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Monthly Archives: May 2013

How Important is My Retro-Active Date?

The short answer is – very.

Every Claims-Made Professional Liability Insurance Policy has a retro-active date. For a new oral surgeon or dentist just beginning practice it should be your first day of practice. Experienced dentists may have a different retro-active date depending on their insurance history.

In most cases, a Dental Malpractice retro-active date determines how far back a bodily injury or professional injury caused by dental care will be covered by the policy. For example, a new dentist, Jane Doe, DMD begins practicing on July 1st 2012 and purchases her Dental Professional Liability policy effective July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013 with a retro-active date of July 1, 2012. On August 1st 2012 she receives an incidence notice from an attorney for dental care she performed on a patient July 3rd, 2012. This would be a covered claim under the policy – since it is within her policy period July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 and is after her retro-active date. However, if this Dentist had waited until July 5th to place her coverage into effect, the claim would NOT be covered because the claim would have occurred prior to her retro-active date and effective date.

Now, let’s say Jane joins a group on March 1st, 2013 and wants to cancel her current policy and go with the new group’s insurance. She has two options to make sure her dental care work from July 1st to March 1st is covered. She can either purchase an Extended Reporting “Tail” Endorsement which will cover her or her estate for that specific time period indefinitely or she can write the new policy with an effective date of March 1st, 2013, but with a retro-active date of July 1st, 2012. Either way she will be covered for her prior acts back to July 1st, 2012. However, if she does not pursue these options, she will be solely responsible, “out of pocket”, for both legal defense and/or any claim payments, for the period of July 1st 2012 to March 1st, 2013.

Experienced dentists may wonder why they are keeping their original retro-active when there is a statute of limitations on Dental Malpractice claims. Although the statute is important to know, it is not to be considered in determining the retro-active date as the statute may change and often varies depending on the type of circumstances or patient seen, for example the date of discovery, children and the mentally challenged.

In conclusion, the retro-active date is extremely important and should be maintained unless an Extended Reporting “TAIL” Endorsement is purchased.

Regina Walker

Regina Walker is an Agent at Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Professional and Personal Insurance for the Healthcare Provider. Regina is an Account Executive in the Dental/Oral Surgery Department. She can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 111, or at

What is Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance?

In Florida, a standard insurance company, also called an admitted carrier, is one licensed by the state, bound by rate and form regulations, and strictly regulated to prevent policyholders from abuse and fraud. Admitted carriers contribute to the Florida State Guaranty Association, which is used to pay losses if an insurance carrier becomes insolvent.

In contrast, an Excess and Surplus Lines (E&S) insurance company is not required to be licensed by the State of Florida. It can, however, conduct business in the state. E&S carriers are also referred to as non-admitted or unlicensed carriers. While they are not regulated by the Florida Department of Insurance, they are regulated in other ways.

E&S carriers cannot write business that can be written by standard, admitted carriers. They do not come under the auspices of the Florida State Guaranty Association (FIGA) and may only write a policy if it has been rejected by three admitted carriers. The State keeps a list of registered E&S companies, and policies can only be written by carriers on this list.

Because Excess and Surplus Lines carriers are not regulated in the same way as the standard carriers, they have much more flexibility to tailor coverage, charge the appropriate rate regardless of the State filing, and change coverage to accommodate that ever-changing marketplace. This is good for the consumer as well as for the company. It allows the carrier to accept risks that standard insurers refuse.

If you are with an E&S carrier, it is probably because you could not be written through the standard marketplace. The reasons include:

  • Your risk does not meet underwriting guidelines, due to age, losses, locations, or cancellation;
  • Your risk is unusual and the standard market is not comfortable with it;
  • Your risk is extremely large and the standard carriers do not have the capacity to insure it; or
  • Your limits of liability exceed the underwriting guidelines for the admitted market.

If you are insured with and E&S carrier, you will have to sign a disclosure form. This means that you understand that, if your carrier becomes insolvent, you are not protected by FIGA. The reality is that this possibility is extremely remote, although it can happen. You should pay more attention to the company’s financial strength and ability to pay a claim, not whether it is an E&S carrier.

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

Dental Student Board Exam Coverage

dental-studentYou are almost ready to start your career in dentistry, but there is still one hurdle that you must get by before graduation: your Board Exam. While preparing for this mammoth test can be a stressful time for a dental student and focus is key to passing, you want to make sure that you do not forget about one integral part of the exam: being covered by an insurance policy.

Board Exam Coverage is a short-term, typically 3 day, Professional Liability (Dental Malpractice) Insurance policy that is in effect during the time you sit for your Board Exam. Some Universities and Colleges provide coverage to students for their Board Exams. However, when your school does not provide this coverage, many Professional Liability or Dental Malpractice Insurance carriers offer this short-term coverage for a very nominal fee, and sometimes at no cost to you.

As required by the State of Florida, every dentist must carry or be covered by Dental Professional Liability Insurance any time they will be treating a patient. This vital insurance is designed to cover the professional liability exposures of oral surgeons and dentists resulting from claims of bodily injury and/or personal injury. These may occur from alleged malpractice, or errors or omissions in rendering (or failing to render) professional services.

After you pass your board exams, this short-term insurance coverage during the Board Exam can be converted to full coverage so that you can begin practicing dentistry.

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

I want to open my own medical practice. What insurance do I need to purchase?

metical-practiceOpening a private practice is expensive and involves multiple insurance issues. You will need to purchase Professional Liability Insurance to protect yourself as a practicing healthcare professional. Also known as physician malpractice insurance, it is designed to cover you for claims for alleged malpractice in rendering or failing to render professional services.

You will need Business Insurance protection for your practice. Property and Liability coverages are usually bundled together in the Business Owners Package (BOP). The BOP can be customized to fit your particular needs and is much more cost effective than if the coverages are purchased separately.

Business Automobile, Flood (excluded on BOP), Employment Practices Liability (for suits by employees), Cyber Liability (hacking of your computers), Medefense (governmental audits) and Umbrella Liability Insurance (higher general liability limits) enhance the basic protection offered by the BOP.

As a practice owner, it is very important to have a business perpetuation or succession plan in place. Buy-Sell Life and Disability Insurance address this need.

A business with four or more employees is required to purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance—to provide employees with financial compensation for medical bills and lost wages due to work-related injury or sickness. The Employers Liability coverage protects you from lawsuits involving work-related accidents or sickness. We recommend you purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance regardless of the statutory requirement.

When reviewing your Business Insurance needs, it is a good time to review your Personal Insurance Coverage (Home, Auto, Flood, Umbrella, Valuable Articles). Prices and coverages change from year to year, and a regular review is important.
Because Gracey-Backer believes in providing a complete insurance program for its clients, we can help you with all your insurance needs. The most important thing is avoiding a gap in coverage, finding the right company, tailoring the coverage to your needs, and doing all this at a competitive price.

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

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