THE GDC has warned its members that some insurance policies may be subject to exclusions that could affect the adequacy of their cover.
Commenting on the GDC announcement, MDDUS head of dental division Aubrey Craig said: "It is imperative that patients have access to redress when things go wrong. For patients and dentists to be adequately protected, occurrence-based cover that has no time-limit or cap on liability and avoids the need for frantic search for expensive additional run-off cover at the point of retirement is by far the best deal - and the safest option.
"With over a hundred years’ experience of assisting members, MDDUS provides peace of mind for members, offering dentists access to occurrence-based professional indemnity as well as unlimited settlement of damages and uncapped legal costs.
"MDDUS is a mutual membership organisation. Unlike insurers, we’re not in it for the profit, we have no small print to hide behind and we provide greater protection than the commercial alternatives available.
"We offer breadth and depth of experience in defending members successfully before the GDC and in negligence claims. We use discretion positively to provide assistance and meet claims which an insurer may very well turn down – and we are legally obliged to exercise that discretion reasonably and lawfully.
"Increasing numbers of dentists are putting their trust in our professionalism, responsiveness and value in an increasingly tough environment where claims and GDC referrals continue to rise. Dental professionals practising without appropriate indemnity or insurance in place may find themselves facing a fitness to practise investigation and being struck off.
"Our occurrence-based indemnity has no time limit or cost cap on liability. This means that we help members for any claim that arises, even if they have moved abroad, ceased clinical work, retired or are deceased when the claim or complaint arises. This has to be the safer option – for professionals and patients alike.
"Insurance products rarely do that. They usually only guarantee protection to dentists insured both when the incident occurred and when the claim is made. The crucial importance of this lies in the fact that claims are often made several months or even years after the events that give rise to the claim.
"Claims-made insurance products don’t help in those circumstances. They usually only guarantee protection to dentists insured both when the incident occurred and when the claim is made. Claims from the past may have to be covered by the payment of an additional premium or run-off cover. This is in effect a ‘hidden’ cost and risk of insurance – and both costs and risks can be enormous."