FODO leads the way on optical insurance and defence

FODO chief executive David Hewlett describes the key elements of optical insurance and defence as the optical body takes measures to increase its indemnity cover.

As reported last week, FODO has kicked off the New Year by informing their members that, from this month, they will benefit from a doubling of cover per claim for professional liability insurance from £5m to £10m. At the same time, members will see no increase in their insurance premiums for 2019 or membership fees.

FODO describe this as a market leading initiative to safeguard its members and their staff and ensure they fully meet the £10m requirement that commissioners are increasingly insisting on under the NHS Standard Contract in England. The change is also intended to future-proof FODO
members during the Government’s review of insurance for regulated professionals operating outside hospitals, and should stand them in good stead for expansion in both the NHS and private markets this year and into the future.

FODO described this latest development as part of an ongoing programme to ensure its members can play their full part in the eye care revolution that has to come to meet growing national need.

Optician: What are the key elements to look for in an insurance and defence package?

David Hewlett: Quality and value. We do not often blow our own trumpet but FODO has always provided the highest quality and best value professional liability and defence insurance in the sector. And by quality and value, I mean that people insured with us can be absolutely confident that the cover we provide addresses all their needs. For example, we have always been ‘claims occurring’, which the Government now favours. If you are also a business owner, of whatever size and model, you can rest secure in the knowledge that our insurance covers everyone who works for you on an unnamed basis. On top of that, our insurance policies are fully FODO chief executive David Hewlett describes the key elements of optical insurance and defence as the optical body takes measures to increase its indemnity cover underpinned by contracts – again a preferred government model. This avoids discretionary elements which can encourage people to think they are covered but which can let them down at the last minute. A lot of people come to us for help when others have failed them. Optician Why has FODO chosen to make this change now?

DH: It is important that we never rest on our laurels. In order to provide the best, it is critical that we keep our offer under review to make sure it meets the evolving needs of our members. Key FODO aims are to advance the profession and enable those who wish to widen their scope of practice. This includes building new models of team working with ophthalmologists across boundaries and other clinicians across the new primary care networks. But for that to happen we need to ensure that both practitioners and businesses are fully protected and confident to take on those new roles. This increase is also in line with the requirements of NHS England and the expectations of other clinical professionals with whom optical practitioners are likely to be working. In short, we want our members to be at the leading edge of progress in eye care and for them and patients to be fully protected while they do this. FODO’s job is to create the conditions for practitioners and optical businesses to flourish across the optical spectrum.

Optician: Are the changes more aligned to businesses or individuals?

DH: We cover both businesses and individuals and we are proud to do so without fear, favour or prejudice. We are unapologetically both pro-business and pro-profession – they are two sides of the same coin and, as everyone in the sector knows, commercial success is key to delivering high quality care and driving up standards across the sector. That commercial success in turn depends on highly skilled and committed practitioners. So at FODO we support our members to achieve both their individual business and their professional and clinical ambitions.

Optician: How else is FODO understanding and defending the specific interests of optical businesses and professionals?

DH: Our record speaks for itself – we have a defence success rate second to none. Even more importantly the way we support our members means that the vast majority of issues are resolved without having to go through a formal legal process. Where a member does need legal defence, we are partnered with some of the very best legal and clinical defence firms and practitioners in the country. And if we are defending both a practitioner or practitioners and a business, then we provide completely separate support to each internally from within the FODO team and instruct separate legal teams. Should you have the misfortune to need legal support and advice, and that can happen to anyone at any time, you need bespoke support and will want to know that you are covered back, front, sides, above and below, by people who share your interests and will go the extra mile for you. That is what FODO offers on all fronts.