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Challenge and change in the ever-changing and evolving care sector

by Lisa Carr

In September 2020, our Head of Care & Social Welfare, Jonathan Copley, reported on the impact the pandemic had had on the insurance marketplace for care providers.

Since then, providers have been faced with Government U-turns on mandatory vaccinations for care staff, a staffing crisis and changes to CQC’s regulatory approach.

The challenges facing the sector have been relentless, but the sector has remained resilient to say the very least. We have witnessed more collaboration between care providers than ever before, with care associations coming together, new networking groups established, and care providers assisting one another with advice, PPE and other resources where possible.

This collaborative approach, where competitors become allies, is very much akin to McClarrons’ approach to supporting care providers with their insurance needs. McClarrons’ experience is that we are one of the few independent care specialist brokers who have managed to continue supporting clients with insurance solutions through the pandemic. This is down to the fact that we not only engage leading care insurers directly but also brokers who have their own in-house products. These brokers agree to wholesale their specialist insurance products to McClarrons so we can provide these options to our clients. The benefit to clients is that we can take them through each policy, detailing:

– Differences in policy coverage

– Policy conditions which may impact their business plan

– Restrictions in policy coverage

– Potential gaps in cover created by “claims made” wordings

– Optional cover extensions, such as communicable disease cover

We also focus heavily on insurer placement as we need to make sure the insurer can cater for any potential changes in business activities, CQC inspections score and claims.

Our model is certainly different from most brokers – for us, the devil is in the detail. We accept not every client we consult with will accept a policy with us. Our mindset is to educate clients and provide them with suitable options, empowering them to make an informed decision about their protection.

“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result. It’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and approach” – Kobe Bryant, The Mamba Mindset

What we have found encouraging is the innovation coming from the sector:

The Ed Balls “Inside the Care Crisis” was a hugely informative and educational piece for the general public and we applaud the care providers who were featured – it was a hugely brave thing to do. Educating the general public on how care is funded, how difficult it is to access funds and why staff are often not paid more, are all key to lobbying government to reform care. It also showed carers to be truly special individuals who go above and beyond to support the vulnerable.

A recent interview with James Rycroft of Vida Healthcare, detailed how they had increased the wages of their care staff by 30%. It was extremely insightful as it detailed the concerns and challenges from the business perspective and took you through the journey. One thing James said really struck me – this is a time for providers to be “big and bold” and was more about opportunity than negativity. With all the challenges surrounding the sector, it was invigorating to hear how a provider was embracing change to retain, develop and recruit staff.

New apps and technology, such as Care Friends and Be Outstanding, have also been built, to aid with retention/recruitment in the care sector, and help organisations proactively work towards better CQC inspection results. Whilst there are time and cost implications involved in the application of new technology, in the long run it has the potential to create savings and/or attract clients/staff and help care organisations run more efficiently.

McClarrons have always sought to reach out to innovators in the care and social welfare sector and we look to share their work with our clients via guest blog posts and networking. The fact is that this tech can help reduce risk and by understanding the technology, we can evolve the way we consult with clients, handle claims and even underwrite risk.

What does the future hold? In my opinion, working in collaboration with your clients, staff, competitors, innovators and partners is the key to succeeding in these increasingly challenging times. If we can be of assistance to providers in any way, through advice, assessing their risks or providing insurance advice and protection, we will be very happy to help.

You can contact us at care@mcclarroninsurance.com

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