This coverage is commonly referred to as goodwill coverage. This will pay for minor medical claims from clients. By paying for a minor accident without regard to fault and encouraging people to seek immediate medical help, we all hope to avoid a costlier claim. This does not diminish your coverage for slip-and-fall. If an injured party is unwilling to take this payment or demands more money, you would still have the full limits of the policy.

How do you define psychology for insurance purposes?

The policy covers the named insured for the "practice of psychology." The policy does not contain a definition of the "practice of psychology." Insurance policies can only limit the meaning of words or phrases defined within the policy. Terms not defined in an insurance policy are defined by their standard usage. Each state has a licensing law that defines the practice of psychology for that jurisdiction. If your state's 'scope of practice' laws allow you to perform a service as a psychologist or they do not restrict a particular area of practice, you are covered. Most states license psychologists and define clinical practice. Sub-groups, such as the 56 divisions of APA, define some specializations in psychology. Some forms of psychology do not require licensure. These include Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Consumer Psychology, and Consulting Psychology.

Are there specific modes or forms of psychology that The Trust Professional Liability policy does not cover?

No. The Trust Professional Liability policy covers Consultants (including those providing coaching services), Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, Media Psychologists, Forensic Practice (including custody evaluators), Parent Coordinating, Mediation, Hypnosis Therapy, Psychoanalysts, and even those researching new forms of treatment. The policy covers psychologists serving on ethics, peer review, licensing, and academic boards. The Trust does not limit psychologists from providing legitimate forms of psychological practice.

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist has attained a doctoral degree in the field of psychology or is licensed as a psychologist. The three most common degrees are a philosophy doctorate (Ph.D.), a psychology doctorate (Psy.D.), and an education doctorate (Ed.D.). Clinical psychologists must also obtain a license from the state in which they practice. There are a few states that license psychologists at the master's level.

Do you have to be licensed in order to apply for coverage?

Not necessarily. Some forms of psychology practice do not require licensure (for example, Industrial and Organizational, Consumer, Coaching, and other Consultative practices). The Professional Liability policy also covers postdoctoral candidates working under supervision toward licensure. All states require a license to provide certain clinical services, and the policy requires that you comply with all applicable laws and guidelines. However, many postdoctoral candidates must practice under supervision for one to two years before being eligible for licensure. The Trust offers unlicensed post-docs working toward licensure a 35% discount on their first year of coverage.

Who may apply for coverage?

Psychologists, including post-docs and doctoral students working to become psychologists, may apply for coverage. Additionally, owners and employees may be added to your policy to form a group policy. Group members can be psychologists or other Allied Health Professionals, such as Marriage and Family Therapists, Counselors and Social Workers.

Where am I covered?

The policy puts no limits on where you can practice (though state or local statutes may). You are covered for services you provide anywhere in the world. However, the policy will only defend you if you are sued in the United States, its territories or possessions, or Canada.

Is there any limit on where policies can be issued?

The Trust can only issue a policy to you if you have a valid address in one of the 50 states within the US, the District of Columbia , the US Virgin Islands, or an APO/FPO (AA, AE, and AP).

Do you have to be an APA member to apply for or renew your insurance?

No. Association membership is not required to apply for or renew your policy.

Why are there two limits of coverage on my policy?

The policy has a per-incident limit and an aggregate limit. The per-incident limit is the maximum the policy will pay for one claim. The aggregate limit is the maximum the policy will pay if there are multiple suits that apply to the same policy period. Each claim is still subject to the per-incident limit.

Do I pay for my defense?

No. If you have a covered claim within the United States or Canada, the carrier defends you. There are no limits placed on how the carrier defends you. The defense cost does not diminish the limits available for damages. You are still covered up to your policy limits for settlements or damages.

What is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is a person or entity who provides services for the policyholder, but does not directly work for the policyholder. The insured should refer to the Internal Revenue Service, which uses 20 criteria to make such a distinction.

Why do I have to pay to list independent contractors on my policy?

Experience shows that practitioners who use independent contractors are more likely to be involved in claims. The carrier requires that you notify them when you have independent contractors working for your practice.

Why must my independent contractors carry their own coverage?

When an independent contractor does not carry their own coverage, plaintiffs often look for "deep pockets" - any source that can pay for damages. The determination often has more to do with the ability to pay, rather than the guilt of the party. When an independent contractor does not have coverage, it is far more likely that the principal will be sued for the independent contractor's actions. The Trust helps by allowing insureds to purchase coverage under their policy for uninsured independent contractors. If there is a claim, the damages are assigned to the correct party, and not you, the principal.

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For more detailed answers, or if your question was not answered here, please call us at 1-877-637-9700.