What questions should you really be asking about insurance carriers?

Posted by | July 29, 2014 | No Comments

The primary reason for purchasing malpractice insurance is to protect yourself from a financial loss in the event of a claim being filed against you. Therefore, your number one concern should be whether or not an insurance company is capable of properly defending you.

Questions to ask your broker about potential insurance carriers are:

Is the carrier financially sound?   You can obtain NAIC reports from your broker to review each carrier’s financials from the previous year.

What is their financial rating?  Most carriers with strong financial profiles will obtain a rating from A.M. Best or Demotech, Inc.

Do they offer cyber liability coverage?  Several carriers will offer coverage to protect against a lost laptop with patient records, rogue employees, billing errors and loss of data. Often times for no additional premium.

Do they cover the defense costs?  Even if a claim is non-meritorious, there will still be costs incurred to represent you. To be certain you are not responsible for any legal fees you want to make sure that your coverage offers defense costs in addition to your limits of liability.

Will they charge a deductible?  The ideal situation is to have “first-dollar coverage” provided to you. Meaning you will have zero out-of-pocket expenses

Are they familiar with the malpractice insurance landscape in my state?  It is important that your carrier be familiar with malpractices cases in your state and knows how to handle claims if/when they come about.

What law firm will the carrier use if I have a claim filed against me?  You want to make sure you have a legal team that is experienced and knowledgeable with medical malpractice cases.  Many carriers will allow you to choose your own representation.

Does their policy offer consent to settle?  If a policy does not include this clause the insurance company has the right to settle a case without your consent. If it does include this option, you have the final say as to whether or not to settle the case.

How many physicians do they insure in my state?  While certain information is confidential, your broker should be able to obtain the number of physicians an insurance carrier insures in your state.

Why should I shop my policy now?

  • For peace of mind knowing that you are properly protected.
  • Your practice situation may have changed.
  • You may qualify for discounts now that you previously did not.
  • You may have transitioned from full-time and qualify for a part-time credit that you are not receiving.
  • An open claim may have closed or been dismissed with no payment.
  • Claims that once affected your premium may no longer be a factor.
  • New carriers may have entered the marketplace in your state (which they often do) and offer equal or better coverage at a lower premium for your respective specialty.

We speak to physicians everyday who have never had their coverage explained to them or have never received offers from other companies to compare. Most times they work either directly with their current carrier and have minimal correspondence throughout the year, or their broker does not shop their coverage and automatically renews each year.

We are currently in a buyer’s (soft) market and there has never been a better time to shop your coverage. Carriers are offering top-tier policy features and want to work with both claims-free physicians and those with claims issues, and are willing to offer attractive rates in order to earn their business.

You should be receiving offers from your current broker every year prior to your renewal making you aware of all of your options and outlining the details of your policy. If you are not or if you have questions about your current policy and would like to ensure that you are receiving the most cost-effective coverage available just complete the quote form here for a free, no obligation market and premium review.

To contact the author, call 800-457-7790 and ask for Myles Donnell.

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