Millions of children dream daily of being a veterinarian, even some of us had that dream when we were kids too. That was till we grew up and understood how challenging it is and the long hours of education. But many actually follow their dreams from childhood and become successful veterinarians.
Veterinarians are medical professionals that focus on examining, treating, and helping animals. That sounds like a great job, right? Working with animals, meeting cute dogs and cats every day. The job has its perks but also has some serious veterinary risks that can harm the professional and the clinic.
It is definitely a demanding profession, with long hours and a lot of emotional stress. However, these risks are extensions to their work and business. The risks are things that can go wrong while veterinarians are performing their duty or running a clinic. Veterinary risks may be out of the medical professional’s control; hence they need to have some sort of safety net- if they occur.
The best solution to this risk is a range of insurance that can protect you and your business when things don’t go as planned. Veterinarians and Veterinary clinics do a great job helping animals and should not suffer lawsuits or unnecessary financial loss. The article will discuss the possible veterinary risks and how different insurances can help protect them.
What are Veterinary Risks?
Veterinary risks are internal and external factors that can negatively affect veterinarians and veterinary clinics. The risks can lead to lawsuits, financial loss and severe reputation damage.
These risks can include medical negligence, third-party injuries or damage, employee injuries and even damage to business property. As you can tell, each of these risks may not be able to be avoidable and is challenging to face. Common risks faced by anyone in the medical industry.
For example, pet owners love their furry child and may quickly sue veterinarians for not doing enough or claiming their negligence put their pet in danger or increased their illness. This is just one of the possible claims that can occur due to their duty or on the premises.
Fortunately, the following insurances are the key to almost any veterinary-vet risks.
What Insurances Can Cover Veterinary Risks?
Medical Malpractice Insurance
As a medical professional, there is a large amount of pressure when pet owners bring their pets to veterinary clinics. They trust veterinarians and expect them to cure their pets as soon as possible. The veterinarians want the same result as the owner and try their best every time. Unfortunately, the outcome is not always positive, and a veterinary risk is customers will blame the medical professional.
Owners may claim that medical negligence was why their pet did not recover or worsened. For example, a pet owner sued a vet clinic when his eight-year-old dog passed at the vet -he falsely claimed that vet doctors were not licenced and used faulty medicines. In addition, there are many cases where vet clinics and doctors have been sued for accidental mistakes or the inability to determine illness quickly.
Even if it is a false case, there is still a costly legal process the vet professional has to go through to prove their innocence. However, medical malpractice insurance is the perfect solution to such cases. Medical malpractice insurance is a professional liability insurance for medical professionals. The Insurance will cover most costs related to medical negligence claims, such as legal/ lawyer fees, compensation, and settlement costs. Individuals and businesses can buy the insurance to protect their liability.
Public Liability Insurance
Most veterinarians work at or own their clinic when providing medical services. The clinic is part of their business and are liable for almost everything on the premises. Therefore, anyone who enters the premises is a third party and can be affected by the vet’s activities. A veterinary risk is that a third party can sue the clinic or professional if they are injured or suffer property damage due to the veterinary activities.
For example, if a third party (owner or animal) is injured in the clinic due to a falling item, they can sue the business for medical compensation. It could be a simple claim, from a slip and fall to an animal escaping from the medical room and biting another dog. However, if a dog bites in the waiting area, it’s the owner’s liability.
Clinic owners can avoid the veterinary risk by purchasing public liability insurance. Public Liability insurance will protect the business if a third party sues, alleging that negligence caused them or their pet bodily injury or property damage. The insurance will cover all legal and compensation costs. Public liability claims can occur from anywhere, and insurance makes it easier to deal with.
Employee Compensation Insurance
Animals are unpredictable, and taking care of animals is a risky business. The word ‘vet’ brings fear into many pets and can change their behaviour. Hence, veterinary clinics typically have a well-trained group of employees, including veterinarians, nurses, and receptionists. If one owns their clinic, they are responsible for their employees and their safety.
An unfortunate veterinary risk is employee injuries. Clinic owners, by law, must provide employee compensation if employees suffer an injury due to their duties. For example, an employee can easily get injured by a bite, kick or serious scratches by the animals they are trying to tame. Employees will need immediate medical care and rest in any of these cases.
The clinic employer must provide the cost of medical care, salary as they recover and compensation in case of disability. Hence why, employee compensation insurance is mandatory in many countries. The insurance will reimburse the costs paid by the employer regarding the work injury, which includes medical, salary and compensation expenses. Employees are an essential part of a veterinary clinic, no matter their role, and the insurance helps provide them with the best care.
Property All-Risk Insurance
As mentioned, the clinic is part of the business, and so are all the assets inside, from the furniture to the medical machines. As a business owner, one would want all their property to be in the best condition and operating in the best way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when you own a clinic visited by dogs, cats and more.
Vets shouldn’t be surprised if they see scratches on their furniture or even bites. However, there are instances where property damage becomes too much and needs to be changed or replaced. For example, a veterinarian is checking on a big dog, and the dog gets hassled and jumps off the bed, knocking over a piece of expensive equipment. Then continues scratching the door and more.
Depending on the equipment, these repairs must be made fast and can be costly. Thankfully if the clinic owner has purchased property all-risk insurance, the costs will be reimbursed. Property all-risk insurance will cover business property in case of damage or loss. However, the business owner needs to update the insurance every time they purchase new assets to get the most from their insurance.
You may wonder how cyber-attacks can be part of veterinary risks. Cyber-attacks are connected to any business that works online, stores customer data, or uses online payments – which is everyone. One cyber-attack can shut down a vet’s online presence and breach all customer-sensitive data. The data can include names, emails and even credit card details.
For example, if the receptionist accidently opens a weird email, which releases a virus onto the vet clinic computer and server. The hacker may sell all this data or ask for a Ransome to unlock the server. In fact, cyber-attackers focus on small non-IT businesses, but only 14% are ready to defend themselves.
A veterinary business must purchase cyber insurance to fight and recover from cyber risks. Cyber insurance provides the business with a first-party response on loss and a third-party response to cover liabilities regarding the data breach. In addition, the coverage reimburses companies for data recovery, legal costs, or any financial loss.
Why Insurances Are Crucial for These Veterinary Risks?
Veterinarians and veterinary clinics are under a high amount of pressure and can face veterinary risks at any point. Unfortunately, despite their hard work, some factors are not in their control. The most they can do is have the right insurance to protect their liability, employees, customers and property.
When they have the insurances mentioned, they will be financially and legally protected during the policy period. Therefore, they can have peace of mind knowing they will always be covered as long as they did their best and were not breaking any laws.
Veterinary dreams are hard to follow, so veterinarians must do their best to protect themselves and the reason they began to help animals.