Insurance FAQs

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Why have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

If you teach or assess outside school or college premises it is unlikely to be covered by institutional policies. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides cover for the legal costs, compensations and expenses in defending a claim against you, if you are alleged to have provided inadequate advice or services.

Who should have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

If you hold a qualification which meets the requirements for Full or Associate member of Patoss and are doing any teaching or assessment work privately you must be insured under the terms of Patoss membership. If the teaching or assessment work you are doing is not covered by your current employer or by any other policy, you should be insured under the terms of Patoss membership.  It would be wise of you to ask to see a copy of your employer’s policy to confirm you are covered.

What does Professional Indemnity Insurance cover?

Professional Indemnity Insurance for teaching and assessment work undertaken on a private or self-employed basis, in brief the cover includes

  • Legal Liability arising from a breach of Professional Duty by individual members
  • Libel/Slander
  • Dishonesty
  • Loss of Documents

 These are individual policies so each member can choose the limit of indemnity £1 million, £2 million, or £5 million with premiums based on the policy limit selected. For more information on professional indemnity insurance see this website:

How does it work?

On top of the membership fee there is a small annual administrative surcharge payable to Patoss. The premium for insurance is handled and paid for separately between the member and the insurance agents which Patoss facilitates, with an introduction, and proof of Patoss Membership.

 What is Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Professional Indemnity Insurance provides cover for you against claims where the allegation of a mistake, error or omission may lead to a third party suffering a financial loss. This can include but is not restricted to circumstances arising from professional negligence, unintentional breaches of copyright or confidentiality and loss of documents or data. To minimise the risk of a claim or any allegation of negligence, you should ensure that any advice, guidance or tuition you offer is within the scope of your qualifications or fields of professional practice. While maintaining a suitable level of Professional Indemnity insurance is a mandatory requirement of Patoss for you to appear in the Patoss Tutor Assessor Index, it can also demonstrate a professional commitment from you to ensure that the right levels of advice and professional service are offered.

Is Professional Indemnity Insurance covered through the cost of my annual Patoss membership?

No. Professional Indemnity premiums are payable in addition to the membership fee but combined are typically lower than Professional Indemnity premiums without the Patoss Insurance Scheme.

Who do I pay my Professional Indemnity Insurance premiums to?

Professional Indemnity premiums are paid directly to Arthur J Gallagher, the insurance broker.  This is in addition to the membership fee and administration charge payable to Patoss.  Once membership is confirmed with Patoss an invitation to join the insurance scheme together with forms are sent to you from Arthur J Gallagher.

Why can’t I just pay it in one go to Patoss?

Patoss is not an insurance broker and can only give members access to these specifically negotiated reduce rate. As each policy is unique and can be tailored to individual requirements and circumstances, the applicant must communicate and pay directly to the broker.  Patoss have been advised against holding a combined umbrella policy as any infringement from the few could affect the rate of the many. 

What is the length of time covered by my Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Any SpLD teaching or assessment you performed after the date of joining the Patoss Professional Indemnity Scheme, would be covered if you have continuously renewed your policy and membership from that date. Claims relating to services provided prior to 1 January 2000 or the effective date of your joining the scheme would not be covered. If there has been a break in your policy because you did not renew one year then your cover starts from the last unbroken period of continuous insurance.

Is Patoss getting a commission from the providers of the Professional Indemnity Insurance?

No. Patoss receives no commission for arranging this insurance and provides it merely as a service to its members. Patoss charges an administration fee for maintaining records and communicating current membership status to the insurance providers.

Do I need Insurance to be registered on the Tutor & Assessor Index?

Yes. To be listed on the Patoss Tutor and Assessor Index members must show proof of Professional Indemnity Insurance. Whether that is through the Patoss Scheme or another Insurance broker so long as they are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

What does Claims Made basis mean?

