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Specialist insurance

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Members can apply to join our medical malpractice scheme to provide for peace of mind in the event of a clinical negligence claim.  

To help you make an informed choice and learn more about:

What we offer

Optometrists and dispensing opticians are regulated by CORU and have a responsibility to maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance. Our medical malpractice insurance meets these requirements.

Our medical malpractice insurance covers you on a claims occurring basis*  

  • Medical malpractice insurance indemnifying you for up to £10 million per occurence 

Cover includes the cost of legally defending the claim, claims management and compensation associated with the claim.

 Our insurance also covers you for: 

  • Product liability insurance specifically related to the provision of the eye care services you provide

A claim is a request for compensation as a result of something that somebody believes has gone wrong regarding a patient's eye care. The claim should be made in writing, but it can come from the patient, family member or other representative - such as a solicitor.

A clinical negligence claim is not the same as a complaint.  Learn more about the regulatory support we offer in the event of a complaint.

Risks and liabilities

Eye care in Ireland is very safe, but even the most diligent and expert eye health providers can make mistakes. In such cases, clinical negligence claims can be costly, and that is why you should have appropriate medical malpractice insurance in place, irrespective of legal requirements to do so. 

While you should take all steps necessary to minimise the risk of an adverse event, mistakes can and do happen. However, making a mistake does not necessarily amount to being liable for a claim. 

To prove a claim, the claimant must show you owed them a duty of care, that there was a breach of that duty of care and, as a result, they suffered physical, psychological harm or both, which would otherwise have been avoided.

In a practical sense this means there must be a breach of duty of care and causation. Put simply, you would have to have acted in a manner which a reasonable or responsible provider in the same discipline would not have and as a result have caused harm to the patient.

If you have been notified of a claim or you believe there is a risk of a claim, you should contact us immediately and we will support you throughout the process. As a member you are never alone.

When you might not need to buy your own medical malpractice insurance

Individual optometrists and dispensing opticians do not always need their own medical malpractice insurance. For example, in many cases your employer’s insurance will provide you with the medical malpractice insurance you need.  Make sure you do not pay for insurance you do not need or for double cover.

If you require your own cover and this is exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment, then the Revenue allows you to count your medical malpractice insurance cost as an allowable expense.  

Practice owners and vicarious liability - keeping it simple

As a practice owner, you can benefit from complete peace of mind knowing that our medical malpractice insurance covers your organisation and all your CORU registered staff and people working under their supervision on an unnamed basis. We keep it that simple.

You make an annual declaration of the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) CORU registrants in your business – you don’t have to tell us names or who comes and goes during the year. Now that’s easy!

FTE stands for full-time equivalent, which is how we price your practice membership and insurance cover. Imagine you have two CORU registrants on staff who together work five days between them. That amounts to one FTE under our policy, so you pay for one, not two people. You can see the savings add up.  

Claims occurring v claims made

We want to make sure that you know the difference between claims occurring and claims made insurance policies, so you can make an informed choice about the cover that is right for you.  

Claims occurring basis

This type of insurance policy covers a claim that happened ('occurred') during the policy period. It does not matter when the actual claim is made which can be years later. The cover is provided under insurance contracts in perpetuity.

For example, if you were on our claims occurring insurance policy in 2013, you would be covered in the future in the event of a claim linked to an incident in 2013. So, if a patient you tested in 2013 made a claim against you in 2023, you would still be covered by us regardless of whether you still have our insurance in 2023.

There are many advantages to this sort of policy. For example, when you retire or stop practising, you do not have to continue paying for medical malpractice insurance, buy separate 'run-off cover' or hope it is included in your package without any complex T&Cs. 

If you are switching from a policy which operates on a 'claims made' basis to a 'claims occurring' policy you should contact us for more detailed advice. This is because your current insurer might not automatically provide you with run off cover and you might have to purchase this separately. If you do, we can provide this at very competitive prices for a one-off fee.

Claims made basis

This type of insurance covers you only for claims received ('made') during the policy period.

Using the same example as above. If a patient made a claim against you in 2023 relating to a sight test you performed in 2013, then you would need to rely on your 2023 'claims made' policy being in place for cover. Put simply, on a claims made policy, you need insurance in place whenever the claim is made.

One disadvantage of this sort of policy is that when you retire or stop practising, you will have to make sure you have appropriate 'run off cover' in place. That means you will need to make sure you are insured against events that occurred in the past after you stop practising. 

Some schemes might claim to include the cost of run off cover within your current premium, but most will charge you an extra premium when you leave the scheme. You should also be aware that schemes which claim to include run off cover as part of a claims made policy might have significant restrictions in place - e.g. they might not offer organisations run off cover even if the organisation is paying employees' premiums.That is why it is important that you know what you are paying for.

Contact us by emailing [email protected] if you have any questions about the difference between 'claims made' and 'claims occurring.

Other insurance

In addition to medical malpractice insurance, eye care provider organisations will need to have other more common insurance policies in place. These might include but are not limited to:

  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Business interruption insurance
  • Employers' liability insurance 
  • Public liability insurance

You should make sure you take out other insurances you need. 

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