As an optometrist, you care for a part of the body that most people can't imagine living without. Eye health is critical to our quality of life, so the work you do is indispensable for helping to ensure your patients' overall health and happiness. At the same time, your optometry practice leaves you open to a wide range of legal risks that could result in staggering financial penalties—whether or not you actually did anything wrong. You deserve to have the professional peace of mind that comes with knowing your comprehensive Ontario optometrist insurance will protect you from being hit by sudden financial loss, and that you'll be able to recover quickly in the event that something goes wrong.
Regardless of how careful and conscientious you are in your work life, there's always the potential for an unexpected problem that you couldn't possibly have foreseen or prevented—and the financial effects of those problems can be absolutely devastating. Depending on your specific Ontario optometrist insurance policy and which broader coverage options you choose to include, your optometrist insurance will protect you against paying out of pocket for legal costs, settlements, medical bills, property damage restoration, cyber attacks and more. Some types of enhanced coverage can also help you with the cost of keeping your business in operation while you recover from a disaster such as a fire, or extend your coverage for humanitarian volunteer work overseas.
Licensed and registered optometrists in Ontario are required by the College of Optometrists of Ontario to have optometrist malpractice insurance, which is a type of professional liability insurance. This regulation is in place to protect both optometrists and the general public—it protects policy holders from financial ruin in situations where they are forced to pay a large legal settlement or other unexpected expense, and it protects members of the public by ensuring they receive settlements they are entitled to by the court.
The College of Optometrists of Ontario specifies that their members must hold professional liability insurance, in a form that they deem acceptable, that meets these requirements:
Some optometrists assume that they are required to get Ontario optometrist insurance through their optometry association, but that's not the case. While that may be a great option for your optometrist insurance coverage, it's possible there are choices from other insurers that will be a better fit for your specific needs. When you speak with one of our expert brokers at Morison Insurance, we'll ask you about the details of how you like to operate your business so we can find the perfect optometrist insurance solutions for your unique practice.
When it comes to your Ontario optometrist insurance policy, there are types of basic coverage such as professional liability and commercial general liability, along with coverage extension options that you can choose to round out your optometrist insurance policy according to your individual insurance requirements. Our experienced brokers know how to put together a broad Optometrist insurance package with the coverage you need most, for a reasonable cost.
Optometrist liability insurance, which is also called professional liability insurance or errors and omissions (E&O), is the type of Ontario optometrist insurance that will cover a health care professional in the event of a medical malpractice lawsuit. For health professionals such as doctors and eye care specialists, medical malpractice insurance is a non-negotiable part of business insurance that will almost certainly come into play at some point during your career. Even if you are the most cautious optometrist who does absolutely everything by the book, accidents happen to everyone sooner or later. You could also be accused of causing damage that wasn't your fault, and be forced to defend yourself in court—which, needless to say, can get very expensive very fast.
Allegations of improper medical treatment can be related to a physical injury that you caused, or that the patient alleges you caused. For example, if you used a medical device incorrectly and injured a patient's eye, they would have grounds to sue. But medical malpractice also relates to failure to provide care. Examples of this would be if you failed to diagnose a retinal disease or corneal disease, or failed to refer a patient to a specialist when necessary. Or, it could be a situation where you offered bad advice, such as recommending a treatment that made an optical condition worse, or prescribing the wrong glasses or contact lenses.
In situations like that, it's crucially important to be protected by medical malpractice coverage on your Ontario optometrist insurance policy. That way, you are protected from paying crippling legal and medical expenses, while the patient is able to get the financial compensation they are awarded by the court.
Commercial general liability insurance is a highly recommended part of most business insurance packages, and Ontario optometrist insurance is no exception to the rule. Commercial general liability coverage exists to protect you from financial loss associated with third-party liability claims such as property damage and bodily injury.
For example, if a patient walked into your office and slipped on a freshly-mopped floor, seriously injuring their back, they could sue you to recover the cost of their medical expenses. That's not related to something you did as part of your optometry practice, so it doesn't fall under professional liability. But since it did happen on your business premises, it is covered by commercial general liability on your Ontario optometrist insurance policy. This type of coverage also helps you pay a repair, replacement or restoration expense related to third-party property damage.
