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As medical negligence or other claims may arise after you retire – or stop practising for some other reason – you need to ensure you are covered for the long term.

Run-off insurance for GPs is a type of cover that specifically relates to historic claims from a time when you were practising.

Not all GPs will need run-off cover in order to deal with historic claims as it depends on the type of cover held while you were practising.

It is the responsibility of doctors to ensure they get insurance to cover the full scope of their practice, including run-off cover where necessary and appropriate.

What is run-off insurance for GPs?

Run-off insurance provides cover claims against a doctor or their estate made after they retire, die or are no longer practising for any other reason. It is legacy cover.

In cases where doctors have always held occurrence based indemnity there is no need for run-off cover. This is because occurrence based indemnity provides cover relating to the time when the incident occurred, regardless of when the claim is made. For this reason, all cover provided by Medical Defense Society is occurrence based.

Those who hold claims based cover need to consider run off insurance as that cover only pays for claims made during the policy period.

Who needs run-off insurance?

Run-off insurance is generally for those who have stopped practising or have retired and, crucially, held claims based rather than occurrence based indemnity while they were working.

Doctors who bought a claims based indemnity cover as a transitional product in the run-up to the introduction of Clinical Negligence Scheme for GPs (CNSGP) were initially advised they would need run-off cover.

It’s vital that GPs check if they were one of those and ensure they have sufficient cover in place. However, agreements have now been reached in many cases for the government to take on historic and existing liabilities predating CNSGP.

When the Government scheme was introduced in April 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care noted CNSGP would not act as run-off cover for those who had previous claims based products. However, there have been successful challenges and subsequent agreements over this.

What is the time limit for medical negligence claims?

Medical negligence claims can be brought years after an incident occurs.

While there is a three-year limit on medical negligence claims, it doesn’t exclude the possibility of proceedings being brought much later.

The three-year time limit states that claims must usually be brought within three years of either the incident or when it was first realised injury had been suffered.

The three-year limit does not begin until the 18th birthday of a child and, in the case of a mental disability, it doesn’t apply unless the person recovers from it.

So, while after three years the risk of an historic claim is likely reduced, the decision over how long to retain run-off cover may be complex.


Do you need advice about run-off cover? Contact us with your indemnity queries.