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.

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?

In the event of a claim, your employer’s policy will respond to defend your employer’s interests first as the named policyholder, and your interest as second priority depending upon sufficient funds.

In addition, most employer’s policies do not provide coverage for the defence costs associated with complaints made against you and filed with your Regulatory Board/Agency. Without Professional Liability coverage, you would be personally responsible for these costly expenses.

And lastly, 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. You need your own Professional Liability insurance to protect yourself and your reputation.

When can I stop carrying Professional Liability Insurance?

Your CAOT Professional Liability insurance 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 planning to retire (and will no longer be practising), it is recommended that you protect yourself against future claims by purchasing Extended Reporting Period coverage. This can be done by contacting BMS Group, who can extend your policy for the desired length of time in order to provide coverage for future claims arising from prior incidents and exposures that occurred during your past occupational therapy 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 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, you can purchase Extended Reporting Period coverage to protect yourself against future claims. This can be done by contacting BMS Group, who can extend your policy for the desired length of time in order to provide coverage for future claims arising from prior incidents and exposures that occurred during your past occupational therapy 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.

I no longer reside in Canada. Is there a need for me to continue to carry professional liability insurance?

Claims or complaints can still be filed against you even if you are not residing in Canada. If you want to insure the risk of a claim being filed during your absence, you must keep your insurance current.

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) insurance for independent practitioners 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 own or operate clinics.

This coverage is also recommended for independent practitioners who contract out their services or bill under their business name. As an example, if you are an independent contractor and accidentally cause damage to the property in which you are working, the property owner may look to hold you responsible for compensating them for the costs of repairs. Your CGL policy would respond under these circumstances.

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

In the event of a claim, both the treating professional (any regulated health professional) and the clinic are likely to be named in a statement of claim or lawsuit. The Multidiscipline Clinic Professional Liability Insurance protects the clinic and its assets in such circumstances. You should purchase this coverage if you have health professionals other than occupational therapists working for or on behalf of your clinic and billing under your clinic name.

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

If you operate a clinic or bill under a separate entity name, professional liability coverage can be extended to include your legal entity. Clinic Professional Liability Insurance protects your clinic or legal entity when this has been named in an action.

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 Multi-Discipline Clinic PLI protect your business assets in the event that your business name is included in a statement of claim or lawsuit.

In the event of an incident, the client will most likely name not only the treating therapist, but also your business as the larger provider of services. Business owners should consider purchasing this coverage if other professionals are billing under the business name

The CAOT insurance program offers two different coverage options:

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 health professionals billing under your business name, your CAOT individual PLI policy will automatically extend to cover your business name.

Multi-Discipline Clinic PLI is appropriate if other health professionals beyond occupational therapists are providing services on behalf of the clinic. 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 Multi-Discipline Clinic PLI should be purchased by one individual on behalf of all business owners, employees, and / or the business entity.