There's simply no avoiding computers and connectivity in this day and age. You rely on them to store and transmit reams of sensitive information, including your patients' medical records, identity documents and financial information. All those important documents and files may feel secure and well-protected, but there are cyber criminals out there constantly innovating new ways to gain access to that information and use it to commit fraud or demand ransom payments for its safe return. If that information is stolen while in your care, you'll be in legal hot water and potential financial turmoil without commercial cyber insurance coverage included with your optometrist insurance policy. Cyber coverage is an addition to Ontario optometrist insurance that protects you if you are the victim of a cyber attack and someone makes a cyber liability claim against you, by helping you pay your legal expenses and recover financial losses such as payments for ransomed information.
You can't carry out your work just anywhere—you need the right equipment and a physical space that both meets your business needs and is in compliance with optometry regulations. So what would happen if there was a natural disaster or some other type of unexpected catastrophe that rendered your office or equipment unusable? Most optometrists and their employees can't afford to be out of work for weeks or months while their building is being repaired or equipment is being replaced.
Business interruption insurance coverage is a type of commercial property insurance that protects you from financial loss in the event that your business space or equipment is rendered unusable for an insured reason. If your clinic suffers a fire, for example, business interruption is the part of your Ontario optometrist insurance will compensate you for lost income up to the limits of your policy so you're able to keep your head above water during the damage mitigation process and deal with crisis management expenses. Some business interruption insurance also includes coverage to help you pay rent on your commercial property or pay your employees' wages until your revenue bounces back.
As an optometrist, your services are needed all over the world—including remote or economically disadvantaged places. If you choose to volunteer your services overseas to those who can't normally access adequate eye care, it's important to speak with your Morison Insurance broker first about additional coverage on your Ontario optometrist insurance policy that will ensure you are protected while providing humanitarian care outside of Canada for up to 90 days, subject to claims that are brought in Canada.
Tail insurance is a mandatory part of a claims-made Ontario optometrist insurance policy. Claims-made insurance means that you are covered for claims made during your policy period, regardless of when the actual incident of bodily injury or property damage occurred. If an incident occurs before your policy is in place, but it's reported after you purchase your insurance policy, it is covered. On the other hand, if an incident occurs while you are covered but your policy has been cancelled or not renewed by the time the claim is reported, you will not be covered for that claim. The College of Optometrists of Ontario requires optometrists to have a claims-made policy that includes tail insurance.
What would happen if you retired and cancelled your policy with your insurance provider because you're no longer practicing, but a few years later, a former patient alleges that your care or professional advice resulted in a long-term injury. If you didn't have tail insurance in place, you wouldn't be covered because you've cancelled your claims-made Ontario optometrist insurance policy—even though the incident happened when your policy was active. Tail coverage combines with a claims-made policy to provide an extended reporting period (ERP), meaning you are covered for claims made after your policy expires, up to a certain time frame.
During the application process for obtaining Ontario optometrist insurance, your Morison Insurance broker will ask you a wide range of questions to determine both what you need to be adequately covered, and what you qualify for. You will be asked questions about topics such as:
In addition to that kind of information, which is specific to optometrist insurance, Ontario optometrists will also need to provide the basic information asked of anyone who wishes to purchase business insurance, such as:
Your experienced Morison Insurance broker will be pleased to provide assistance to guide you through the process of finding and purchasing the right Ontario optometrist insurance to meet your unique insurance needs.
When it's time to start searching for a competitive quote for optometrist insurance, Ontario eye care professionals can get the help they need from the reliable team of insurance experts at Morison Insurance. As a family-owned and operated business, we strive to treat each and every one of our clients like members of our own family. We understand how important insurance is to your business success, and we will go the extra mile to make sure you have the Ontario optometrist insurance coverage you need to prosper. Give us a call at 1-800-463-8074 to speak with our experienced brokers today, or request a quote via the online form below.