The cost of medical malpractice insurance in Florida varies depending on the type of practice a doctor has, where it is located, claims, the limits of liability on the medical malpractice insurance policy, and a number of other factors which are listed below.
Medical specialty: Neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, orthopaedic surgeons, obstetricians, and emergency medicine doctors will pay premiums that are higher than average for medical malpracitce insurance. This is because patients are more likely to have complications or because they have more serious illnesses or injuries.
Location of the practice: A physician in Duval county will pay less for his malpractice insurance than a physician in Dade county, assuming their specialty is the same.
Tort Reform: If the doctor’s state has enacted meaningful medical malpractice tort reform legislation, and if claim amounts are capped by statute, medical malpractice insurance premiums will be lower than they were without tort reform.Caps on how much money patients injured by a doctor’s mistake can receive were declard unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court on June 8, 2017. These caps were put into place in 2003.
Limits of liability: Higher limits of liability on a medical malpractice insurance policy result in higher medical malpractice insurance premiums.
Claims experience: If a doctor has experienced claims activity, his or her Florida medical malpractice insurance premium will reflect this experience.
Risk profile: Medical malpractice insurance companies are concerned about the number and types of surgeries a physician performs. Physician malpractice insurance policies will be rated accordingly.
Policy provisions: Some medical malpractice insurance companies offer more robust policies but have higher premiums than others, which offer more stripped-down policies.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Premium Credits
The following are examples of credits often available for physician and surgeon medical malpractice insurance in Florida:
Loss Free Credit — Available if the physician or surgeon has not had a claim in 3, 5, 10 or even 20 years. Credits vary, but can be as much as 25% of the medical malpractice insurance base premium, especially if there is competition from other medical malpractice insurance carriers.
New-To-Practice Credit – Physicians and surgeons who are just beginning their practice have very little exposure to malpractice claims. The first year malpractice insurance premium discount is often as much as 50%. Premium credits diminish over time and, after a period, are no longer available as the physician is no longer new-to-practice.
Risk Management Credit – Some medical malpractice insurance companies offer credits for taking an approved risk management course. Sometimes there is a charge for taking the course. Sometimes it is offered at no charge. Credits are normally 5-10% of the malpractice insurance premium and are good for a few years, at which time the course must be taken again. Courses are offered live or on-line. We highly recommend that a Florida physician or surgeon take a risk management course to reduce the likelihood of having a claim. Remember, medical malpractice claims are awful, no matter who is at fault and no matter the outcome.
Board Certification Discount – This discount is available to physicians and surgeons who successfully complete their board certification. Different medical malpractice insurance carriers give different credits.
Part-Time Credit – A physician or surgeon may receive a sizeable credit on malpractice insurance for working reduced hours, depending on the company. Credits range from 25% to 50% for physicians or surgeons working 20 hours or less per week.
Large Group Credit – Physicians and surgeons who work as part of a larger group may receive premium credits simply for being part of a group. Competitive pressures force many companies to apply significant credits to take a large group from a competitor.
Society Credits – Some medical malpractice insurance companies specialize in putting together malpractice insurance programs for groups of similar specialty physicians. There can also be credits for belonging to a national, state, county or local medical society.
Discretionary Credits – Most medical malpractice insurance carriers can apply discretionary credits depending on how badly they wish to secure or retain a piece of business.
It is important that you ask about receiving maximum credits. We have seen many cases where a physician or surgeon, simply by asking, has been able to reduce the cost of his malpractice policy, especially if he is in a good bargaining position with a clean record and a preferred specialty. At Gracey-Backer, Inc., we specialize in securing the highest quality medical malpractice insurance for our physician and surgeon clients at the best price. We have been serving the physicians and surgeons of Florida since 1925. Our team of professionals works tirelessly so you, the Florida physician and surgeon, can focus on what you do best.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.