Canadian Association
        of Occupational Therapists

FAQs

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional Liability insurance (PLI) protects you against liability or allegations of liability for injury or damages that have resulted from a negligent act, error, omission, or malpractice that has arisen out of your professional capacity as an occupational therapist or occupational therapist assistant. PLI protects you by ensuring that your legal defence is coordinated and paid for if a claim is made against you. Your PLI also covers the cost of client compensation, or damages.

Do all Professional Liability Insurance options include full prior acts coverage

All options include full prior acts coverage providing insurance for any incident leading to a claim that you have not yet been made aware. This coverage is applicable to your practice as an Occupational Therapist since the beginning of your career.

If my Employer already carries Professional Liability insurance, is there a need for me to carry my own insurance?

Employer Professional Liability insurance policies do not provide coverage for a variety of exposures covered under this program. One example is legal protection and costs associated with complaints made against you and filed with your provincial regulatory College. Without individual professional liability coverage, you would be personally responsible for these costly expenses.

Should you provide advice/or treatment outside the scope of your employment (for instance, volunteer work in the community or work with a secondary employment site), your employer’s policy will not extend to cover you.

The CAOT program offers comprehensive coverage that protects your full scope of practice, wherever you practice across Canada and not restricted to a certain place of employment.

I am planning to retire. Can I stop carrying Professional Liability Insurance?

As of the 2017-2018 policy period retiring CAOT members are provided with 7 years of Extended Reporting Period (ERP) coverage at no additional charge. Extending the reporting period of your policy means that you are securing insurance to respond to potential future professional liability claims arising from prior incidents and exposure that occurred during your past practice.

I am planning to take maternity / parental leave. Do I need to carry professional liability insurance?

Occupational therapists who are planning to take maternity or parental leave and who will be working fewer than 6 consecutive months throughout the membership year may qualify for a 50% discount on the Professional Liability insurance policy. This allows you to maintain continuity of coverage without risking loss for claims that may arise while you are on leave but that are based on incidents that occurred while you were practicing.

Please advise CAOT upon renewal to secure your coverage.

Do I need insurance if I am leaving the country and will be practicing while away?

Your CAOT policy covers you wherever you practice in Canada, but also extends to protect you for claims that arise when traveling outside of Canada to attend academic courses, to participate in professional exchange programs, or to accompany Canadian clients outside of the country.

This coverage is provided via an “Out of Country Endorsement” on the CAOT policy. With this endorsement, your policy will respond should an insured incident or claim arise for work performed outside of Canada when the action or lawsuit is brought forward in Canada or the United States (US).

If you are working or volunteering outside of Canada and will be treating international clients, or if your practice circumstances fall outside of those covered by the “Out of Country Endorsement”, protection may still be available outside of the CAOT insurance program. Please contact BMS Group to discuss your liability risks and to secure appropriate coverage.

I am on leave of absence from the profession. Do I need to carry professional liability insurance?

The CAOT professional liability policy is issued on a "claims-made and reported" basis, meaning that the policy in place at the time that the claim is reported is the policy that will respond.

If you are taking a prolonged or permanent leave of absence from the profession, Extended Reporting Period coverage is available to protect you against future professional liability claims arising from prior incidents and exposure that occurred during your past practice.

As of the 2017-2018 policy period CAOT members are automatically provided with 7 years of Extended Reporting Period (ERP) coverage at no additional charge. Extending the reporting period of your policy means that you are securing insurance to respond to potential future professional liability claims arising from prior incidents and exposure that occurred during your past practice.

Extended Reporting Period coverage is not appropriate for temporary absences from professional practice. You must maintain an active policy for continuity of coverage. Most regulatory colleges will require registered members to demonstrate that they are covered with a certain amount of professional liability insurance even after they have ceased client care. Extended Reporting Period coverage is suitable to demonstrate to the College that appropriate on-going coverage is in place for registrants on a prolonged or permanent leave of absence from the profession.

Note that your regulatory body requires you to have an active liability insurance policy in place to provide client care. This means that you must have an active insurance policy in place if you chose to return to professional practice.

What is the Clinic Package insurance and do I need this?

