Over the last 12 months as we have battled against the worst global pandemic in more than a century, community pharmacy found itself firmly on the front line, offering an ever expanding range of vital services to the public.
As a result, it has become vulnerable to a number of previously unknown jeopardies associated with this new virus, from enforced closures due to contamination, COVID testing and delivery of urgent medicines through to discrimination issues related to the wearing of masks and the provision of vaccinations.
NPA Insurance (NPAI) has been working relentlessly throughout these challenging times, drawing on its extensive in-house legal expertise and knowledge of community pharmacy, both to protect members against the more familiar risks faced within their usual daily environment, as well as to identify and mitigate emerging risks associated with the pandemic to protect its members and ensure that they can remain open to provide their vital services.
It is the unique nature of NPAI’s approach to business that has allowed it to react in such an agile and responsive way – by putting its claims service at the very heart of the business. Chief Operating Officer Lisa Banks says: “We are passionate about providing an exceptional claims handling service and going the extra mile for our customers, to safeguard their businesses and reputations. We understand that receiving a claim for damages is extremely challenging, both professionally and personally. Our in-house claims team is staffed by highly experienced, qualified lawyers who are able to provide expert legal advice from the very first call to the conclusion of the claim, ensuring our customers receive the best service and support when they need it the most.”
As the pandemic took hold during 2020 and its policy holders found themselves on the front line, the NPAI team has responded dynamically to the continually evolving operating environment that they have found themselves in, factoring in additional support and emergency responses. During the various lockdowns, NPAI has been able to reassure NPA members with a Pharmacover policy that they are covered for an enforced closure and that they will be fully supported by its in-house claims team throughout any period of disruption, such as the need for a deep clean. In recent months, its legal experts have guided members on the increasingly contentious issue of wearing masks in retail outlets and associated risk of discrimination claims. Now, as community pharmacy is becoming more and more involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, NPAI is working closely with those members setting up vaccination centres to ensure that they are properly protected from potential risk.
One member who has very recently benefited from the efforts of the NPAI team is Rajesh Patel, CEO of Hollowood Chemists. He says: “I have recently undergone the extremely complex process of setting up three vaccination centres to administer Covid vaccines to our local communities. The service and unwavering, round the clock support received from the indemnity team at NPAI has been exemplary and well beyond the call of duty. I always thought that establishing my first pharmacy store many years ago was the most challenging experience in my career, but the complexities of setting up the vaccination centres have proved even more testing. The NPAI team drew on their legal expertise and risk assessment experience to help me navigate these challenges and made the process as easy as possible for us. I could not have done it without them and all this at the same time as continuing to provide their first class claims service.”
Paul Coleman, MD of NPA Insurance, is understandably proud of the outstanding service his claims team provides and the exceptional way it has supported members during such a challenging year. He says: “COVID required our claims team to respond dynamically and empathetically to the rapidly evolving operating environment pharmacists found themselves in. This meant that, as well as dealing with ‘business as usual’, the team was at the forefront of shaping bespoke covers and offering up-front advice on a wide variety of subjects and potential jeopardies. This proactive mitigation of risk was central to the all-important driver of keeping pharmacies open during the crisis and that work carries on today.”