The pandemic and Brexit have created the perfect storm for the care industry. Covid-19 alone has resulted in some insurers completely pulling out of the care market, leaving clients with nowhere to turn, worse coverage, poor levels of service and increasing premiums.
Meanwhile, the very nature of care is changing rapidly, responding not only to the growing elderly population, but also the spiralling numbers of children going into care, and the need to provide what’s tantamount to offsite nursing resource for the NHS post Covid-19. This means the nature of risk in care businesses is changing too.
In a sector with small margins and heavy regulation, there’s a natural tendency to focus on price when it comes to insurance, with the assumption that all activities are covered by a catch-all policy. However, some insurers only support “assisted living” and policies are not designed to cover the complex procedures many domiciliary care business and care homes are now delivering. Getting the right advice has never been more important.
We’re seeing two key drivers of risk in the care sector:
1. Complex care
Following the pandemic, hospitals have fewer beds available and are at pains to discharge early to minimise infection risk. This means care needs at home and in care homes are increasingly complex, perhaps including not only PEG feeding direct to the stomach, but TPN (total parenteral nutrition), which involves a line direct to a vein. If the flow is too great, there’s a genuine risk of fatality. Tracheotomy care is another. Are insurers even aware this is happening? There’s also a reliance on care staff to prevent unnecessary GP visits for routine check-up appointments – which is resulting in care staff undertaking what could be perceived as low-level clinical procedures. We work with specialist insurers who understand what’s involved in 2021 care and embrace the full gamut of risk in specially designed policy wordings.
2. Staffing issues in care
Alongside retail and hospitality, the care sector previously relied on European staff who, following Brexit, are no longer available. The pressures of the pandemic have also resulted in people leaving the care industry. This has created acute staffing shortages and a salary battle, shifting the focus to how to retain staff. That’s where our Wellbeing, Engagement and Benefits team can help with a tailor-made package of attractive benefits. Or clients are finding some of our support programmes particularly popular:
- Doctor Care Anywhere: care staff often work long and antisocial shifts, including nights, so it’s hard to get appointments for themselves. Doctor Care Anywhere means 24/7 access to a virtual GP, giving them the flexibility to book appointments at their convenience to look after their own health and wellbeing.
- Private health insurance
- Fizz Benefits, a series of discounts at popular retailers that allows staff to treat themselves
Our specialist team at Partners& works with care homes for adults and children, mental health, addiction and recovery, and domiciliary care providers, supporting them with advice on their business risks. We understand the intricacies of the treatments, care plans and the safeguarding care providers need to have in place. We work in partnership to diagnose risk and provide truly bespoke risk protection advice.