Insurance provided on a ‘claims made’ basis means that claims must be made against the insured and notified to the insurers during the period of insurance for cover to operate, regardless of when the work was undertaken.  Any circumstances that could result in a claim (e.g. a verbal complaint or an unhappy client) must also be notified during any period of insurance.  Any notification should be made, in writing, as soon as practicable, to avoid the policy not operating fully.

Would I still be covered for historical claims if I no longer hold Professional Indemnity Insurance?

No, members are only covered while they have a current policy. If your policy or membership lapses you are no longer covered, even if you were covered when any alleged infringement or misconduct occurred. 

If I am retired do I still have to keep up Professional Indemnity Insurance?

If you are no longer teaching you would be well advised to continue to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance because an action could be brought relating to teaching or assessment you did when you were still working privately. This could be called, in insurers’ terms, the “run-off” period.

 Professional Indemnity Insurance, therefore, is available to Retired Members on a voluntary basis.

Can I continue to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance if I retire?

Yes, Patoss extend a retired membership option for Full or Associate members considering retiring at a reduced membership rate. With this comes an additional reduction in a Retired Professional Indemnity Insurance fee.

What happens about Professional Indemnity Insurance when I retire from teaching?

You may want to consider continuing your Professional Indemnity Insurance since cover is on a Claims Made basis. In other words, you must have a policy that is current in the year the claim is made. You must also have been covered by the Professional Indemnity policy in the year in which the incident occurred.

What does Patoss class as Retired?

For Patoss membership Retired means you are no longer teaching or assessing in the SpLD field at a school, college, institution of higher education or support service; and that you do not provide teaching or assessment services for private clients.  If you have retired from school teaching but still have students at home then as far as Patoss membership is concerned you are not fully retired.

If you are doing any teaching or assessment work privately, you must continue your non-retired membership category to be insured under the terms of Patoss membership.

I have heard there are additional considerations when those I have been working with are under 18. What are they?

Time limits for civil proceedings:

According to our legal helpline the time limit for civil proceedings

  • based on contract within 6 years [ i.e. for service contractually agreed]
  • personal injury within 3 years

 If the individual is under 18 then the 3year period starts from the individual’s 18th birthday. This personal injury can be construed as psychological. 

You could conclude from this that you should keep records of all students until they have reached the age of 21 or 24 if you worked with them before they were 18.

I am retired from teaching but want to be in the Tutor Index. Can I do this?

No, if you fall into the Patoss classification of retired member, then you are no longer teaching or assessing in either a school or privately, therefore you would not require your services listed in the Tutor Index.

You would however be advised to continue with Retired Professional Indemnity Insurance and Retired membership, even if you are not listed in the Tutor Index.

I have my own Professional Indemnity Insurance do I have to use the Patoss Scheme to register on the Tutor Index?

If you can demonstrate you already hold Professional Indemnity Insurance through your own broker and that they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) then you can be registered on the Tutor Index.  It is important you manage the renewal process of your Insurance policy as if it does not fall at the same time that your membership renewal is due then the system will automatically  remove you from the Index from which ever date falls first.

I am a registered educational psychologist and carry Professional Indemnity Insurance through the British Psychological Society as a requirement for professional practice, but I want to be listed in the Tutor Index.

If you are otherwise covered, we will certainly take account of your professional status as a registered psychologist and the professional indemnity insurance cover you hold.  If you are otherwise covered and provide us with evidence of such cover – to satisfy our membership requirements and insurers– you can be a Affiliate Professional Member and be listed in the Tutor Index.

I work outside the UK.  Am I covered by the Patoss Professional Indemnity Scheme?

The Patoss professional Indemnity Scheme covers the insurance covers activities worldwide with jurisdiction worldwide excluding US/Canada providing you were resident in the UK and only working temporarily overseas.If your only activities are outside the UK you should consider having Full Membership (Limited Benefits). Please see further notes relating to retired members.

If you are only temporarily working outside the United Kingdom you would be well advised to continue to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance.

I am a member of a Teaching Union, am I covered by their insurance?

