FAQ's

Who is BMS Group and what is their role?

BMS Group is the official and exclusive broker for the program www.bmsgroup.com. BMS Canada Risk Services, headquartered in Ottawa, is part of the Specialty Risk division of BMS Group, a Lloyd’s of London broker.

Their team of industry experts provide unparalleled risk management and brokerage services while offering a range of insurance products and resources to various Canadian healthcare associations.

BMS is the exclusive broker and provider for professional liability and practice risk insurance to the Canadian Psychological Association and Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP). Protecting one of the largest pool of psychological practitioners under a for member, by member program model, BMS provides cost effective and comprehensive protection available to members anywhere in Canada.

Who is managing the program on behalf of psychology practitioners, and can I get in touch with them?

CPA will manage the program on behalf of its member participants and on behalf of the participants who are members of CPAP associations. For more information about the process or the new program, contact CPA at executiveoffice@cpa.ca.

If you have a claim, would like to purchase coverage, or have any questions regarding coverage, contact a BMS program representative at psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com.

If a claim is made against you, or you are aware of a potential claim, contact BMS or visit psychology.bmsgroup.com. There you will find additional information on how to report a claim and utilize the pro bono legal services.

Who is the insurer and what is their role?

The PLI insurer for the psychology insurance program is QBE http://www.group.qbe.com. QBE is one of the world's top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies, with operations in all the key insurance markets. QBE insures a large volume of health care and professional liability professionals and organizations in Canada. With QBE and BMS, the insurance policy is placed with Lloyds of London and supported by the most guaranteed insurance market in the world.

Who is the adjuster and what is their role?

Maltmans’ is the program adjuster managing claims on behalf of the insurer, QBE. Maltmans’ is primarily responsible for addressing claims brought forward by members, which includes, but is not limited to: processing and assessing claims made by members, acting as an intermediary between QBE and the member and ensuring compensation of the member if applicable.

If a claim is made against you or you are aware of a potential claim you should contact Maltman’s at 1-800-699-0914.

What pro bono legal advice and what legal services are provided in the event of a claim?

Participating members in the program are provided with pro bono legal advice, as it relates to practice risk and liability, through Gowlings www.gowlings.com. As one of Canada’s largest and the most recognized medical defence firms in the country, members are assured that in the event of a claim they are afforded with best in class legal protection. The Gowlings advantage for defence is available to all members in the event of a legal allegation or complaint to a college regulator.

In addition to psychology practitioners, Gowlings also defend medical doctors and a vast array of other healthcare professionals through a variety of association and group liability programs. More information about this service and instructions for contacting Gowlings can be found at www.psychology.bmsgroup.com.

Insurance Related

What is professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance protects you against liability, or allegations of liability, for injury or damages resulting from a negligent act, error, omission, or malpractice that has arisen out of your professional capacity as a psychology practitioner.

Do I have coverage for incidents arising from services provided before I became insured under the CPA program?

Yes, all options include full prior acts coverage. This means that your current policy insures you for any and all incidents that took place in the past. When purchasing coverage for the first time (versus renewing an existing policy) coverage will not apply for a potential claim of which you are already aware.

I already have professional liability insurance through my employer’s policy. Is there a need for me to carry my own insurance?

Employer policies do not provide coverage for a variety of exposures covered under this program, which are tailored to the professional. One example is legal protection and costs associated with complaints made against you and filed with your Regulatory Board/Agency. Without individual professional liability coverage, you would be personally responsible for these costly expenses.

Should you provide advice/or treatment outside the scope of your employment (for instance, volunteer work in the community or work with a secondary employment site), your employer’s policy will not extend to cover you.

The CPA program has full retirement coverage, is not limited to a certain place of employment, and will protect you in a variety of settings include clinical and academic work.

I am planning to take maternity or parental leave. Do I need to carry professional liability insurance?

Good news! Your Psychology Practitioner Liability Insurance policy includes 12 months of Extended Reporting Period (ERP) coverage at no additional charge. Extending the reporting period of your policy means that you are securing insurance to respond to potential future professional liability claims arising from prior incidents and exposure that occurred during your past practice.

