Dealing with a wide variety of clients and helping them to overcome all sorts of challenges is part of what makes a counselling job attractive and rewarding. But setting up as a practitioner or running a business involving several professionals also involves taking on a degree of legal risk. Although disputes are typically quite rare, clients can seek redress through the courts if they feel the advice they have been given has been erroneous. Counselling professional insurance can help to pay your legal costs in the event of such an eventuality.
This kind of cover, provided it includes professional indemnity insurance, will cover the cost of hiring professional legal help in the event you are sued. This could happen because somebody feels the treatment they have received has been inadequate or worse still has contained mistakes which may have harmed them.
Although some claims will be invalid and without founding, if they are lodged formally they will still have to be defended. This will often mean hiring a solicitor and defending a case in court. This can be an expensive proposition and it could be worth having something like counselling professional insurance as a backup in the event you need it.
Involving a straightforward premium as with other kinds of cover, professional insurance with an indemnity element agrees to pay your legal expenses up to a certain amount in the event that you face legal action due to an error, mistake, omission, or act of negligence in your general day to day work.
Protection is usually available not just in the initial court hearing stages but right the way through to an appearance at the high court in the unlikely event this is necessary. And although limits will apply, you can often set the level of cover and the absolute maximum at which an insurance company would stop covering your expenses and compensation costs.
However, this can typically be quite a high amount and for larger firms may be millions of pounds. An excess will often also apply, although you can also typically set this too. So you might be able to set an excess of a few hundred or even a few thousand, depending on the policy or provider.
Indemnity cover also includes an element which would protect you against allegations that you have lost or accidentally destroyed important documents or data belonging to a client, or that you have breached someone’s confidentiality or copyright. Should it be needed, a policy will often also protect against allegations of defamation through libel.
Counselling professional insurance can also be configured to include public liability cover, in the event you need protection against possible legal claims arising from members of the public visiting your property, such as a surgery, on a regular basis. With these elements in place, a business could have comprehensive protection against common legal risks for a reasonable premium.
Whatever motivates someone to become a counsellor, among their reasons is likely to be a desire to help people. The job can be a rewarding one, and with the right training in place an effective counsellor can make a real difference to people’s lives. But as with any business, someone can encounter problems and mistakes, meaning they may face a complaint and claim from a client. Counselling professional insurance is a form of safety net which can help protect a business should they ever face the unpleasant prospect of a legal claim.
Law-related problems can crop up unexpectedly, and you may not even know there is a problem until a letter lands on the doormat. In a more legally aware society, people may be more likely to take action if they feel someone else is to blame for a problem. This means there is a potentially greater chance of being sued following a mistake, be it perceived by the client or be it a real one.
Professional indemnity insurance as part of a counselling professional insurance policy will give someone financial assistance with their legal bills up to set limits. It normally pays out if someone faces a claim that they have made a mistake, omission, or committed an act of negligence in their day to day work.
Should an official legal complaint result, they are going to need legal assistance to help them defend their case. A solicitor’s knowledge can help someone to successfully preserve their reputation, and could potentially save them a considerable amount of money if someone is seeking compensation.
This type of policy also covers someone right the way through the court system, provided their level of cover is sufficient. This means you can expect to get help with your legal bills all the way through from a first hearing or consultation, all the way up to an appearance at the high court if necessary. Of course, some limitations will apply to your policy as an insurance company will not pay out indefinitely on a legal challenge. So you will need to decide the limit with the chosen insurer which is right for you.
Is also possible to agree excesses, as with other types insurance, so you would be liable for an initial payment before payouts officially kicked in. This may help bring your premium down if you’re concerned about the extra expense. You can often find a level of cover which is right for you, as a counselling practice which deals with hundreds of clients will usually want a higher level of protection and therefore premiums than a smaller company which deals with just a handful.
Counselling professional insurance even covers the cost of compensation, should it be awarded to a claimant, and you can also get cover which protects you against unforeseen claims which arrive relating to something which happened before you bought cover, but which first arose as a legal claim after you purchased your policy.
The number of professional counsellors and psychotherapists working privately in the UK is on the rise, and all provide a vital and personal service to their respective clients. Using their skills a trained counsellor can build up a close and valuable relationship with the client to help them see things more clearly. Over time this relationship may become highly trusting, but mistakes can be made and sometimes these can lead to disputes and even legal action. This is why many people operating in the sector choose counselling professional insurance by way of a safety net.
Counselling professional insurance will usually involve some kind of indemnity cover and may even include public liability insurance. The aim of this type of protection is to help out if someone faces legal action, i.e. being sued, because of a real or perceived mistake made in the general conduct of their business.
The Insurance works in a straightforward way by paying legal fees, up to certain pre-agreed limits, which may be run up during the defence of such an action. Hiring legal help is rarely a cheap prospect, and could even lead to serious financial difficulty for some individuals and companies, which is why some choose not to take the risk and instead seek out an insurance policy.
Besides straightforward mistakes, this type of counselling professional insurance will also usually cover things like loss of someone’s important documents, the accidental breach of confidentiality, any possible breach of copyright which is unintentional and will even cover someone against a defamation action.
The main decision which someone will have to make relates to how much cover they want to take out. A policy will not pay out indefinitely and will not meet an unlimited amount of legal cost. For example, policies are available up to a certain pre-agreed limit, say £80,000 worth of legal expenses, while others go all the way up to millions of pounds. It is also important to remember that insurance cover of this type will not only cover legal fees but also any compensation which is awarded to a complainant, again up to certain limits.
According to the Counsellor’s Handbook, the BAC code of ethics and practice for Counsellors says they should consider the need for a professional indemnity insurance policy and should also take out “adequate” cover where appropriate. 1* This suggests that counselling professional insurance could be considered by anybody looking to work in the industry on a professional basis. However, this does not mean that someone should rush into the first policy which is offered to them. A professional company must consider the right level of cover, and those working on behalf of the NHS may already have some kind policy in place-always check to see what policy, if any, applies to you.