Liability Products FAQs

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance protects social workers if sued for malpractice. Social workers need protection from legal action due to negligent acts, errors, and omissions on the job and from frivolous lawsuits that can be brought even years later.

Without coverage, you could spend precious time and resources defending yourself, regardless of whether there is any merit to the claim. Professional liability insurance provides you with experienced legal defense and coverage for settlements or damages.

The NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program covers you for other specific risks, including supplemental liability for clients tripping and falling in your private office, and legal counsel for a licensing board complaint or administrative hearing.

There are many good reasons to purchase your liability insurance through NASW Assurance Services. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of NASW, our mission is to improve the lives of social workers. NASW Assurance Services manages all aspects of the professional liability program, from making sure that benefits stay current, to meeting the needs of our profession, to keeping program costs low. In fact, through our efforts, premium costs have held steady for sixteen years.

Unlike many insurance companies that focus on creating profits for corporate shareholders, our goal is to pay program expenses, then we invest in programs that benefit NASW members and the profession of social work.

Our NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program was designed by social workers with the specific needs of social workers in mind, and with unique benefits that can best protect members. This program provides you with the best possible professional liability insurance at the most competitive rates for the value you receive.

You can have peace of mind knowing that your coverage is provided by an organization that you trust and that cares about you. NASW’s-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program is the ONLY program that includes the advocacy of our association. Members who purchase professional liability insurance through a different organization will not have the support and backing of NASW Assurance Services.

Yes, the NASW–Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program is only available to NASW members; social workers must be current members of NASW to participate in this program.

There are important reasons for this requirement. There is strength in numbers and your NASW membership allows NASW Assurance Services to manage all aspects of the program, making sure the benefits stay current to meet the needs of our profession and helping to keep costs low. Also, importantly, we are able to advocate on behalf of NASW members in the NASW-Endorsed program if they are unfairly denied coverage or renewal.

Find out more about the benefits of NASW membership.

Social workers covered under the professional liability policy of their employer, agency, or school also need their own individual coverage. Employer coverage does not necessarily protect you individually from risk and you may be liable for your own negligence. Employers may require you to reimburse them for damages they pay on your behalf, or their insurance may be inadequate.

Like it or not, large organizations such as schools and agencies may find it necessary to focus on their organizational needs first, and not on the needs of the individual social worker. For example, social workers covered by organizational policies are unlikely to be provided their own defense team to look out for their interests and careers. Your employer may also have the right to consent to a settlement rather than defend your interests.

Also, if you leave your employer, it may be questionable whether you would still be covered under their policy. Purchasing your own professional liability insurance means you’ll still be covered, even if you change jobs.

NASW Assurance Services launched the new NASW-Endorsed program in September 2012. It includes enhanced benefits at lower costs, with the continued advocacy and oversight of NASW Assurance Services. We’re very excited about this program and are extremely proud to be able to offer this excellent coverage to NASW members.

The new NASW-endorsed program offers exceptional benefits at low costs, including:

  • $35,000 Licensing Board Defense Coverage
  • $35,000 Wage Loss and Expense Coverage per policy period/$1,000 per day
  • $25,000 Sexual Misconduct Coverage with defense costs covered in addition to the limit
  • $25,000 Health Information — HIPAA Privacy Coverage
  • $15,000 First Party Assault Coverage
  • $15,000 Emergency First Aid Coverage

NASW members can also benefit from significant discounts, including:

  • 5% for applying online
  • 10% or professionals who complete a CEU risk management course in the past 24 months or the next 12 months
  • 25% for new graduates

The NASW-Endorsed program is structured as a Risk Retention Group (RRG), which is a liability insurance company created for the benefit of NASW members and owned by its insured members.

There are a number of advantages to the NASW RRG, including:

  • Oversight by a Board of Directors which is comprised of social workers and association insurance experts who always keep members’ interests in mind
  • Fully transparent finances and operations
  • Greater control on how the program is structured, permitting quick improvements

For more details, see our NASW RRG Frequently Asked Questions or visit the NASW Risk Retention Group website.

NASW Assurance Services and our partners have created a new program that offers improved coverage, benefits, and access while also providing NASW members with the best possible professional liability insurance at the most competitive rates.

