Professional Liability Insurance: Your Legal Requirements
Having professional liability insurance is not only a smart business practice for any health care professional, the College would like to remind Members that it is also a legal requirement for Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario.
The Registration Regulation and the by-laws of the College establish the kind and amount of insurance that NDs must carry. This is done to ensure that patients who suffer lost wages or other financial loss due to treatments or services performed by a ND have access to financial compensation.
Type and Amounts of Insurance Required
The by-laws of the College describe the requirements for professional liability insurance as follows:
- It must be on a claims-made form,
- Must cover the full scope of practice, including the controlled acts authorized to the profession, as set out in section 3 and 4 of the Naturopathy Act, 2007,
- Must have a deductible of $1,000 or less,
- Must be from an insurer licensed by the Financial Services Commissioner of Ontario or through membership in a protective association, and,
- Must be in the amounts stipulated.
General Class - Minimum Required
All NDs who hold a General Class certificate of registration must carry both a minimum of $2 million per claim and a minimum of $2 million aggregate.
Intravenous Infusion Therapy (IVIT) - Additional Insurance
All NDs who have met the standard of practice for Intravenous Infusion Therapy must carry an additional amount of $3 million per claim and $3 million aggregate. This means that the total amount required is $5 million per claim and $5 million aggregate.
Inactive Class - 5-year "Tail" Insurance Required
All NDs who hold an Inactive Class certificate of registration must carry “enduring” or “tail” insurance at the levels noted above for a minimum of five (5) years after they move into the Inactive Class.
Information Reporting Requirements
Each year, Members are asked to update information that is on file for them at the College. This includes information regarding your professional liability insurance, which would include the following:
- The name of the insurer and the policy number,
- The name of the insured (must match the Member’s name),
- The address of the insured, and
- The Policy period, both beginning and expiry dates.
In addition to this reporting requirement, Members are required under the Registration Regulation to notify the College within two (2) business days if at any time they are no longer insured.
The College processes include periodic reviews of Members' insurance information on file. The first review takes place immediately following the start of the new membership year (April 1st annually) when Members have completed their “Information Return.”
When the College’s information indicates that a Member’s insurance policy is expired, or that they do not carry the correct amount of insurance, the College has no alternative but to immediately suspend the Member. This is established in section 14 of the Registration Regulation.
In the past, the College has been advising Members that there may be an error with their insurance. On advice of legal counsel, the College will not be able to continue to do so in the future.
If the College has information on file that a Member’s liability period has expired and there is no new information on file that a member has renewed their liability insurance with their insurer, the College is unable to conclude that a Member has active coverage.
Updating your Information
In order to avoid being unnecessarily suspended and having to pay a reinstatement fee, Members are asked to ensure that their insurance information is always up-to-date and accurate. Any change in your policy should remind you that you need to update your information with the College.
This is particularly important if your policy expires around the time of the deadline for the Information Return. For example, if you complete the Information Return in February and indicate that your insurance expires in April of that year, when the College begins its process of information review in early April, your insurance information will indicate your policy has expired. This will result in your immediate suspension.
Once your renewal comes into your office in March, you should be sure to update your policy information on the College’s website. You can do so by logging into the website and clicking on your name on the top right side of the page.
Here is a quick link (you will have to sign in with your username and password to access the page): CONO website Member Sign In
The College neither reviews for compliance nor approves any insurance program available to Members of the profession. It is the responsibility of Members of the profession to ensure that they have professional liability insurance that meets the requirements as described in the College by-laws (section 19).