Beazley launches Virtual Care
Virtual Care is the first integrated insurance policy for healthcare providers and technology companies active in telemedicine
Beazley, a leading insurer of healthcare, technology and privacy risks, has launched a pioneering insurance policy to cover all organizations involved in the provision of telemedicine.
Currently, a company active in the fast growing telemedicine sector will normally need at least two insurance policies, and often more, to cover its varied exposures. Deep expertise in underwriting medical malpractice, technology errors & omissions and privacy coverages is rarely found in one insurer.
Virtual Care avoids the potential gaps in coverage that can arise with such a piecemeal approach. The coverage can be tailored to meet the needs of all participants in the telemedicine value chain, including:
- medical providers, including physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, midwives, and many other ancillary providers;
- software/hardware manufacturers or developers; and
- telemedicine platform hosts.
In some cases, a single entity can act in all three of the above capacities. Beazley has insured a number of organizations engaged in designing telemedicine apps, hosting the platforms and also providing medical services.
Telemedicine offers significant benefits for healthcare providers and patients alike. It provides on-demand access to high quality medical expertise that may be difficult or impossible to access locally. With an aging population and a rising incidence of chronic diseases, it can alleviate the burden on the healthcare system. And technological advances, particularly in areas such as ambulatory care and remote patient monitoring, continually broaden the services that can be provided.
But telemedicine also presents unique risks, which Beazley's Virtual Care policy addresses. These include potential jurisdictional issues and legal challenges when a doctor is in one state or country and his or her patients in another. It is also clearly more difficult for a remote physician or other healthcare professional to intervene in a rapidly deteriorating or acute situation.
For technology providers, many risks clearly relate to the functioning of the hardware or software they supply. But privacy risks can also be more significant than in other sectors: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposes onerous requirements on entities entrusted with maintaining the privacy of "individually identifiable health information".
Evan Smith, Beazley's focus group leader for miscellaneous medical risks, said:
"Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing sectors of the healthcare market, with revenues projected to rise by between 35% and 50% annually in the coming years. But medical providers and technology companies require robust protection for the varied and often unique risks that telemedicine presents. Virtual Care is unique in providing this coverage through a single policy."
Jennifer Schoenthal, healthcare underwriter, said:
"Telemedicine isn't a new or emerging field, it is a well established delivery method of medicine that is gaining increasing popularity. Our Beazley Virtual Care policy was designed to meet the needs of this industry as it continues to grow and evolve."