Additionally, the NASW RRG Plan Administrator charges low commission rates, saving our program over a million dollars each year. These are real savings we’re able to pass along to you in the form of better benefits, new discounts, and lower premiums.

There are many variables that impact insurance cost, including the amount of liability coverage you choose and whether you work full-time or part-time. NASW Assurance Services works hard to ensure that members are provided with the best possible professional liability insurance at the most competitive rates.

For specific information or to obtain a rate quote online, you can access the online application by visiting the Enroll Today page on our website. Or, you may contact the NASW RRG Plan Administrator at 888-278-0038 to speak with a knowledgeable insurance licensed representative.

NASW Assurance Services’ staff has done the research and legwork needed to develop a new, high-quality, affordable program. We also manage the program to ensure that members receive excellent, caring customer service.

Importantly, we will advocate on your behalf if you’re unfairly denied coverage or renewal. The management and advocacy efforts of NASW Assurance Services might not always be apparent if you haven’t experienced issues in obtaining coverage or renewal directly through a big insurance company that reports to Wall Street and its corporate shareholders, but it can make a real difference. We also advocate on behalf of NASW member policyholders to prevent premium increases.

NASW Assurance Services also develops and provides in-person and online risk management workshops, tools, and resources to help our members reduce their risk from lawsuits. Our Board members also offer risk management workshops at NASW Chapter meetings and other professional conferences.

Our NASW RRG Plan Administrator allows NASW Assurance Services to ensure excellent customer service for all NASW member policyholders:

  • Personal service from knowledgeable, insurance licensed representatives when you have a question or request;
  • State-of-the-art system offering an easy, fast process for applying for and renewing coverage;
  • Real-time online applications with Proof of Coverage Certificate available for immediate download;
  • 24-hour online access to applications, policy documents and legal resources.
  • To get a quote or apply over the phone call 888-278-0038

Yes, the NASW-Endorsed program is extensively reinsured and financially protected by top, “A” rated reinsurance companies, including Lloyd’s, London, and Swiss Re, that go beyond the state insolvency guarantee funds, which are capped well below your policy limits.

The NASW RRG is an insurance company that meets all regulatory requirements of insurance regulators and is registered in all states. It is not self-insurance.

Western Litigation, Inc. is the program’s legal partner and is a Fortune 300 litigation and risk management company. They staff our free Legal and Risk Management Helpline, a benefit of our program that allows you to get confidential legal advice based on your particular circumstances. Utilizing this counseling is not considered as filing a claim, and your confidential conversation will not be shared with anyone else, including the insurance company.

Should a claim arise, NASW member policyholders will have access to Western Litigation’s national panel of lawyers and staff, who provide legal defense, claims management, and general litigation oversight.

You must be a member of NASW to take advantage of this great program. And, we’ve made it as easy for an NASW member to enroll.

  • Enroll online. It only takes 5 minutes and you’ll receive a 5% discount by enrolling this way. You’ll only have 4 simple questions to answer. And, when you answer “No” to each of these, you’re covered.
  • Call 888-278-0038 during customer service hours to speak with a knowledgeable insurance licensed representative. You’ll also get the 5% discount this way.
  • To get a quote or apply over the phone call 888-278-0038.

Yes. Visit our NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Program website. You can also manage your policy there as well.

If you have additional questions not covered on this website, we have three options to help you:

  • Call 855-385-2160 to speak with a knowledgeable insurance licensed representative.
  • Contact NASW Assurance Services by submitting a question using our online form and we’ll respond to you by email.
  • Call NASW Member Services at 800-742-4089 (Monday thru Friday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm EST)

Your professional liability insurance policy is for you. You are the designated insured. Your policy is designed for the NASW RRG to shift the many stated risks, or perils, as listed in the policy contract from you to the NASW RRG as the insurance company or carrier.

Your employer’s insurance policy may cover you in some circumstances, but not all. The employer’s policy is designed to protect the employer’s interests. Incidents vary widely, and many fall through the cracks of your employer’s insurance coverage. Remember that your employer buys insurance to protect the employer first, and you second, if at all.

