Baby Boomers Grow Allied Medical Capacity

Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 each day for the next 17 years—and that means an increase in healthcare staff will be needed to meet the growing demand. “By 2040, aging seniors with disabilities will expand from 10 million to 20 million,” says Karl Olson, Vice President, Professional Liability Regional Practice Leader, Burns & Wilcox Brokerage. “Doubling the people who need medical care also means increasing the healthcare staff and facilities that are able to provide that care.”

As the population of seniors increase, so does the trend of in-home care, as well as outpatient facilities. These options are typically cheaper and more comfortable for seniors as opposed to traditional healthcare facilities, like hospitals or nursing homes.

Enter Allied Medical

Allied Medical is the healthcare space between hospitals and physicians,” says Nicole Greene, Director, Brokerage, Professional and Executive Liability Center of Excellence, Burns & Wilcox.  Everything from home health assistance, to surgery centers, to blood banks can be covered with an Allied Medical policy to protect healthcare companies and their employees from medical liability.”

Allied Medical Liability insurance policies are typically package policies consisting of a Professional Liability policy and a General Liability policy. These coverages are often combined together to avoid “gray area” situations where coverage could apply under either policy as they both are designed to respond to bodily injury claims, but under different circumstances. General Liability responds to bodily injuries resulting from office exposures, such as slips and trips on the premise where a Professional policy responds to bodily injury claims resulting from professional negligence from a medical facility and its professional staff.

“More and more carriers are getting Allied Medical, and there is a great opportunity for brokers to improve upon current placements,” said Nicole Greene, Burns & Wilcox.

Coverage can vary greatly, and is highly customizable. Allied health is defined as those that are helping, assisting and providing medical care—these are typically lower level, non physician, care providers such as nurses, medical technicians and physical therapists to name a few.

“A healthcare professional who would need Allied Medical insurance includes someone who draws blood, or maybe someone who moves patients or works in a lab,” said Greene. “Endorsements and enhancements to an Allied Medical policy are customized based on the service that is being provided to the public.”

These policies are typically purchased for an organization as a whole, and are not usually for individuals unless he or she is an independent contractor. An Allied Medical policy typically extends to cover all staff employed by the organization.

Booming Demand

“More and more carriers are getting Allied Medical, and there is a great opportunity for brokers to improve upon current placements,” said Greene. “There is a growing need for medical professionals and companies right now as a result of the aging population nearing retirement and those professionals absolutely need professional insurance. There is a lot of opportunity for retail brokers and agents to capitalize in this space right now—and this industry will undoubtedly continue to grow.”

“More Baby Boomers are living in a home environment rather than a traditional healthcare facility,” added Olson. “This is driving the need for home healthcare staffing, and in turn, driving a lot of the growth behind the need for Allied Medical coverage.”

According to CareGiver.org, 80 percent of elderly people who receive assistance, including many with several functional limitations, live in private homes in the community, not in institutions.

Additionally, with the Affordable Care Act now in place, healthcare dollars are increasingly being watched more closely. This also contributes to the rise of home healthcare, as it provides a cost savings when compared to a hospital or a traditional long-term care facility. “The reality is that the Allied health space can provide care more efficiently than traditional healthcare facilities, and the field is continuing to expand,” said Olson.

Projected Growth

Currently, health care sector employment is projected to grow from more than 14 million jobs in 2010, to nearly 18.3 million in 2020— an increase of 30 percent, compared to only 13 percent of growth for jobs in all other employment sectors. This makes Professional Medical a great space to enter.

“Like Allied Medical, there’s an increased focus on the healthcare space because of the growing demand previously mentioned,” said Greene. “There tends to be more money in healthcare professional policies—brokers need to take the time to educate themselves on what Allied Medical really is, and find the right specialized wholesaler, who has the background to assist.”

“Business can originate anywhere,” encourages Greene. “Allied Medical is a wonderful platform that offers brokers the opportunity to make an easy cross-sell.”

Greene urges brokers to write policies with an entrepreneurial approach. “Brokers have a chance to create a package deal that includes other lines of coverage. There are so many other policies that can be included with Allied Medical, such as D&O, EPLI, perhaps even Auto for those who travel.”

According to both Greene and Olson, there are numerous products available, and both agree that Allied Medical is a growing line of business that can provide brokers with wonderful opportunities for development and cross sales.