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Issues with “Tail” Coverage in Medical Malpractice Insurance


It has been our experience that physicians and surgeons in Florida do not fully understand how “tail” coverage works in medical malpractice insurance. The issue of medical malpractice insurance tail coverage is complicated, and there is much misinformation out there. If you are a Florida physician or surgeon purchasing medical malpractice tail coverage or if you are a Florida physician or surgeon changing medical malpractice insurance companies, you need to fully understand the tail implications of your move. Many insurance agents and brokers in Florida do not fully understand the issue of tails either, so be careful.

DOES A FLORIDA PHYSICIAN OR SURGEON WHO HAS JUST PURCHASED A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE TAIL POLICY OR HAS JUST BEEN GIVEN A FREE TAIL HAVE THE SAME INSURANCE HE OR SHE HAD BEFORE?

In general, if a Florida physician or surgeon has a medical malpractice claim brought against him or her during the time specified in the tail policy, then, typically, the claim is covered. But, the physician or surgeon may not have the same coverage that he or she had when the policy was active and prior to the moment he or she purchased the tail insurance.

The following coverages could be lost when a physician or surgeon moves from regular malpractice insurance policy to a tail policy:

  • There could be a problem if there is an ongoing claim with current carrier and a medical board complaint is brought for that incident. Coverage for the board complaint could be denied.
  • Elimination of the “consent to settle clause”.
  • Movement of medical malpractice defense costs to inside the limits of liability.
  • Removal of cyber liability and regulatory liability coverage.
  • Removal of employment practices liability coverage, if on the primary policy.
  • Limits of liability are not reinstated.

The issue of a tail policy is very complicated. Many insurance agents who do not specialize in medical malpractice insurance do not understand it. A Florida physician and surgeon needs to work with a professional insurance agent who has had years of experience in this and other complex medical malpractice issues. Call a professional at Gracey-Backer, Inc. today. You will receive a comprehensive analysis of your current coverage as well as ways to improve either the medical malpractice coverage or the premium, if possible. Remember that quotes are free.

John Gracey Backer, CPA


John Gracey Backer, CPA, is the Treasurer of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Malpractice, Professional and Personal Insurance for the Healthcare Provider. He can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 128, or at john@gbifl.com.

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