Malpractice allegations always arise, and you will certainly be named in the complaint. An RRG Professional Liability policy with a first-year annual premium of only about $40, is well worth the cost for your peace of mind.

Remember that most insurance policies are sold through commission-driven insurance agents. They receive up to 30% of your premium as their sales commission each year, so you are paying too much. Also, many insurance policies require that you pay a deductible. No deductibles are required under any NASW RRG insurance policies.

Buy an NASW RRG Professional Liability policy directly from the NASW RRG. There is no sales agent commission. Ask about adding additional insureds such as employees and contractors. The premium upcharge of $25 is minimal. You can always call the NASW RRG to add additional insureds when you need the coverage. Typically a $1 Million/$3 Million limit is sufficient, especially for small or start-up practices.

An NASW RRG General Liability policy is also highly recommended and is required by your Landlord if you rent an office because it covers you and your entire practice for the major perils. The major perils include liability for slip and fall, bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, third party property, and fire legal liability. If you lead sessions or conduct therapy off-site, such as in a rented hotel conference room, or in another area outside of your office, and an attendee, or your client, is a victim of a pocketbook theft, for example, the GL policy covers this third-party loss. The NASW RRG General Liability policy annual premium starts at $159 per year which is about one-third of all other insurance company competitors for the same level of coverage limit of $1 Million/$3 Million.

We also recommend an NASW RRG Cyber policy (CLCS), Cyber Liability Choice Select. This policy protects you from HIPAA-imposed punishment, and the premium starts at $59 per year for $5,000 in coverage. Additional coverage up to $25,000 is available too.

CLCS covers all of the major cyber liability perils including legal defense, state and federal fines and penalties, damages, computer security breach expert audit, client notification costs, and ID theft subscriptions for victims. A small optional first-party coverage endorsement is available for your administrative employees and contractors. This way you are covered for both first-party and third-party information breach, and truly HIPAA compliant protected.

NO. Regardless of coverage, when an incident occurs, the plaintiff’s lawyer will name you in the lawsuit. This is a common legal practice, and actually proper, so the plaintiff’s lawyer is not sanctioned for malpractice.

Not at all, as long as you buy the NASW Professional Liability insurance policy, because it covers you no matter how many employers you have, and covers you if you own your practice, and covers you as a part-time and/or full-time worker. You are not required to report employers or worksites, and you are covered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Yes. Often times you participate in informal discussions with peers and associates, even during voluntary Board meetings. Even if you randomly meet an acquaintance and discuss an undisclosed client, you are at risk when a lawsuit is filed against the acquaintance and the resulting subpoena identifies you in dialogue, then you are subpoenaed also. And you are probably named in the lawsuit as well. This curbside counsel with advice exchanged pulls you into the case, notwithstanding the existence of a license.

In most situations, yes. However, not all social workers need a license in their home state to practice in a specific field. Please call for more information if you are unlicensed.

A Claims-Made policy will cover you for alleged incidents that happen between the enrollment date and expiration of your policy, but claims must be reported while the policy is in force. Extended Reporting Endorsement, or Tail Coverage, is necessary to protect you against claims reports presented after the policy expires.

An extended reporting rider or “tail” allows you to stop your policy, but still, have coverage for future claims that are made based on events that occurred during the time period your policy was in force. A “tail” protects you for practice activities during the time that your policy was in force. If you retire, or if you become disabled, the “tail” is offered to you at no cost.

You may want to consult your attorney to determine the limits you should purchase. You might find that most managed-care entities, hospitals, and facilities require you to carry at least $1 million per incident and a $3 million aggregate. We offer up to $2,000,000 per claim/$4 million aggregate coverage ($3,000,000 per claim/$5million aggregate in Virginia).

If you have questions, please call 855-385-2160. We will be happy to answer all your questions.

General Liability Insurance

Yes. Current NASW RRG policyholders can add to their existing professional liability insurance policy.

Also for current non-policyholders since this product is designed specifically for behavioral health professionals and if you fit into one of the many occupations listed (on the application form), it’s available on a guaranteed acceptance basis!. We only ask a few basic information questions to calculate the premium based on your needs.

Landlords typically require this type of coverage and no professional liability policies have sufficient general liability comprehensive coverage.

