Challenges for health and social care organisations in a changing insurance risk landscape

The digitisation of the health and social care sector means it’s time for businesses to rethink their approach to risk management


In the past 18 months, it has become clear that the digitisation of health and social care is permanent. The revolution has begun, and there is no turning back.

Something of a novelty just two years ago, remote consultations and even treatment are now commonplace and seem likely to become permanent features of healthcare in the UK.

The NHS reported a massive 912% increase in the use of its app between December 2019 and December 2020, with more than 1.9 million people accessing it during this time. Meanwhile, the number of repeat prescription requests increased 495% in 10 months.

Digitisation means changes to health and social care business insurance

In business, any structural change, never mind an overhaul like this, requires the support of insurance to make it work. By protecting them from the unexpected, insurance allows both businesses and entire sectors to take risks.

Aon spoke to decision-makers in over 60 health and social care organisations to understand how well-prepared they are for this new digital future and what role insurance is currently playing in their digital transitions.

As in most sectors, delivering excellent customer service is the top priority for most (56%) healthcare organisations. Worries about regulation and compliance come a close second (53%), reflecting the heavily regulated nature of the industry.

There appears to be a lot weighing on the minds of those working in health and social care, with company reputation (48%), impact of Covid on the business (47%) and sourcing new clients (47%) all proving key concerns.

Very few businesses have stopped buying cover (only 6% have done so), but the majority are still focused on securing traditional types of cover, such as:

  • Employer’s liability (76%)
  • Public liability (71%)
  • Professional indemnity (42%).

Health and social care providers need to prepare for the digital revolution

For a sector in the midst of a digital revolution, it is concerning that only 19% have purchased cyber or data liability cover. The risks that the health and social care sector faces are evolving at a rate not seen before, and the insurance purchased to manage and mitigate the impact of those risks needs to evolve in tandem.

Despite this, a significant proportion of business leaders have not had their insurance needs professionally assessed in recent years:

  • 42% have done so in the past year
  • 21% in the past one to two years
  • 8% in the past five years
  • 7% haven’t done so in more than five years
  • 23% don’t know when their insurance needs were last assessed

With the focus remaining on more traditional types of cover, there is a possibility that businesses in this sector are insuring against a risk landscape that is no longer relevant.

Insurance risk management for health and social care businesses can help

The best way to understand how risks are changing is to employ professional risk management services that go beyond the core H&S checks and fire safety measures. To truly understand the range of risks, how they are changing and how best to protect against them, a full 360° assessment is required.

However, more than two-thirds (65%) of businesses in the health and social care sector have never used risk management services, and only 16% currently do so.

The coming months and years will be a period of rapid and wholesale change in the sector and risk-mitigation approaches that worked in the past will no longer be appropriate.

Now is the time for health and social care businesses to pause and rethink their approach to risk before events overtake them. It is time to engage the appropriate professionals to understand what the risk landscape of the future will look like and how it can be managed.

Big Window research commissioned by Aon UK Limited, June 2021. Total sample size 637 adults.

Whilst care has been taken in the production of this article and the information contained within it has been obtained from sources that Aon UK Limited believes to be reliable, Aon UK Limited does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the article or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may rely on it. In any case any recipient shall be entirely responsible for the use to which it puts this article.

This article has been compiled using information available to us up to 25/05/22.

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