Navigating the terrain of liability insurance to find the right policy may be daunting. While looking at different companies that cover health and wellness professions like massage therapy, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the various policies available. The terms insurance companies use aren’t always easy to define, and the distinctions between different policies may not seem important—until you find yourself facing a legal claim.
As a massage professional, it’s vital to know exactly how and when your insurance policy is going to cover you in the event a lawsuit. When you finally make the decision to buy insurance from a specific provider, you want to know exactly what you’re getting. If you don’t know the right questions to ask, however, you may find yourself short on needed information. Some insurance providers won’t go over the fine details of your policy with you, or they may gloss over certain aspects.
One of the questions you need to ask is: Does this policy have any shared limits?
Every insurance policy will offer individual limits, but some policies may also have shared or master policy aggregate limits, a point which some companies may fail to mention when applicants are enrolling in their programs.
These shared limits will trump any individual limit a policy has in place, meaning that
SHARED LIMITS CAN AFFECT YOU, even if you have an individual limit on your policy.
Unfortunately, if a policy has a shared limit, it means the individual policyholder may NOT have the coverage they need when they need it. When the shared limit is reached for the policy year, anyone who files a subsequent claim will not be covered under their individual limits because of their shared-limit policy.
What is a shared limit?
If you end up with an insurance program that has a master policy, also known as a shared-limit policy, everyone insured by the company is subject to the master/shared limit of the policy—all insured individuals share one master limit of coverage available in a policy year.
As insurance claims are paid out during the policy year, those claims count against the total shared limit for each member. When the master policy limit is reached, no matter how early or late it may be during the policy year, there is no remaining coverage available for the rest of the policy year.
For example: If the shared limit on a policy is $10 million, then the company can only pay out $10 million in claims during the policy year. If a few insured members file claims early in the policy year that cost the company $10 million, all later claims will not be covered. Even if this same policy includes a $2 million limit for the individual, the individual limit will not apply once the shared limit is reached.
Much like the classic game of musical chairs, as an insured member with a shared-limit policy, you may find yourself with no seat when the music stops—with no insurance coverage when the money available to pay for claims runs out.
Why are individual limits best?
When you secure coverage through a company that provides individual limits, your policy will protect you up to the amount listed on your distinct policy. Every insured person will have his or her own coverage, and the claims that others make will not affect the individual coverage amount available.
As a wellness professional, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with having coverage you know is there for you—and you alone—in the event of an unpredictable lawsuit.
For example: Your policy has an individual limit of $2 million per claim and $3 million annual. This means you’ll be covered up to $2 million per occurrence and $3 million in total claims for the policy year. Any other insured member’s claims will have no effect on your individual amount of coverage.
Massage Magazine Insurance Plus (MMIP) provides members with policies that have individual limits only. With MMIP, you’ll never have to worry about shared limits and the risk that occurs when another insured member might get your coverage.
Each insured member has his or her own separate individual limits of $2 million per occurrence and $3 million per year. You can rest easier, knowing your business, finances and career are protected. At MMIP, even when the music stops playing, you’ll still have a chair.