Insurance – a necessary evil?

Insurance – a necessary evil?

Kevin Culliney explains why it is crucial that dental professionals take the time to find the right dental insurance provider. 

My household insurance is coming up for renewal. On a like for like basis the premium is up around 15%.

Until earlier this year I had not had any claims and the main reason for the increase is said to be inflation and the huge increase in building costs should the worst happen. Another factor however was a claim. I live in a typical London terrace.

The neighbours’ gutters were blocked by leaves and heavy rain caused them to overflow over several weeks. Water penetrated the side of the house and eventually emerged in the reception room. Water damage is a nightmare and total repair costs were over £20,000.

‘Good insurance is worth it’

Who was at fault? Clearly the neighbours had a liability but who wants to fall out with them? My insurance company dealt with everything, sent an assessor the day after notification and repairs in full were agreed three days later. Getting builders and decorators was another story but that is not the insurer’s fault.

The point here is good insurance is worth it. No one likes paying for something they hope they will never use. But if you do need it, having it not respond or the process being long or drawn out makes a bad situation much worse.

At present, dentistry is so challenging for so many reasons that have nothing to do with dental practice. At the same time, patients are feeling the pressure in their lives and are hitting out at anyone in response.

In the past two months Densura has seen calls to our dental advisers increase by a factor of three. There is no pattern, and many patient complaints are groundless, but they still need to be handled carefully.

Ever-looming GDC presence

Dental advisers are a special breed. They need to know dentistry and have a good legal grounding, but they also need to know what it is like to work in practice in 2022, the pressures, the bureaucracy, the politics, and the ever-looming presence of the GDC.

When the worst happens, you need more than empathy, you need a swift response, good advice, candour (it may not be the best days work you ever did) and you need robust defence where a disgruntled patient just wants to blame someone because life is difficult right now.

Alongside the advisers, you need a legal team on your side (not just acting for insurers or the interests of the defence organisation).

And, of course, you need an insurance policy that offers proper cover from a recognised insurer.

A good insurer will not penalise you for calling for advice or seeking assistance, nor will they unfairly penalise you if, despite doing your best, something goes wrong and in hindsight (a wonderful thing) you could have done better.

It’s all in the detail of course, its not cheap and yes you will still be paying for something you hope never to use.

But on a Sunday night when the water comes through the wall (a much nicer expression than anything colliding with a fan), you will be glad you took the time to find the right provider, took the right advice and made the right decision.

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