7 Essential Insurance Policies for Skilled Nursing Facilities

7 Essential Insurance Policies for Skilled Nursing Facilities

A skilled nursing facility (SNF), commonly known as a nursing home, is a living facility for elderly patients that provides around-the-clock care by skilled nurses. Whether the need for care is due to a temporary or permanent health issue, an SNF can provide a level of care that is difficult to achieve through an at-home care program, but offers a more home-like environment than what is found in a hospital. An increased quality of life is usually the goal with skilled nursing facilities, so many focus on not only on meeting their patients’ physical and medical needs, but also their emotional and psychological needs as well.

Although skilled nursing facilities are an important resource for elderly patients, they are still businesses, and like any other business with employees and clients, they have a myriad of liabilities that require insurance coverage. Here are seven essential policies for skilled nursing facilities:

  • General liability insurance covers some of the most common non-employee lawsuits that result from everyday business activities. In many skilled nursing facilities, patients receive frequent visitors, which in turn can add additional liabilities. If a resident or visitor is injured due to non-medical negligence (such as a slip and fall accident) it would be covered under general liability insurance.
  • Commercial property insurance is another common type of commercial insurance that all business, including skilled nursing facilities, should carry. It covers damages to the building as well as equipment, supplies, fixtures and furniture in the event that they are stolen, damaged or destroyed due to a fire or non-excluded natural disaster.
  • Workers’ compensation is absolutely essential for skilled nursing facilities. With staff working around-the-clock to care for patients there are constant risks for injury or accidents. Additionally, some elderly patients with dementia can become violent, injuring employees who are trying to care for them.
  • Professional liability insurance is what covers the business from damages that result from a medical incident. Skilled nursing facility staff members are treating patients and clients every day, leaving them constantly at risk of claims of administering the wrong medication, providing incorrect treatment, inappropriate interactions with patients, neglect or any other possible on-the-job mistakes.
  • Employee benefits liability insurance protects an employer from damages resulting from an error or omission in the administration of an employee benefit program, such as failure to advise employees of benefit programs. This type of coverage is essential for skilled nursing facilities because of their high employee turnover rates.
  • Commercial auto liability protects a business from damages resulting from an accident or injury in a commercial vehicle. Some skilled nursing facilities may take patients off-site for activities or treatments, creating additional liabilities for the facility that commercial auto liability can help cover.
  • Sexual misconduct coverage is unfortunately another necessary coverage for skilled nursing homes. It’s difficult to get an accurate number because so many cases go unreported, but one government program has managed to catalog over 20,000 sexual abuse complaints at long-term care facilities over 20 years. Most general liability policies contain specific sexual abuse exclusions, so even with policies and procedures in place to try and prevent sexual abuse from happening, it’s important for skilled nursing facilities to have this coverage as well.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.

Errors and Omissions Insurance for Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents tend to wear many hats in order to stay competitive in their industry. Some agents take on additional parallel functions such as property management or preservation, title closing and even appraisals. As agents adapt to meets the needs of their community and add to their available services, they are also adding to their long list of liabilities. If a real estate agent is adding services that they aren’t properly trained in, they may unwittingly make an error that could put them out of business.

What is Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Errors and omissions insurance (E&O) can serve as a sort of malpractice insurance coverage for real estate agents. When an agent is protected with E&O insurance, their insurance company can defend any errors and omissions claims on their behalf and pay settlement amounts and/or attorney fees up to the limits of the policy.

Why Do Real Estate Agents Need E&O Coverage?

Even the most attentive agents can make a mistake or have an unintentional miscommunication with a client that can then lead to an E&O claim. Here are some common scenarios in which E&O coverage can help protect real estate agents.

  • Transaction error resulting in a sale falling through. Even if the error is not the agent’s fault, the resulting claim and client backlash can tarnish an agent’s reputation.
  • Failure to advise. Failing to disclose certain information to a buyer can result in a claim. Even if the agent was unaware, the burden of proof would fall on them to prove that.
  • Failure to maintain the property as contracted, or failure to properly secure premises. When agents double as property managers they take on a lot more responsibility for a property. The extra risk can be mitigated through their E&O policy.
  • Commingling or mishandling of funds. Commingling escrow money with general company funds, bookkeeping mistakes, failure to collect deposits or rent payments or lack of proper bonds for handling escrow money can all result in E&O claims.
  • Incorrectly processing an eviction order. A simple mistake in the amount of time given for a notice to vacate can be grounds for a claim.
  • Wrongful eviction or discrimination. Another example in which an eviction can go wrong for an agent. Tenants facing an eviction will sometimes use any means necessary to stay on the premises, meaning an eviction notice that doesn’t follow state eviction laws to the letter may result in a claim against the agent.
  • Negligence of subcontractors. Agents can sometimes be held responsible for negligent actions done by subcontractors that they hired or even recommended their clients to hire.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.

Nadia Hoyte Joins Highland RIsk Services as Senior Vice President

Highland Risk Services is pleased to announce that Nadia Hoyte has joined Highland Risk Services’ wholesale brokerage as Senior Vice President/Cyber Practice Leader. Ms. Hoyte will be based in New York City. 

As Cyber Practice Leader, Ms. Hoyte brings her 19 years of insurance brokerage experience to enhance and expand Highland Risk Services’ business production and development. Prior to joining Highland, Ms. Hoyte spent seven years as a Senior Vice President in Willis’ Cyber Practice based in New York.  In this role, she primarily focused on consulting, training, contract analysis, negotiating, marketing and placement of Cyber/Privacy, Media, Technology E&O, Telecommunications E&O and Miscellaneous E&O insurance placements.  Prior to that, she spent twelve years at Marsh.

