Managing Risk in the Home Care Industry

March 8, 2024   |   Healthcare Professional

Since the 1990s when Neal Kursban joined his family business, Family & Nursing Care, he’s worked closely with CM&F Group to manage caregivers’ risk.

Today, the registry has a pool of 600 caregivers to refer to seniors in need of home care in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Their need to refer new caregivers quickly means they’re constantly recruiting and onboarding. 

CM&F Group partners with Family & Nursing Care to provide the independent contractor caregivers with easy access to professional liability insurance and to give the company leaders peace of mind. 

“When you bring on new caregivers, the ease of working with CM&F is really important,” says Kursban.

Challenge: Onboarding new caregivers quickly

Like in many areas of senior care, there’s a staffing shortage in the home care industry. The percentage of adults over 65 increases in the U.S. every year as Baby Boomers age. In 2022 there were 73 million, while only around 3.5 million people are working as home health and personal care aides, according to the Department of Labor. 

Companies like Family & Nursing Care are constantly onboarding new caregivers to support clients. There are so many work opportunities for every caregiver available that applicants will apply at many home care companies and then accept an opportunity at the first one that works out. This makes onboarding new caregivers quickly a priority. 

Before caregivers can be referred to a client, they need professional liability insurance. Home care registries with independent contractor caregivers, rather than employees, must ensure each caregiver provides their own coverage for professional liability insurance. Family & Nursing Care needed a partner to make this process easy and fast. 

“Our recruiting and onboarding teams have a lot of responsibility, and their time is valuable. Dealing with professional liability insurance is easy with CM&F. It’s fluid and doesn’t hold up the onboarding process, so the recruiters can efficiently move onto the next thing on their to-do list,” says Kursban.

Solution: Obtain professional liability insurance during onboarding

To ensure newly-registered caregivers can work with clients as quickly as possible, the Family & Nursing Care onboarding team recommends CM&F as a resource for obtaining professional liability insurance. As independent contractors, caregivers are liable if any incident occurs on their watch. 

Most newly-registered caregivers need a new policy even when they’ve been caregivers with other registries because Family & Nursing Care standards require coverage of $500,000 per occurrence/ $1 million aggregate, which is a more expensive and robust amount than what others require. 

“We prioritize making sure caregivers on our registry have coverage during our introductory business meetings, so both our clients and the caregivers can manage risk,” says Elnaz Safavieh, director of caregiver services.

Keeping track of hundreds of caregivers’ insurance statuses requires time and effort. That’s why CM&F Group provides a company login where they can check the status of the caregivers’ insurance. “The website is really easy to navigate and apply for the policy. We also get a proof of insurance message from CM&F when the caregivers submit their application,” says Safavieh. 

By logging into the CM&F portal, Safavieh and her team can also see when caregivers’ policies are up for renewal. “We don’t have that kind of relationship with other professional liability insurance carriers, so we have to rely on the caregiver to submit their updated policy to us, which can cause delays in referring caregivers,” says Safavieh.

Results: Peace of mind

In the occasional situation when the client and caregiver aren’t able to resolve a matter, the CM&F policy provided coverage to the caregiver for the client’s loss. Agents at CM&F Group play a helpful role in getting resolution. 

“Our office staff knows CM&F is responsive, employing real people who understand the home care registry/referral of independent contractor caregivers space. Knowing CM&F is phone call away to work collaboratively is tremendously comforting,” says Kursban. 

In one example, a caregiver working for a client with dementia became agitated and told the caregiver to leave before the end of her scheduled shift. The client fell and injured herself. When Family & Nursing Care staff learned what happened, they suggested the caregiver file a claim through their CM&F policy. The client had incurred out-of-pocket costs for a dental procedure for more than $12,000, which the CM&F policy covered on behalf of the caregiver. This provided great relief for both the caregiver and the client’s family.

Another incident occurred when a client fell from her bed one night. The caregiver called an ambulance. Paramedics took the client to the hospital for a fractured arm. The family was upset and wanted remuneration. Although no lawsuit was filed, there were significant defense costs for which the caregiver would have otherwise had to pay.

“Instead of trying to come up with creative ways some other insurance companies go about trying not to provide coverage, CM&F handled the claim fairly and professionally,” says Kursban.

Caregivers serve as a lifeline to seniors and their families, allowing more clients to stay safely in their homes for longer. Dealing with aging and often ill clients comes with high risks of falls and the potential for other injuries. Having an insurance partner to help manage that risk brings peace of mind to the caregivers, the companies that match them to clients, and families who depend on them.

 “To CM&F Group’s credit, they’ve done their part to simplify the process, and that goes a long way,” says Kursban.


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