Banged, Beat Up, and Bruised
The social work profession is noble and founded on service, integrity, and clinical expertise. At times, it can be a stressful and dangerous occupation. The nation is grateful for what you do, AND SO ARE WE! Thank you!
Yes, the title of this TIP of the Month article is literal and scary.
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics states that social workers working in healthcare and social services settings lead the nation in significant injuries due to an assault at work? This occupation accounts for 70% of assault injuries in all professions. Social workers are four times more likely to be injured from an assault than the average private sector worker. The social worker occupation is #20 on the danger list of deaths from a felonious assault compared to all other occupations, with one death per 100,000 social workers each year.
Across the nation, as social workers begin to respond to domestic violence and suicide incidents instead of the police, these numbers are expected to worsen – more reason to make sure that your professional liability policy covers you and your clients.
In 2019, Lloyds London, the reinsurance professional liability insurance syndicate carrier, reported claims losses of 690 per 100,000 social workers assaulted annually while providing professional services. On average social workers are out of work 19 days each year recovering from assault injuries. Assault incidents tripled to over 2,000 cases per 100,000 social workers each year when drugs and alcohol are involved. Of all the social workers practicing today, expect that 20 social workers will die from homicide each year from a patient. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fact Sheet, Workplace Violence In Healthcare, 2018, April 2020).
Because most attacks against social workers are survivable, let’s consider the literature searches for best practices that indicate a few sensible tactics. Do not work alone in the building, keep the area well lit, understand the client’s violent history, have an exit plan to avoid a threatening situation, and always leave an itinerary with staff and text and phone regularly. We wrote about these in the Tip of the Month article: “Are You Part of the 99.3% of the Social Workers Who Will Experience Violence on the Job?“.
After an assault, it’s time to pick up the pieces. Here are some options.
Check your professional liability policy to verify your coverage. By reading your professional liability policy, you should already know this when you buy it. Beware that many insurance carriers exclude coverage for injuries that you sustain. These are called “First-Party Bodily Injury” perils.
So, in other words, you have no coverage.
The Preferra Insurance Company RRG covers these perils from the first dollar expense with no deductible. When first-aid is required, the Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group pays for the insured and the client to receive treatment up to the $5,000 sub-limit. Other insurance carriers exclude first-aid treatment coverage completely for the insured (YOU), and only one other carrier covers the client for first-aid treatment, but not YOU.
Suppose a carjacker runs you off the road, and you get injured. Only one other professional liability insurance carrier we found would protect you. You would have had to pay a $910 endorsement fee each year for that coverage benefit. The Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group covers you up to the $1,000,000 policy limit per incident with no deductible and no endorsement required.
In summary, buying an Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group Professional Liability policy makes sense for peace of mind. The annual premium for an Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group occurrence policy, which is lifetime coverage, is less than you would pay an attorney for only one hour. Plus, you receive all the cash benefits for these medical injuries covering you and your client with no deductible.
If you have an employer, you may be able to receive some medical benefits for your injuries through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy, but that will not cover your client’s injuries. There may be exclusions in your employer’s policies, so it makes sense to buy the Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group Professional Liability policy in any event. That way, you are covered because YOU own the policy. Over 80,000 people already have and are currently protected by the Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group.
As an affiliate of the NASW Enterprise, the Preferra Insurance Company RRG, formerly NASW Risk Retention Group is keenly aware of social workers’ needs and challenges. “Excellence” is our mantra. Our mission is to be the best for our policyholders’ lives and help them overcome challenges to heighten their success.