All practicing registrants must carry professional liability insurance of at least two million dollars per occurrence. Members must submit proof of insurance to the College upon request.
Registered Dietitians Professional Errors & Omissions Insurance
Sheppard Insurance Service Inc. offers Registered Dietitians Professional Errors & Omissions Liability Insurance with both $2,000,000 and $5,000,000 limit options.
How to Apply
- Complete the application form found on the Sheppard Insurance website and return it to Sheppard Insurance by fax or Canada Post with payment
- Payment terms: cheque with the application, Visa or MasterCard information noted on the application (all payments are processed through Sheppard Insurance Service Inc.)
Coverage is not bound until Sheppard Insurance receives application and payment.
Highlights of Coverage
- Personal and portable Professional Liability Insurance coverage with a limit of $2,000,000 ($175) or $5,000,000 ($220).
- Zero deductible.
- Additional 12-month extended reporting period available for retiring members and members on leave of absence (i.e. maternity leave) at no charge.
- Additional legal expense of $25,000 is provided when called upon to appear before a disciplinary committee.
- Additional penal defense of $100,000 is reimbursed with a successful defense of a criminal charge.
- Additional costs for attending pre-trial, trial or appeal of up to $250 per day.
- The definition of Insured Services will include ‘acting within the scope of the insured’s duties as a registered dietitian’, including the provision of opinions and counselling.
- The insurance will apply to claims arising from lawsuits in Canada and the United States.
- Additional occurrence-based Commercial General Liability available with no deductible ($100).
Frequently Asked Questions about Professional Liability Insurance
Where can Registered Dietitians purchase liability insurance?
Liability insurance can be expensive if you’re purchasing it individually—up to $1500 or more per year. The College of Dietitians of Alberta is pleased to offer members the option to purchase professional liability insurance from Sheppard Insurance Service through the College starting at $175. Alternatively, if you have purchased a Dietitians of Canada (DC) membership you may purchase cost effective liability insurance through them.
Why do I need Errors & Omissions Insurance?
Errors and Omissions (E&O), also known as professional liability or malpractice insurance in the health industry, covers liability arising out of negligent acts in rendering, or failing to render, professional services. Professionals are defined as people with special skills, knowledge or experience. Registered health providers are considered professionals. Other professionals would be lawyers, accountants, engineers, technologists or architects. If one provides a service or advice based on these special skills, knowledge or education, then one has exposure to errors and omissions. If one does not have E&O insurance, the defense and settlement costs could bankrupt an individual. The most obvious reason for carrying E&O insurance is to cover the costs associated with legal proceedings and legal representation arising from complaints brought against the individual.
Many health workers are covered under the employer’s insurance. Why would they need their own?
Registered health practitioners often work as employees within the confines of their employer’s property and hours of operation. However, these professionals carry their special set of skills and knowledge wherever they go. Additionally, some may work as a contractor and not as an employee, and they may or may not be covered depending on the company’s errors & omissions policy. Additionally, some professional work—such as working part-time with another company, being self-employed in private practice, or when engaging in volunteer work—would not be covered under insurance unless that health practitioner has their own liability insurance. There is very little preventing someone from seeking legal advice or filing a lawsuit or complaint against a professional and it is important for the professional and the public that registered health practitioners carry insurance.
Liability insurance has two purposes:
Protecting the public
Professional liability insurance provides financial compensation for the public in the event of damages caused by a Registered Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist. Clients need to know they have recourse in the event of harm. Knowing that they can access a professional’s insurance, by way of a claim or law suit against a professional’s liability insurance provides them with a sense of security when they seek treatment.
Professional liability insurance protects you from having to pay personally for any harm that clients suffer as a result of your conduct. If you do not have insurance and you are successfully sued for negligence, you will be personally liable for any damages awarded to the client. Even in the cases where you are found not to have been negligent, you will still have to finance the cost of defending yourself. Funding the defense is something else that professional liability insurance will cover.
Do I need liability insurance if I already have employer-provided insurance?
You are considered a regulated health professional at all times. If you are in private practice or engaged in any dietetic related work (including volunteer) outside of your regular job, then you must have third-party professional liability insurance. For example, if you are covered under your employer’s liability insurance but also consult, volunteer or counsel others on nutrition outside of your job, including giving gratis advice, you are exposing yourself to possible legal action or a complaint. In this case, you should protect yourself and your clients with liability insurance. Also, many employers’ insurance does not cover legal expenses or criminal defense reimbursement and the health practitioner will be responsible to pay this cost.
What information should RDs obtain from their employers about their coverage?
Your employer should have no objections to sharing information with employees regarding their liability coverage. Dietitians and nutritionists should seek information from their employer’s administration or risk management department. Employers should be providing dietitians and nutritionists with the details of their insurance coverage.
Always ask your employer the following questions to ensure you’re protected:
- Am I covered under the facility’s policy?
- What is the maximum I am covered for?
- What losses are covered for? Am I covered only for claims and actions for negligence or for criminal and disciplinary proceedings too?
- Are my legal fees covered?
- What, if any, are the exceptions to my coverage?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine whether you need any additional coverage.
What is Commercial General Liability insurance?
Commonly thought of as the “slip and fall” coverage, Commercial General Liability insures a business against accidents and injury that might happen on or away from its premises, as well as certain exposures relating to the carrying out of its business operations. Even if your clients do not visit your premises, this coverage follows you and your employees wherever they conduct your business.