Understanding the needs of the hybrid nonprofit organization

Human services agencies and nonprofits across the country have recognized crucial needs in the communities they serve, and are responding with an expansion of their services that allows them to help these communities in new and different ways. Whether it's a counseling center that offers physicals or an early-intervention program that has added a dental clinic, many nonprofits have expanded their missions to include medical services as a complement to their traditional social, counseling and support focuses. This trend has increased the need for specialized, customized insurance coverage for nonprofit organizations.

These organizations want to provide the best, most comprehensive service possible for the people they serve, and addressing the physical well-being of their populations is a natural next step. The trend of offering medical services is specifically common for organizations like community clinics, community behavioral health organizations and children's programs, like Head Starts or early intervention programs. These new services come with additional exposures for the organizations, meaning medical malpractice coverage is often needed, in addition to traditional professional liability protection. The challenge for these groups is medical and traditional nonprofit coverages often do not come packaged together. This can leave gaps in coverage that can put the organization at risk of potentially costly claims. An insurance carrier that can seamlessly address both needs of a hybrid nonprofit can make a major difference in the level of protection for clients.

Four insurance tips for the hybrid nonprofit

When nonprofits expand their services, there often are changes in reporting, medical requirements, insurance and legal issues. Training and expert advice can go a long way. Hybrid nonprofits should consider these four tips when looking for a comprehensive insurance program:

  1. Reporting requirements may change. Reporting requirements will most likely change for nonprofits that expand their missions to include medical service(s) or expand across state lines. A nonprofit staff that is well-trained on the different requirements can help avoid potential issues.
  2. The proper risk transfer contract is needed for any medical providers. Limiting the responsibility of nonprofits for the errors committed by specifically-trained clinicians and medical professionals is critical. As a best practice, organizations should be sure the professionals they hire provide proper proof of risk transfer. When using an outside, independent professional, it is recommended that a signed contract outlining duties, deliverables and responsibilities is in place.
  3. Medical malpractice coverage is necessary. If clinicians are employed as staff members of the nonprofit, the nonprofit's insurance program should provide medical malpractice coverage. If the clinicians are independent contractors, it's good practice to request a copy of their medical malpractice and professional liability insurance policies to keep on record. Solid contracts that address client service responsibilities, duties and insurance requirements, along with reviewing and documenting license records, can help best protect nonprofits.
  4. The funder(s) may have insurance requirements. Insurance programs must meet the needs and requirements of the funder(s). Funder requirements may change when a nonprofit expands its mission. If it's a government-funded program that is adding medical services, the requirements will usually change drastically. It's important to obtain a copy of the contract between the funder and nonprofit to ensure the nonprofit's insurance program is compliant.

The advantage of independent insurance agents

Hybrid nonprofits need an individualized insurance program that can protect their expanded exposures. The best insurance agents understand the nuances between true medical malpractice and traditional professional liability policies, and when each is needed to fully protect their clients.

There are not many one-stop shops in the insurance marketplace to get the coverage that is necessary for a nonprofit that also offers healthcare services. Often, two separate coverage plans are needed. Independent insurance agents can identify the carriers that offer these two products as one comprehensive plan.

Beyond the proper coverage, independent agents will look for carriers with risk solutions teams that have the experience to advise on both the nonprofit and healthcare areas as one. For claims in this arena, a specialized team that is experienced in handling claims for nonprofits that offer medical services is a major value-add for many nonprofit clients. This team can help them avoid potentially damaging risks.

As a trusted adviser to nonprofit clients, experienced and knowledgeable independent agents are well-positioned to help their clients successfully navigate the sea of exposures that face the hybrid nonprofits of today.

LC OCT 2018-469