The following story is based on a real-life claim experienced by a Chiropractor client with insurance arranged by Aon. All names have been anonymised for privacy reasons.
Mike* had been running his own practice from within a well-known local clinic for many years. As he’d noticed the traffic into his practice had started to decline, he decided to run some advertising in an attempt to get customers in the door again.
To provide a strong incentive for customers to visit his practice, he ran a campaign that involved offering a special offer to new customers. He advertised this offer on the clinic’s social media page, as well as on the website. To entice customers even more, he highlighted in the advertisement his knowledge and specialist expertise in helping manage a certain type of condition.
Things were going great at first, and the offer appeared to be working as Mike started to receive more and more customer enquiries. A few weeks later though, he received a letter from a regulating authority which informed him of an anonymous complaint made against him for breaching advertising guidelines, and also advertising services outside of his chiropractic care.
Mike was surprised to receive this letter as he felt the wording he used in his advertisement was clear and concise. And as for promoting alternative treatments, that was out of the question and something he took no part in as he only ever practised as Chiropractor.
Despite the fact that he felt he’d done nothing wrong, Mike contacted his insurance broker and discussed the process of making a claim, and the claim was accepted under his Professional Indemnity Insurance. He was able to prove he did not promote the use of any alternative forms of pain management or undertake any treatment outside of the realm of his chiropractic qualifications. However, the regulating body determined that Mike’s advertisement was not clear enough in explicitly stating the terms and conditions of the discounted offer. The regulating body also found that the area that Mike had claimed ‘specialisation’ in was not justified as his qualifications didn’t reflect this.
Mike was given until a future date to rectify his advertising, which he attended to straight away. The cost of the legal panel assisting Mike with his response to the allegations amounted to thousands of dollars, but fortunately Mike’s Professional Indemnity Insurance covered the cost of these. Mike was also very fortunate to not have a financial penalty imposed by the regulating body, but perhaps without appropriate legal representation, this would also not have been the case.
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*All names used in this article have been changed for privacy reasons.
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This information is intended to provide general insurance related information only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it, or should it (under any circumstances) be construed as constituting legal advice. You should seek independent legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the contents of this information. Aon will not be responsible for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or anyone else incurs in reliance on or use of any information contained in this article.