Dr Xanthoula Maitou, dentolegal consultant at Dental Protection, looks at how our claims handling teams worked hard to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting our levels of assistance for you
Dental Protection’s purpose, as a mutual organisation, is to look after the careers, reputation and financial security of you, our members, around the world.
During the coronavirus pandemic – with all its many implications for dental practitioners – we have been working hard to support you however we can, by keeping our level of service to the high standards you have come to expect.
In particular, our claims department had to adapt rapidly to the changes imposed by the lockdown measures all over the world, which included the restrictions to the reopening of dental practices and the gradual resumption towards normal service.
Continuing to help you
Our team members quickly adapted to working from home and, via different communication channels, have continued to support and assist members with ongoing cases. Most of our correspondence with members, courts and solicitor firms, has moved effectively to email or telephone since postal services have been impacted.
On the other hand, our team of dentolegal consultants that work with the claims department were still able to have in-depth, lengthy and, above all, useful conversations with members for their cases. What we found was that access to members during normal working hours was much easier, due to either not working or seeing a reduced number of patients. While these workplace circumstances were obviously very difficult for members, there was one notable benefit in that our conversations were arguably more focused and productive, with members not being otherwise distracted by worries about patients building up in the waiting room, as might have been the case pre-COVID-19.
At Dental Protection, we have adapted our usual practices by relaxing our stance on pre-action deadlines, to account for the inevitable delays from the unprecedented circumstances we are in. Members who had a claim against them can feel confident that we would not have allowed the investigation of their claim to be prejudiced by difficulties COVID-19 may have presented.
In general, the world of litigation has pulled together to navigate its way through COVID-19. The lockdown presented difficulties obtaining hard copies of records, radiographs and study models, which then affected the ability to obtain timely expert reports. As some dental practices were not able to open to patients for a lengthy period of time, claimant examinations by experts had to be postponed and rearranged when practices reopened. In personal injury claims, large insurers have reached agreements with claimant firms to allow all the parties breathing space to fully investigate claims, both as a claimant prior to instigating a claim and as a defendant prior to serving a response. This agreement also extended to claims in litigation and court timetables that had been set.
As restrictions to prevent virus transmission gradually ease, you can rest assured that we will continue to provide you with the highest standard of service. We have demonstrated that we can and will successfully adapt to any further changes that may be required in the future.