Call for Government help amidst coronavirus crisis
A Yorkshire care provider is calling for urgent Government intervention after finding it almost impossible to get insurance for his business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Padgham says he was quoted up to an 880% increase in insurance premiums to get cover for his nursing home and three care homes at Saint Cecilia’s Care Group in Scarborough.
“Our previous insurer, like many others, has stopped offering cover to care providers because the risk is too great,” Mr Padgham says. “Those that are offering cover are charging huge premiums because of the risk involved and because they know that we have to have insurance.”
Saint Cecilia’s previously paid £10,000 per year but when it came to renew they were quoted £98,000 – an increase of 880% or £41,000, an increase of 300%.
It was only after a seven-day extension past their renewal date that they finally received a quote for £18,000, an increase of 80%.
Even with the increase in cover premium, the company won’t be covered for Covid-19 in the future.
Mr Padgham says the Government must intervene and support care providers who are effectively being penalised for helping the fight against coronavirus.
“I do have some sympathy with the insurance companies because they’re worried about the risk, which is why I want the Government to step in and help the industry.
“We stood up and accepted discharged patients into our homes from hospitals, aware of the risk but willing to do so to provide care to people with the virus and to keep our provision viable,” he said. “Now, because of that, we cannot get insurance without paying premiums that will put enormous financial strain upon our business.
“We want to play a part to help the Government if a second wave of coronavirus does come, to admit people and to help them. But we’re not going to be covered for that in the future if that’s what happens. They say ‘we’re all in this together’ but in reality some of us are and some of us aren’t. Social care has been left out and forgotten again.”
The National Care Association surveyed 68 homes that needed to renew their insurance and discovered that 68% of those surveyed had an increase in their insurance premium; 35% had to change insurance provider and 93.5% had no covid cover included in their renewal.
“We are not alone, when others are coming to renew their insurance they are finding coverr has either been withdrawn or their premiums have gone through the roof. They have us over a barrel, as we cannot operate without insurance. It is tempting to see what would happen if we did not renew our cover. Would the Government step in and help then?”
Mr Padgham, and the provider organisation of which he is chair, The Independent Care Group (ICG), has also written to the Government asking it to indemnify care providers against insurance claims which might be made over residents who die from Covid-19 whilst under providers’ care. It has not received a reply.
“The Government wants us to accept people from hospitals, with or without coronavirus and with or without proper testing in place,” Mr Padgham added. “But when it comes to supporting us and protecting us against insurance costs, the Government has washed its hands of us. They can’t have it both ways. If the Government wants care providers to keep caring for those most vulnerable to Covid-19, they will have to support us in turn, otherwise there will be no care available for it to keep calling upon.”
The call is supported by Care England. Its Chief Executive, Martin Green, said: “”Some of our members are reporting that their insurance premiums have risen exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential that the adult social care sector is funded and supported accordingly. Also it is imperative that the Government considers what policy mechanisms and guidance are at its disposal to support the frontline for example the indemnification of the sector and local support strategies. With care homes being under such immense financial pressure at the moment this could spell catastrophe.”