This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Daniel Whallon, CLCS.
Most of the ABA companies in California I have worked with offer out-patient services to their clients. Therapists and supervisors do a ton of driving in their own cars. Assessments, intakes, sessions, school meetings, and training. They drive everywhere. And every time they get in their car during work hours, it puts your company at risk.
A few months ago, I had just been hired as the sole risk and insurance advisor for an ABA provider in Southern California. One of the first questions I had for them was what they were doing with their auto insurance program. I already knew they had hired and non-owned auto liability, but this coverage is never meant to be primary if an employee gets in an accident in their own vehicle.
They proceeded to lay out their process for me. Every time their employees auto insurance renewed, they asked them to furnish an auto ID card showing proof of insurance. The problem was these cards didn’t show what limits the employee had. We suggested that they require employees carry a minimum of 100/300/100 liability limits and furnish proof at every renewal showing theses limits, not just an ID card.
A week later, the insured call me saying they were being harassed by an injury attorney for information about their insurance policy. Earlier in the year, one of their employees was involved in an at-fault auto accident during work hours. She only carried the minimum CA limits of 15/30/10. Her attorney told the injury attorney to essentially bypass her completely and go straight to the employer because her limits were so low and it happened during work hours. Injury attorneys get paid based on size of the settlement so he was more than happy to agree to this idea and go after the deeper pockets.
The moral of the story? Your ABA company has enough to worry about. The situation above is avoidable the vast majority of the time. If the employee is carrying higher limits, chances are you will avoid being pulled into a lawsuit because there will be enough money to cover the damages and injuries. Of course, if it is a serious accident, you have non-owned auto liability to protect you.