There are two main reasons that as a counsellor you will need to be insured and they are : first of all for the safety of the client both Physical and Psychologically. And secondly to protect you the counsellor from costly expense. You may think that there is little to no risk involved in counselling, and while for most part you would be right there are of course instances where things go wrong.
It is for these times that you need to have the appropriate insurance in place, for example you have a client come to counselling and while entering the room they trip over fall and injure themselves requiring medical treatment? While this is fairly uncommon situation it could happen and that is something you as a counsellor need to be fully aware is are there any health and safety issue’s? While you can eliminate trip hazards and so on there is always risk of someone hurting themselves in the area you use, and in some cases a client might well make a claim and seek compensation for their injury.
Insurance is vital when you are working in a helping profession not only for the reason’s outlined above but also for if something goes wrong with the helping process and the client is harmed as a result of this. You should also be aware the a claim may be brought against you up-to 15years after the counselling has taken place and can be brought by a former client or even their family if they feel that your service had caused harm to a client.
Legally the person responsible is you so therefore it will be you that they come to for compensation, it is therefore necessary for a counsellor to have sufficient public liability insurance, you should make sure you are covered for the worse case scenario of an accident happening for example someone falling and the result was permanent disability this would be a very substantial claim and there is also the risk that a physical accident can also have a psychological effect as well.
Its worth noting that you become personally responsible for any short fall in insurance and would have to pay the client yourself. There are many Insurance agencies that deal with this specific type of insurance . The Bacp also has links on their website to insurance company’s who deal with this sort of policy and they also offer the counsellor free legal advice should need arise, the following is a website for Towergate insurance who offer a insurance scheam for Bacp Members it http://www.
towergateprofessionalrisks. co. uk/ Insurance needs to be reviewed on a regular basis and you should consider many things when calculating the amount of cover you need it is best you have too much than not enough but a good insurance company should help you calculate this and tell you what policy would best suit your needs. Maybe some sort of risk assessment can be made regarding what could go wrong using case studies ?
Nichola Hanson-Jones Types of Insurance and what they cover Professional Indemnity Insurance this type of insurance is for if a client brings a claim against you for the work/service that you have done for them. It will cover you for any compensation thatnyou may need to pay to them to correct a mistake and/or cover any eagle cost incurred due to negligence. This type of insurance is for those who: Provide advice to clients Handle data belonging to a client or business who are responsible for a clients intellectual property ( this covers things such as thoughts ideas inventions
literary work such as poems novel’s manuscripts artistic works drawings sketches paintings and sculptures) who Provide a professional service and could be challenged on your work. Public liability Insurance this type of insurance provides you with cover in the event that a member of the public is accidentally injured and your business is found to be liable. It includes things like claims for trips, slips and falls and will cover you for the cost incurred to defend the claim and paying out should you be found at fault.
Products liability insurance I am not sure just how relevant this type of insurance is to the helping profession as it deals with the supply and use of products and any injury resulting from such use. Again I am not sure but I suppose if you give a client a self help book to read in-between your sessions then this would be giving them a product. Anyone who is injured as a result of using a product supplied by you – even if they didn’t buy it can take out a law suit against you: –
The consumer Protection Act 1987 makes it a criminal offence to supply a product or any unsafe goods. All goods and products must be fit for purpose. Nichola Hanson-Jones It is also worth noting that a case can be brought against you up-to 10years after the product was used. Libel and Slander Insurance These are forms of defamation libel is when it is the written word and this includes emails, memo’s, bulletin boards and web sites and Slander is when it is the spoken word that is used.
In the UK the libel and slander law relates to anything said or written that will cause harm to a person’s reputation. For example ~: Saying Peter Sutcliffe had never paid his T. V licence in his life! Is unlikely to cause any harm to his reputation where as the same statement said about the CEO of the BBC Greg Dyke would cause harm, because he runs the BBC a statement like this could well damage his career at very least if this were printed in the papers it would cause a great deal of upset and inconvenience for him and his family.
Any of the following allegations can be considered as defamatory: That you are Immoral That you are Dishonest That you are Corrupt That you are in financial Difficulty That you are Incompetent So if a client was dissatisfied with you or your service and said you were incompetent you may have a case of slander against them however if they left a comment on your website stating this then you would have a libel case against them.
This type of insurance protects you and your practice from disgruntled clients making up allegations and harming you and your professional reputation. These are some aspect’s of insurance that as a counsellor you would need. In the following page’s I have included a handout on Professional Liability Insurance for Counsellor’s by Roger Litton as it gives some of the risk’s associated with counselling , as well as outlining the Bac’s members liability insurance scheam.