MARKEL, the SME focused insurance provider, will now offer legal expenses insurance to policyholders covered under its social welfare policy.
The product will be offered as an optional section within Markel’s comprehensive social welfare package policy, which caters for a wide range of charities, care providers, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations, including day and youth centres, children’s homes, mental health support and hospices.
A more robust regulatory and legislative compliance environment has seen a marked rise in the number of enforcement actions taken by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) against operators in the social welfare sector. The 2015/16 year saw 1,090 enforcement actions compared to 2,283 in the 2017/18 year, a 109% increase.
Against this background, having access to a legal expenses policy which responds, understands and delivers protection against the unique exposures of the social welfare sector is crucial.
In addition to the typical covers expected from a legal expenses policy, Markel’s cover provides greater certainty and access to expert in-house representation in the event of a legal dispute, including:
- Cover to mitigate any potential fines – whether found guilty or not – if an accident or incident occurs in the workplace and the HSE investigate,
- Representation at the coroner’s court if an accident is fatal and a coroner or fatal accident inquiry commences,
- Protection to appeal the decision, whether the CQC or OFSTED amend, alter or not renew the terms of the licence issued to operate,
- Representation for a member of staff in the event of a safeguarding enquiry resulting in a criminal prosecution of said member, providing there is a reasonable chance of obtaining a not guilty verdict.
Simon Fell, managing director for Markel, commented:
“We have seen a dramatic increase in the legal and regulatory pressures within the care sector. There is now greater exposure for our policyholders and the option of legal expenses insurance offers the assurance of cover should the need arise. Legal expenses insurance also enhances our existing portfolio of services, including access to specialist care consultancy services and the Law Hub.”