Healthcare

Healthcare organizations are challenged by risk on many fronts. Our knowledgeable and dedicated team of insurance and risk professionals can help you manage today’s volatility with increased predictability.

COVID-19 has put enormous strain on the Irish healthcare system. The pandemic has forced healthcare organisations to become increasingly more agile, having to make fast decisions that may have previously taken months to execute. The pace of change has seen a fundamental change to tolerance of risk. Operational decisions are having to be made with less robust, incomplete or imperfect risk information – and then quickly implemented to save lives. At the same time our healthcare professionals struggle with both physical and mental stress working through the pandemic.

While there is now light at the end of the tunnel the industry will continue to face significant challenges post pandemic. Healthcare organisations will have to safely deliver COVID and non-COVID care in parallel, maintaining a level of surge capacity while also trying to recover from the severe financial and workforce impacts of the crisis.

Against this backdrop, Marsh's HealthCare Practice continues to deliver new and innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of our healthcare clients. With an in-depth understanding of the challenges our extended team of insurance and health care professionals employ a proven process: We work with you to define the organisation's risk profile. Then we use powerful analytics to quantify them, and to determine how much risk to retain and transfer. Finally, our team designs a custom solution encompassing risk transfer or insurance solutions and workforce, clinical, and captive strategies.

By identifying and responding to exposures and managing total cost of risk, your organisation can thrive, ultimately improving the patient experience while also delivering improved cash flow, driving down costs, reducing outcome volatility, and achieving greater predictability in risk budgeting.

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FAQs

Hospitals and other care providers, including physicians groups such as senior care facilities, continue to face several emerging and historic industry-related challenges, including:

  • Staffing shortages: Increasingly, healthcare organizations are struggling to recruit and retain qualified employees. As the global population ages and a need for care grows, employers will have to budget for higher pay and benefits programs to continue to attract experienced staff.
  • Cyberattacks: Although new technology is helping to improve processes and enhance care quality, it also creates a greater vulnerability for incidents related to ransomware and noncompliance with HIPAA and other data privacy regulations.
  • Patient safety: Failure to ensure patient safety can potentially lead to preventable injuries or illnesses and death, high litigation costs, increased liability, and severe reputational impact to facilities and health systems.

Although overall capacity in the healthcare market appears to be stable following the pandemic, many insurers are being selective about what new business and renewals they are willing to write, and pricing continues to be challenging.

A captive insurance company is a subsidiary owned by one or more parent organizations established primarily to insure the exposures of its owners. The captive assumes a portion of the risks insured, and the balance is assumed by another insurance company, known as a reinsurance company. Some of the potential benefits of a captive include:

  • Increased coverage and capacity.
  • Investment income to fund losses.
  • Direct access to wholesale reinsurance markets.
  • Funding and underwriting flexibility.

Through a captive, healthcare organizations can achieve greater transparency and control, while also getting the stability of being a participant, mitigating the risk and volatility associated with high severity/low frequency claims.

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is a form of coverage designed to protect individuals from personal losses if they are sued as a result of serving as a director or an officer of a business or other type of organization.

A D&O policy can provide coverage for some of the areas that are most concerning to healthcare providers, such as peer review and credentialing, as well as allegations of antitrust, HIPAA violations, and regulatory claims.

Senior care organizations must manage a shortage of caregivers and increasing demands on facilities and services. Property hazards and the safety of employees, patients, and residents are key concerns for any senior care organization.

In addition to traditional property and casualty risks, the emergence of cyber threats should also be considered when evaluating your insurance and risk management program.

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that blocks access to a victim's data, website, client services systems, or other critical resources. The attacker holds this information hostage, demanding a ransom be paid in exchange for unlocking access. For healthcare organizations responsible for sensitive patient data, these attacks can lead to severe financial and legal consequences, including disruption of care, compliance-based lawsuits, and reputational damage.

The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications for the health and education of the patient or healthcare provider in an effort to improve patient care, treatment, and services. Telemedicine is not a medical specialty, but is instead a form of delivering care.

There are many benefits to the implementation of telemedicine, but there are also risks that should be considered.

The use of telemedicine reduces the risk of spreading viruses through in-person care, and the rapidly advancing technology provides a platform for education and training, a faster diagnosis of health-related issues, and reduced costs for both providers and patients.

Key risk considerations in telemedicine include direct and vicarious liability and the increase in cyber threats that may emerge as providers are seeing patients from a variety of different devices and networks across diverse locations.

Although acute care providers will need general liability insurance similar to businesses in other industries, they will also need to have professional liability coverage.

Also known as medical malpractice insurance, this coverage protects healthcare workers from the financial risk associated with patient injury, medical expenses, and property damage. Within this category there are two types of coverage to consider:

  • Occurrence-based: Covers a loss that occurs during the active insurance policy period, even if the claim is filed after the policy is cancelled.
  • Claims-made policy: Only covers incidents that happen and are reported within the policy's time frame.

In addition to these standard forms of coverage, organizations will need to assess their unique exposures and vulnerabilities to design an insurance program that effectively helps reduce and manage risk.

A risk management advisor can help healthcare organizations assess their current risk environment, creating and executing a plan that minimizes exposures to enhance the safety and care of patients while also protecting the organization's property and employees.

Our team combines deep industry knowledge and leading technology to market your risks to the right insurers, potentially generating competitive pricing and terms for your organization. We can also help you improve your insurance program design and deductible levels, utilizing our professional financial modeling and our specialist team’s data analytics.

For healthcare providers, the benefits of working with a risk management specialist are clear: access to a range of risk and insurance broking services that help you reduce costs, control risk, and protect your organization’s future.

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Ray Kenny

Healthcare Practice Leader

  • Ireland