This means that if you are participating in the insurance program and have discontinued practice because of maternity or parental leave, you will remain protected for up to 12 months following the expiry of your policy. Note that you must renew your insurance and have an active policy in place before returning to practice.

If you are planning to take maternity or parental leave, you are automatically covered for claims for which you are notified of while on leave, but which occurred while you were in active practice. While you are on leave, the only action required for this coverage is to ensure that you have renewed your association membership. When you do return to practice, it is imperative you purchase coverage immediately.

Do I need insurance if I am planning to work while outside of Canada?

Coverage territory is extended to anywhere in the world at no cost for a maximum of 90 days from the date of departure from Canada, but only while the insured member is:

a. accompanying Canadian patients on trips,
b. attending academic courses, or
c. participating in professional exchange programs with other countries.

However, it is the practitioner’s responsibility to ensure that they have secured any necessary credential or licensure to carry out a psychological activity outside of their home jurisdiction.

The insurer can agree to provide additional out of country coverage, but this must be agreed to prior. If this is a requirement, please contact BMS.

The BMS brokered policy extends coverage (including virtually or in person) but permits the US activity to be up to 20% of the practitioner’s practice. As was the case in previous years, a practitioner who wants this extended coverage must notify BMS. If you are practicing outside of Canada, you must get in touch with BMS in order to ensure that your activity is covered; 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com. As an additional extension to the program coverage territory, the BMS policy also provides members worldwide coverage for all claims that are defended in a Canadian court. Note, that it is the practitioner’s responsibility to confirm that he or she has regulatory authority to practice in any jurisdiction from which service is delivered and/or in which it is received.

What is commercial general liability insurance and do I need this?

Commercial general liability insurance, protects members from financial loss should they be sued due to property damage, injury, or death caused by your services, business operations, or your employees (not specifically related to your delivery of professional services, which is covered by your professional liability coverage). A typical example of commercial general liability insurance claim is slip and fall coverage, which protects you in the event someone falls at your clinic and claims this was a result of your negligence (water on the floor). Members do not need to purchase this as additional coverage because it is automatically included in the professional liability policy to a limit of $5,000,000.

What additional insurance do I need if I own my practice and/or have employed professionals working for my corporation?

If you own your own practice you might want to consider purchasing two additional coverage options. These are described below.

a) Members can purchase contents or property coverage to protect the tangible assets in their clinic, such as computers, equipment, renovation/improvements, patient files, etc.
b) Members can purchase coverage to protect the entity or organization. In the event of a claim derived by an employee or if the organization is incorporated, the entity must be defended separately and is not automatically covered by the policy.

How can I purchase coverage?

Coverage can be purchased online within minutes, over the phone or by mail. Applications and a link to the online tool can be found here.

What advantages does this group plan have for members?

The group plan allows members to pool their collective risk and negotiate better rates with insurers. With more members paying premiums to a given insurer, the insurance company is able to lower their premiums as the risk is spread amongst more members.

Do graduate student affiliates continue to be eligible for the program?

Students enrolled in graduate training programs and who are affiliates of CPA, and/or a provincial or territorial association of psychology participating in the program, are able to purchase liability insurance. It is important to remember that this insurance only covers the student’s activity for which he or she is supervised. In the event that the student is engaged in any other work that might be psychological, but for which he or she is not receiving supervision and/or which is not an activity in fulfillment of a requirement of his or her graduate training , that work is not insured. In the event that a student is engaging in any independent work, or work unrelated to his or her studies or training, insurance is not automatically provided under this program unless the student also holds a license to practice. If you have received coverage in this circumstance under the program please contact a BMS representative who can provide further assistance.

I have joined the program for the first time, why is my policy not 12 months?

The policy period is from June 1 to June 1 annually. If you were to renew in September, for example, you would only have coverage until June 1, but the amount you pay would be prorated accordingly.

Do I need to purchase coverage after I retire?