Most General Liability policies fail to offer fire liability over $50,000 per incident. The NASW RRG policy includes fire coverage up to $1,000,000 per occurrence and up to $3,000,000 per policy year. Virtually all carriers stop at one occurrence per year and limit the fire coverage to $50,000. Most insurance carriers limit general liability coverage to the actual therapy sessions and to the patient only, not to patient aides and companions, or other locations in the premises beyond the immediate treatment heater.

The NASW RRG policy has no such exclusions.

You will not find a General Liability policy more cost-effective and with as many benefits anywhere. This protection is very affordable – it’s only 42 cents per day, about $12.84 a month for a single practitioner.

Our General Liability policy coverage is half to one-third the premium cost because the NASW RRG is owned by the policyholders and does not have earnings demands set by Wall Street stockholders.

The NASW RRG only rates on revenue for agencies and multi-office practices. You can have as many offices as you want and in as many states as you want with as many employees as you want without impacting premium calculation cost. For individuals, there are only three simple occupational categories to choose from which keeps rating is simple.

$1,000,000 sub-limit per occurrence and $3,000,000 in aggregate per policy year. The perils include Property Damage, Bodily Injury, Personal Injury, Advertising Injury, and Fire Legal Liability (no $50,000 sub-limit like all other carriers).

Absolutely not. Read your Professional Liability Insurance policy and you will see the gaps in coverage that expose you. PLI is not General Liability and does not cover you for all of the comprehensive perils that may occur.

None and there never will be because RRG law precludes deductibles. All competitors have a deductible and many are virtually hidden.

No. The NASW RRG’s contract policies are written in clear, simple, and easy to understand language with all coverages clearly stated. Unlike the competitors, there is no foggy gibberish language, confusing cross-references, or buried exclusions that confuse people. What you see is what you get with the NASW RRG

Call us at the toll-free HELPLINE (888-278-0038) number provided. We will conduct a detailed claims intake and immediately start the claims adjudication process on your behalf.

Yes, but you pay the costs if the lawyer is not in our network. We provide legal defense from our lawyer network of over 350 lawyers in all 50 states to defend you. We pay these legal costs.

The NASW RRG is reinsured by the leading worldwide reinsurer, SwissRe. NASWIC, a captive insurance carrier, also reinsures all of the RRG’s insurance products, and NASWIC carries the stellar A.M. Best A- “Excellent” rating nationally.

All NASW Risk Retention Group policyholders are members of a mutual insurance company and therefore their policy is evidence of their mutual ownership interest in the NASW Risk Retention Group a mutual insurance company.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Yes. This policy is available to social workers and behavioral professionals with guaranteed acceptance and you’ll have the opportunity to tailor your coverage to best meet your needs.

Cyber Liability Choice Select is multiple indemnities and expense insurance product that insures you against third-party information breach, which includes all digital and all paper records. HIPAA has severe criminal and civil fines, penalties, and enforcement requirements that are costly.

This is unauthorized disclosure to any party outside of the healthcare worker-patient relationship.

A third party is a mover of your records, a data storage facility, a client information storage company, or any vendor who handles your patient records information whether online, digitally, or with paper files.

A first-party would be you and/or a certain employee in your practice or business who handles your records, whether digitally or in paper format.

Your state has a variety of laws and Licensing Board breach notification requirements that can require a lawyer to represent you, plus fines and penalties you must pay. The HIPAA High Tech Law CFR Part 160 is of particular impact to healthcare workers and requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information. The law stipulates expensive notification requirements to all patients, even if only one patient record is breached. Also required are security audits and identity theft subscriptions purchased by the healthcare worker for the victims.

Damages, legal defense, mass patient notification fines, and penalties arise when a breach occurs. It is likely your practice will become bankrupt without coverage for these perils if a breach occurs. Check the product listing to see the choice of benefit coverage and limits.

Affordable rates begin at $59 per year for NASW members and $109 for non-members.

Our policy covers the major cyber liability perils including:

  • Legal Defense Cost
  • State and Federal Fines and Penalties
  • Damages
  • Computer Security Breach Expert Audit
  • Client/Patient Notification Costs
  • ID Theft Protection Subscriptions for Victims/Clients