Ms. Hoyte is a licensed property & casualty broker in over 30 states, with surplus lines licenses in New York and New Jersey. In 2015 she was a 2015 Power Broker Under 40.

“We are thrilled to have Nadia join the Highland team” said Brian Daly, president of Highland Risk Services.  “We are a rapidly growing organization and a person with Nadia’s proven track record of providing industry leading solutions for cyber risks will increase our ability to develop and provide cyber products to our customers.” 

Ms. Hoyte remarked, “I am excited to be joining Highland Risk Services, whose strategy of providing expertise in specialty areas such as cyber make it a perfect fit for my background.  I’m ready to get started.”

Nadia Hoyte can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 847-999-9489.

What Is An Intermediate Care Facility?

What Is An Intermediate Care Facility?

An intermediate care facility (ICF) is a long term care facility that provides nursing and supportive care to residents on a non-continuous skilled nursing care basis, under a physician’s direction. ICFs are designed to provide custodial care for those who are unable to care for themselves because of mental disability or declining health. An ICF is typically regarded as a lower level nursing care facility when compared to a skilled nursing facility, but its residents require more care and attention than those in a residential care facility for elderly or an adult residential care facility.

The delineation of intermediate care facilities can differ, and the government is still working on a clear definition for them. However, ICFs are commonly smaller facilities, accommodating around eight to 15 residents on average. ICF Facilities are most commonly for Developmentally Disabled residents, but they are sometimes resided in by elderly patients as well.

How Are Intermediate Care Facilities Regulated?

Each state has different regulations for intermediate care facilities. Currently, all 50 states have at least one ICF, and regardless which state facility is located in, they must to pass background checks and inspections as well as register for a license to operate. State agencies provide licenses to facilities, conduct annual surveys and investigate complaints and incidents to ensure compliance with any local and federal regulations.

What Types of Services Do Intermediate Care Facilities Provide?

ICF services can vary among different facilities depending on resident needs, facility size, and other factor. In addition to nurses, some facilities may employ occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and dietitians to make regular visits. The facilities can help residents with a myriad of tasks including but not limited to; getting dressed or undressed, bathing and showering, daily hygiene, using the restroom, moving around the facility,  washing laundry, housekeeping, transportation to and from activities and appointments, and reminders to take medications.

Are Intermediate Care Facilities Covered Under Medicare?

Intermediate care facilities are sometimes confused with nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, but they typically do not focus on medical services, so they are not eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. Instead, ICFs are used more for rehabilitative assisted living, or to house mentally disabled adults who need daily assistance and occasional monitoring. Assistance is available for patients with long-term care insurance and those who meet Medicaid eligibility requirement, but all other residents pay out-of-pocket for ICF care. Because residents don’t require around-the-clock nursing care, ICFs tend to have lower operating expenses, resulting in lower costs for residents paying out-of-pocket.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.

Best Practices for Assisted Living Facilities

Best Practices for Assisted Living Facilities

The decision to move an elderly family member into an assisted living facility is not an easy one for caregivers. This difficult choice, combined with the overwhelming amount of options to choose from, is often a big source of stress for many families, and the potential new caregivers need to be adequately equipped to prepare for whatever the resident's needs may be.

Assisted living facilities are designed to enable their patients to live in the much-needed comfort and familiarity of a home environment, while providing them with the necessary services they require. Even though many assisted living patients can go about their daily lives fairly independently, some patients may be a little more unpredictable. Patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other forms of dementia can become risks for facilities if their needs are not properly met.

Risks for Assisted Living Facilities

Any assisted living facility is vulnerable to the risk of litigation resulting from patient and employee behaviors, policies and procedures,  facility maintenance and more. These risks can be minimized and addressed through comprehensive insurance and risk management programs, as well as through policy and procedure updates and staff training. Assisted living facilities are most frequently penalized with lawsuits resulting from:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Patient elopement
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Wrongful death
  • Improper medication administration
  • Accidents while transporting patients

Managing Risks in Assisted Living Facilities

The above-mentioned risks, while common, can be effectively managed through developing and implementing a series of best practices including but not limited to:

  • Service plans: Every resident, upon move-in, should undergo health, cognitive and psychological assessments and have an individual service plan created for their care. This plan should include all of a patient’s medical orders, guardianship papers, wills and other legal documents and any other resident preferences or requests. The resident and/or their guardian should be involved in creating the service plan, and it should be routinely assessed and updated if necessary.
  • Contracts: Resident contracts should clearly outline all of the facility’s practices and procedures, from admission criteria to payment provisions. The resident or their guardian should fully understand the terms of the contract before care begins.
  • Risk agreement: A risk agreement is necessary when a patient willingly participates in any risky behavior, such as declining services or remaining in a facility that no longer offers the type of services the resident requires. Family members should also be involved in the negotiation, and all parties made aware of the consequences of the resident's choice. A risk agreement doesn’t automatically take all liability off of a facility in the event of an incident, but it can lessen the blame placed on it.
  • Staff accountability: Staff members should be properly trained and, when necessary, certified. The hiring process should include criminal background checks, reference checks and medical screenings to ensure staff members are of the highest quality. The facility should also have policies and procedures in place for their staff to help keep them accountable for their actions at all times.
  • Incident response: Regardless of how prepared a facility is, incidents, emergencies and disasters will happen. The facility should have an Incident Command System in place, similar to the system used by hospitals and FEMA. This should involve additional training for staff members in how to respond to specific incidents, and can also sometimes include drills for the residents as well, to ensure everyone is on the same page when the inevitable happens.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.

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