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What is Medical Professional Liability Insurance?


Professional liability insurance, also known as medical malpractice insurance, for the Physician or Surgeon provides coverage for errors or omissions while the physician is performing according to his professional license.

The practicing physician or organization is generally the name insured.

Coverage under the physician and surgeon professional liability policy assumes that a policy is in force and that the claim comes within the scope of the policy. It also assumes that the claim is reported in a timely fashion and that there is no other coverage.

Coverage on the Physician and Surgeon professional liability (medical malpractice insurance) insurance policy is similar to other general liability policies:

  • It promises to indemnify the insured physician or surgeon for damages for which he is found legally liable, including the payment of a judgment negotiated by the insurance company, up to the limits of liability stated on the policy.
  • It pays legal defense and mediation costs incurred by the insured physician or surgeon. The malpractice insurance company generally has the right to choose the attorney and run the defense. This right includes the decision to settle or litigate the case. Some professional liability (malpractice) policies have a “consent to settle” provision, which allows the insured some say in the decision to settle. In any case, the insured physician has an obligation to cooperate with the insurance company in the conduct of his defense.

Generally, professional liability is not covered by the commercial general liability policy. In rare cases, it is added by endorsement; however, it is better to have a standalone policy.

Barbara Gracey Backer


Barbara Gracey Backer is the Vice-President of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Professional and Personal Insurance. She may be contacted at 800-272-6055 X118 or at barbara@gbifl.com.

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