If you purchased the coverage before 2008, you may have bought and paid for an unlimited tail coverage. This means that you will continue to be insured, at no additional charge, for activity you undertook while in active practice as long as you continue to be retired. If you return to active practice, you need to purchase insurance at the regular annual rate. If you purchased tail coverage after 2008, it appears that there were two kinds of tail policies sold – one for a lower premium with a limited tail (i.e. a specific number of years) and another for a higher premium with an unlimited tail. This time period (limited or unlimited) will be identified on the certificate you received. If you bought tail insurance from McFarlan Rowlands (MR) with Novex as the insurer, please get in touch with BMS at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com to identify if any additional coverage is necessary or to report a claim. Please have your certificate number handy and, if possible, the certificate itself that should indicate the certificate number and the tail period purchased.

If you are currently insured and plan on retiring during this insurance policy term retirement coverage (tail insurance) can be purchased at anytime. The cost of this coverage will be a one-time fee of $150 for an unlimited tail. To purchase this, please contact BMS at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com

Can you please explain some of the key coverage definitions?

Regulatory Legal Expense Coverage

The regulatory legal expense endorsement provides coverage for legal costs associated with having to respond to a complaint, or appear at a disciplinary hearing with a provincial regulatory organization or agency. In the event of a complaint or investigation, members are provided with superior legal representation and defence protection. Examples include complaints alleging professional misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity.

Criminal Defense Coverage

Coverage will reimburse insured members for defence costs associated with a case filed under the Criminal Code if the professional service was rendered in Canada and the member is found not guilty of the criminal charge.

Abuse Coverage/Sexual Abuse and Counselling Fund

All options include a maximum funding of $20,000 for the rehabilitation and therapy of a person who, while a patient or client, suffered abuse in the course of an insured member’s practice as a psychology practitioner.

Members are also provided with a separate $1,000,000 limit of liability for defence and damages associated with an abuse-related claim under the policy.

Out-of-Country Extension

Out-of-Country Coverage is automatically included for 90 consecutive days at no extra charge for members who travel outside Canada while:

a. accompanying Canadian patients or clients,
b. attending academic courses, or
c. participating in professional exchange programs with other countries.

Coverage can be expanded for an additional duration of time by contacting BMS.

Cyber Liability and Privacy Coverage

Cyber liability coverage is provided to meet the increased exposures related to potential data security and privacy breaches. Members of the insurance program are covered for lost or compromised electronic data such as patient information.

Locums Extension

Coverage is provided for a qualified locum temporarily hired for a maximum of 30 days as a result of a professional liability claim under the policy.

Loss of Documents

Coverage is provided to replace a third parties loss of physical documents. For example, if a member were to lose patient or client’s files or if they were destroyed due to fire.

Breach of Copyright

Insured members are covered if legally obligated for claims in connection with an actual or alleged breach of patent, design, trademark, trade name or copyright.

Loss of Earnings Coverage

The insurer will pay up to a maximum of $1,000 per day for lost wages (including other expenses) incurred by the insured while assisting or defending a claim under the policy.

Financial Loss Coverage

The insurer will indemnify the insured for claims arising from financial, economic loss or expenses sustained to a third party for a claim under the policy.

Where can I get risk management resources?

Medico – legal liability and practice risk management resources are available at www.psychology.bmsgroup.com or by contacting BMS Group.

What do I do if my practice has changed mid way through the policy year?

Please contact a program representative broker at BMS who can assist you and make any necessary changes to policy.

If I have a claim, will my information be shared with anyone?

Specific details such as your name and personal information will not be shared with any of the regulators or associations. Aggregate claims data will be used to develop risk management resources for the program.

I’m not registered/Chartered with a provincial college, am I still eligible to purchase the liability insurance?

Psychologists working within university systems, and psychologists, like industrial-organizational psychologists, whose services are not health-related (e.g. industrial-organizational or environmental psychologists who may be self-employed or employed by other public or private organizations) are eligible to purchase insurance through the BMS-brokered program. This coverage includes their delivery of a psychology-related service(s), or the supervision of a psychology-related service(s). Registration with a regulatory body of psychology will not be required as long as the activity is not one for which registration is normally required or as long as the activity the psychologist is supervising, is not one for which the psychologist would need to be registered. Psychologists who provide psychological services that are not health-related and who are self-employed may also need to consider whether they need additional coverage for property and for the entity that is their incorporated business. For more information on liability insurance for university appointed psychologists and psychologists whose services are not health-related, please contact BMS directly at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com