Behavioral Health – News and Views

First, we want to recognize that the social worker profession is noble and founded on service, integrity, and clinical expertise. At times, it can be a stressful and hazardous occupation. The nation is grateful for what you do. AND SO ARE WE! Thank you!

Here is the key takeaway of this article.

2024 brings robust growth for behavioral health practitioners and many related factors.
The Outlook

Social problems and behavioral health problems are rapidly growing in the nation. Read any news article or online media and see the varied issues. There are too many to discuss in this article, so we consider social and behavioral health problems.

As a response, practitioners must diffuse the incident first and then provide clinical treatment.

Interaction with people is a crucial element, which is personal and subjective. It, therefore, heightens the liability risk in unpredictable and potentially severe ways. Regardless of blame or guilt, lawsuits may or may not arise, but all situations require legal defense.

This growth has increased the demand for all categories of practitioners, as well as the demand for liability insurance coverage. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook published the following regarding social workers:

  • 2022 to 2032 will be a 7% average annual growth rate in social worker jobs
  • 728,600 social workers in 2022
  • There will be 63,800 job openings per year, which includes new and replacements.
  • The median pay was $55,350 in 2022

Preferra Insurance Company’s strategic assessment of the social worker occupational sector is that this market is price sensitive, needs liberal and comprehensive liability coverage that is inexpensive, and is easy to buy. Preferra leads the industry in all of these areas. You can even buy a policy from Preferra online and immediately receive a certificate on your cell phone.

Nearly all of Preferra’s competitors have seen considerable increases in premiums and reductions in sub-limits. Actuarially speaking, competitors lump the social worker and behavioral health occupations in with high-risk and severe medical malpractice occupations. Only Preferra has never had a premium increase and has expanded its policy coverage with no incremental cost to the policyholders.

Here are the published occupational labor results from a 2020 SAMSHA study regarding 1.2 million of the most prominent sub-segments of behavioral health providers in the U.S. as of May 2021 from the U.S. Department of Labor:


Behavioral Health Sub-Segement


Social and Human Service Assistants


Child, Family, and School Social Workers


Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, Mental Health Counselors


Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors


Healthcare Social Workers


Mental Health Social Workers


Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers


Psychiatric Technicians


Rehabilitation Counselors


Community Health Workers


Clinical and Counseling Psychologists


School Psychologists


Marriage and Family Therapists


Psychiatric Aides


Counselors, All Others




Psychologists, All Others

Among non-medical doctors, the average annual income was as follows:


Average Annual Income



Social Workers




Counselors (Health & Community)


Rehab and Social Service Assistants


Psychiatric Aides


The Risk

Clinical therapy has always occurred in the office venue and outside of the office. In many cases, treatment in venues outside of the traditional office setting enhances therapy and is more effective.

However, with the advent of COVID-19, the modality has changed even more. Even before COVID, we increasingly saw therapy sessions outside the traditional office.

Moreover, the paradigm shift from COVID-19 increasing the use of external therapy sessions has increased the demand for a robust general liability policy that covers the incidents that occur inside the office, such as a slip-and-fall, but also covers incidents that occur outside the office, such as theft of a client’s property when participating in a session, or some other injury or loss outside of the office during the therapy session. Only Preferra’s general and professional liability policies follow you across all venues where you provide therapy.

The Insurance Policy Contract

Here is a brief set of “Got Ya” items to watch out for when shopping for a professional liability or general liability insurance policy that is not a Preferra policy:

  • You will not be covered for sexual misconduct that your contractors and employees commit.
  • You will not be automatically covered for divorce litigation liability.
  • You will not be covered for fire liability over $350,000 and will be limited to only one incident.
  • You will sustain annual premium rate hikes.
  • You will be underwritten for general liability and charged higher premiums based on the number of offices, employees, office square footage, common office
    building areas, number of states, and employees.
  • Your claims under the policy will be contested by non-social workers and people driven to deny claims to satisfy Wall Street earnings expectations.
  • Your insurance carrier will be a publicly owned company preoccupied with cost savings and profits and only interested in minimizing or denying your insurance claims.

In 2024, be prepared for premium rate hikes and tightened and reduced policy benefits for your insurance carriers, but not from the Preferra Insurance Company Risk Retention Group. Its policyholders own Preferra, so profits are plowed back into the policyholders for their benefits through claims relief, frozen premiums, and expanded comprehensive benefits.

Thank you for all that you do! Your profession is genuinely noble and needed now more than ever. Good luck, and stay healthy!