How to solicit quotes for Outdoor Therapy program that's in pilot phase?
January 24, 2019 7:15 AM   Subscribe

I have very close ties with a local psychologist office and they're wanting to integrate an outdoor therapy program into the practice. We're looking at starting quite small and conservatively and we've gotten one quote for the pilot run of said program from the office's normal policy holder that seems really high. I suspect the quote doesn't reflect a familiarity with the field in question. How/Where do I go about getting more, and hopefully better, quotes from, ideally, agencies/brokers that are perhaps more used to this sort of thing?

Without going into too much detail I'll elaborate a bit in hopes of providing some clarity on key points.

Where/How Long: The initial trip was slated to be one or two individuals for one or two nights at a developed NPS campground (water/showers/sink but tents,pack it in/pack it out sort of thing) that's one or two hours hike from the trail head. Part of the hook for the price may be that you have to take a ferry to get to said trail head. NPS services are available for emergency needs, but you can't just jump in a car and get back to home/hospital.

Who: We were/are looking at a ratio of something like 2 or 3 adults per client. That's featuring me as the guide/Wilderness First Responder-cum-medic-just-in-case-bad-things-happen and one or two therapists and a full blown licensed PhD psychologist. I'm now learning from folks who have ties to this sort of activity (but only in the practical/client facing side, not the business / psychologist side of things sadly) that this ratio is likely both super-duper conservative since A) 1 college age guide to 5+ clients is more common, B) having a Wilderness First Responder is a really nice thing that many companies don't provide/require, and most of all C) having the licensed clinical psycholigist that is familiar with the client in the woods is bordering on 'just a thing that doesn't happen' level of rarity.

Other notes: The quote we do have, just the way they gathered the information via form letter that we had to fill out, doesn't seem to reflect a familiarity with this sort of event. An example, there was actually a field that mentioned "Who will be setting up the tents at said event?" which makes sense until you read the surrounding questions and it becomes clear that they're asking about tents for a conference or farmer's market type event not a camping scenario. There were other examples (will alcohol be served, etc) but that was one that stood out to me. It's also really high, pretty much prohibitively high such that any sort of activity like this being doable is off the table, I can't imagine how high it would be if we had more clients to bring the ratio into what I've now learned is more normal numbers. Ditto for if the event was more remote or prolonged.

Also, geographically, we're not in a spot (I'm looking at you Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Cali, etc) that this sort of thing, outdoor therapy I mean, is as common as it might be. Culturally, we might be at a disadvantage with the current broker's area of operation so getting more information isn't a bad thing.

The business is sized such that a huge legal battle would be very bad news. I guess that's most businesses that aren't Google or Target or Walmart sized, but... I guess what I'm saying is that we can't risk going out there without our asses covered such that any challenge would be fairly cut and dry, either via disclaimers/waivers on the front end (which is a different legal thing altogether that we're also leveraging as best we can) or via coverage via an insurance policy that we pay for beforehand.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks and I'll try to respond to questions as best I can.
posted by RolandOfEld to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Are there any summer camps or outdoor education centers around you that might pass along the name of their broker? I feel like someone used to insuring those places might be quicker to understand your situation. This kind of trip is pretty common in the outdoor ed field, I'm not sure how relevant the therapeutic piece is from an insurance standpoint (possible very relevant, I'm certainly not an expert).
posted by geegollygosh at 8:12 AM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

The therapists and psychologists may also want to check with their malpractice insurance to find out if it will cover them in a non-office location, and if not, how to make sure they're covered on the clinical piece of things, too. (I'm not sure what you mean by "the office's normal policy holder," so maybe the reason it's high is that it is including the malpractice insurance piece?)
posted by lazuli at 8:21 AM on January 24, 2019

Yep, similar orgs doing this are something I'd very much be interested in contacting. Sadly finding a match has eluded me thus far.

Small update: I have found that the ACA has a nice insurance provider suggestion page that I'm going to utilize in the meantime.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2019

I can recommend Pachner and Associates for insurance - we used them for a nonprofit climbing organization that takes “at risk” kids climbing. I’m not sure if they insure therapeutic outdoor programs. But if they don’t, they will know who does. Talk to Don Pachner.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:20 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm a counselor who sometimes does work outdoors with clients and has taken courses on wilderness therapy. I also provide business planning and guidance for other clinicians on things like insurance, technology, and marketing. I'm also in the early stages of planning an adult wilderness therapy program.

Check out American Professionals Association, CPH Inc, and HPSO, in that order.

It's been a year since I asked them all, but their responses were pretty unanimous that no matter where or how I practice, my insurance would cover my liability. I'd at least talk to those three companies before pursuing other quotes.
posted by MonsieurBon at 7:06 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

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