The biggest risks in senior care

Oct 2018

According to estimates by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadians spend approximately $33 billion a year to care for aging parents, and, as the nation’s aging population grows, the need for senior care facilities will continue to grow with it. Senior care facilities face a variety of threats when serving an aging and increasingly vulnerable community, including the risks associated with housing physically and mentally deteriorating residents alongside those who still maintain a high level of health and independence. “Professional liability, including medical malpractice continue to pose a significant exposure, but the biggest risks in senior care are still premises slip and falls, abuse and neglect, and patient-to-patient violence,” shares Myra Capinpin, senior underwriter with MedThree Insurance Group in Toronto. On the property side, water damage is the number one loss driver with senior care facilities, says Eugene Wangyal, senior underwriter, which ultimately impacts pricing, deductibles and insurance capacity. “[The most common cause of loss are] pipe bursts due to freezing temperature and lack of adequate heating – often a maintenance issue,” Wangyal said. When it comes to emerging risks, medical and recreational marijuana is a growing exposure with senior residences, while professional staff shortage, employee turnover, lack of leadership development and environmental risks also impact the liabilities and insurance needs of senior care facilities, explains Capinpin. However, probably most concerning are senior care facilities’ exposure to unexpected and severe natural events or evolving cyber threats, being particularly prone to breaches of electronic medical and health records as well as cyber crimes such as social engineering, ransomware, extortion and more. “We have a real risk for cyber, data breach (internal and external), reputational damage and catastrophic events, like the forest fires in British Columbia and Alberta or the Red River flood in Manitoba,” says Wangyal. Adequate coverage is a must when dealing with these types of facilities.