The Clinic Package includes Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL), Contents, Crime and Business Interruption. Alternatively, members are able to purchase stand-alone CGL insurance.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance protects you against claims arising from injury or property damage that you (or your business, including your staff) may cause to another person as a result of your operations and/or premises. For example, a client may fall and injure themselves on a wet floor in your office and look to hold you or your business responsible (they have experienced a bodily injury as a result of your premises). That’s why CGL is so commonly referred to as “slip and fall” insurance.

In addition to the CGL protection outlined above, this package also protects your business and the contents within from losses associated with property damage (such as fire) and crime. Contents Coverage protects against damage to property, including professional equipment, and loss of revenues caused by an interruption of business activities arising from an insured loss. Crime Coverage insurance protects against financial loss due to dishonesty, fraud, or theft of money, securities or other property owned by the business/office.

What is Commercial General Liability (CGL) and do I need this?

Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance protects you against claims arising from injury or property damage that you (or your business, including your staff) may cause to another person as a result of your operations and/or premises. For example, a client may fall and injure themselves on a wet floor in your office and look to hold you or your business responsible (they have experienced a bodily injury as a result of your premises). That’s why CGL is so commonly referred to as “slip and fall” insurance.

CGL coverage is recommended for occupational therapists who are independent contractors/sole proprietors who do not have valuable contents to insure.

What is the Multidiscipline Clinic Professional Liability Insurance and do I need this?

This policy responds if your business name is brought into a statement of claim or lawsuit alleging negligence or malpractice. Following an incident, a client’s legal counsel will commonly name all individuals involved in the client’s care, including the business or clinic as the larger provider of services. A Multidiscipline Clinic PLI policy protects your business assets in these circumstances.

Business owners should consider purchasing this coverage if other health professionals beyond occupational therapists are working for or on behalf of your business and/or billing under your business name. Please note that this coverage should be purchased by one individual on behalf of all business owners, employees, and / or the business entity and you must provide confirmation that each professional employed or contracted by the clinic carries their own Individual Professional Liability Insurance.

What is the difference between Clinic Professional Liability Insurance and Clinic Business Package Insurance??

A Clinic Professional Liability Insurance (Clinic PLI) policy responds if your business name is brought into a statement of claim or lawsuit alleging negligence or malpractice. Following an incident, a client’s legal counsel will commonly name all individuals involved in the client’s care, including the business or clinic as the larger provider of services. A Clinic PLI policy protects your business assets in these circumstances. Coverage limits are shared between yourself and your business name and are subject to an additional premium.

Clinic Business Package Insurance protects your building and office contents against insured perils, such as fire, theft and vandalism. It also provides crime coverage for incidents of employee dishonesty, theft of money and securities and depositor’s forgery.

The Commercial General Liability portion of this Package Coverage is in place to protect you against claims arising from injury or property damage that you (or your business) may cause to another person as a result of your business operations and/or premises – whether you own or lease your premises. For example, your employee may accidentally cause property damage to a client’s home during a consultation or a patient may slip or fall in your clinic.

Commercial General Liability also covers you for libel and slander, defamation claims and false advertisement.

What is the difference between Clinic Professional Liability Insurance and Multidiscipline Clinic Professional Liability Insurance?

Clinic Professional Liability insurance (PLI) and Multidiscipline Clinic PLI policies respond if your business name is brought into a statement of claim or lawsuit alleging negligence or malpractice. Following an incident, a client’s legal counsel will commonly name all individuals involved in the client’s care, including the business or clinic as the larger provider of services. Clinic and Multidiscipline Clinic PLI policies protect your business assets in these circumstances.

Clinic PLI is intended for clinics providing only occupational therapy services. Coverage limits are shared between yourself and your business name and are subject to an additional premium. This coverage can be purchased through the CAOT. If you work independently or are a sole proprietor with no other occupational therapists working for or on behalf of your business and/or billing under your business name, your CAOT individual PLI policy will automatically extend to cover your business name.

Multidiscipline Clinic PLI is appropriate if other health professionals beyond occupational therapists are working for or on behalf of your business and/or billing under your business name. Separate coverage limits are afforded to the clinic itself, while each professional employed or contracted by the clinic is required to provide confirmation that they carry their own Individual Professional Liability Insurance.

Please note that Clinic PLI and Multidiscipline Clinic PLI should be purchased by one individual on behalf of all business owners and/or the business entity.