The best answer to this is to contact the Union in question. To the best of our knowledge no other association offers Professional Indemnity Insurance for SpLD specialist teachers.  Union policies tend to be for Personal Injury and Public Liability, not Professional Indemnity.

Can I get other insurance through this scheme?

Additional insurance for things such as, Public Liability, Office Contents and Personal Assault are available at competitive rates through the broker. There is no additional administration fee if you wish to extend cover.

What does Pubic Liability Insurance cover?

Public Liability Insurance covers Patoss members working independently as home tutors in respect of their legal liability to members of the public for death, injury, disease, illness, mental injury, nervous shock or loss of or damage to material property. This cover is NOT provided by the Professional Indemnity policy arranged for members and is usually NOT covered under a household policy.

Exclusions are the first £100 of any one claim in respect of property damage, professional negligence (covered under Professional Indemnity Policy); Employer’s Liability.

This Public Liability Insurance cover is provided on a combined policy with the Professional Indemnity insurance.  The additional premiums are:

  • £1 million - £26.50
  • £2 million - £53.00
  • £5 million - £63.10.

How can I get Public Liability Insurance?

If you are a Patoss member you will receive details of reduced rates on Public Liability Insurance which you can purchase direct from our insurance agents.

Am I covered for Diagnostic Assessments?

It is important to understand the activities that your insurance policy covers you to undertake. While most policies aimed at teaching professionals will provide cover for tuition, you may first undertake a diagnostic assessment to identify areas of strength or weaknesses before teaching a particular topic. With Patoss full membership, you may also undertake diagnostic assessments to inform others in the support of learners. Not all insurers may cover this activity, but it is provided by Gallagher on their insurance scheme for Patoss members.

Has COVID-19 affected my insurance?

The restrictions placed upon us all because of Covid-19 have had an adverse impact on the ability to teach pupils in the usual way. Insurers have acknowledged that to adapt to the requirements of social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions, the way tuition is offered may have changed. The Professional Indemnity insurance provided by Gallagher to Patoss members, allows for teaching that is delivered remotely, or ‘virtually’. It is expected that the teacher should give adequate consideration as to whether the pupil or topic is appropriate for teaching in this way and that suitable supervision is available for the student during the session. For teaching that does take place face to face, a thorough risk assessment should be completed to ensure that any risks associated with Covid-19 are minimised, such as social distancing, handwashing and the wearing of masks where appropriate. Local and national government guidelines should be followed.

How long can I have run off cover for?

Insurers and brokers both have a consistent requirement to ensure that the cover offered is appropriate and suitable for the specific requirements of that member.

 It has been traditionally felt that 6 years would afford a sufficient level of protection for activities completed in the past. Given the potential longer term impact of tutoring those of a younger age, the value of run-off cover can be seen over a longer period meaning that those members that therefore feel it prudent to purchase run off for longer are able to do so.

What limit of indemnity should I buy?

Typical purchase limits are £1m in respect of both Professional indemnity and Public Liability. However, in the last 2-3 years  there has been an increase in the number of members purchasing higher limits particularly in relation to Professional Indemnity. To help decide which limit would be most suitable, consider the following:


  • What the cost or loss to a student could be as a result of teaching that may be deemed to be negligent. Consider the cost of retraining the individual through another tutor, or any potential longer term impact on their earnings.
  • If operating on slightly larger scale (higher turnover either through greater fees charged or a higher number of pupils taught), consider the value of your current ‘contracts’ combined. Do review any agreements in place with educational establishments or local authorities to ensure any minimum requirements they set on indemnity limits are met.
  • The cost of legal defence and professional advice is increasing. Traditional advice suggested your limit of indemnity should be at least four times your annual fees with a minimum limit of £250,000. This has matured more recently to a recommendation that you should, where possible, cover up to ten times your annual fees with a minimum of at least £500,000.

Ultimately claims against Professional indemnity policies are on the rise, both in terms of the number of incidents reported and their potential value. Your own risks should be a consideration when reviewing the prices of the higher limits.