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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Why the lowest priced medical malpractice insurance may not be the best value for you


It is so tempting to jump at the lowest price when purchasing your medical malpractice insurance. But, as someone who has had a bad house fire, I know firsthand that, in the event of a loss or a lawsuit, you will be grateful that you are insured by the best medical malpractice insurance company, even if the malpractice insurance premium is not the lowest. And, the chances of being sued during your career are excellent. Just ask a physician who thought it could never happen to him.
There are several reasons why the lowest price medical malpractice insurance may not be best for you:

  • The medical malpractice insurance company may not be strong. It may be “buying” your malpractice insurance business. This is a shaky practice, but one that we see often. Several years ago, there were over 40 medical malpractice insurers in the state of Florida. Now there is only a handful of medical malpractice insurance companies. If a malpractice insurance company is trying to carve out a spot in the marketplace by undercutting the major malpractice insurance companies, it may very well be “gone tomorrow”, forcing you to shop for another carrier.
  • The medical malpractice insurance policy may be deficient. The company may have a substandard “trigger” for a claim. It may not include the “extras” such as DPR defense or cyber liability coverage.
  • Legal protection may be sub-par. Securing the best medical malpractice defense attorneys is very expensive. So is the business of hiring the best expert witnesses. Attorneys need to be trained in the nuances of medical malpractice defense—different from other forms of defense. Cheap insurance could well indicate inferior claims defense habits.

Our medical malpractice insurance carriers are often the most competitively priced. Sometimes they are in the middle of the pack. Sometimes they are the most expensive. We can promise you this: we always choose to represent quality regardless of price. The least expensive choice at the time of application may turn out to be the most expensive choice at the time of loss.

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.

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.

Items to Consider when Choosing a Dental Malpractice Insurance Company


In your practice of dentistry, your choice of dental malpractice insurer is one of the most important decisions you will make. There are several companies in the marketplace. Dental malpractice insurance agents are no doubt beating down your doors to sign you up with their company.

One of the most important aspects of a good dental malpractice insurance company is its focus on dentistry. If the company is primarily a writer of physician malpractice insurance, dentists could well be pushed into the background. We like companies who specialize in dental malpractice insurance. Dental malpractice insurance is all they do. If they don’t do it well, they are out of business.

In general, you should choose a dental malpractice insurance company with a strong financial position in the marketplace. You want a company with the depth of capital to manage an expensive case with a large payout. The last thing you want is a company with a shaky financial position.

Your company should be rated at least “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best & Co., the nation’s premier rater of insurance companies. Best does the research for you.
You also want a dental malpractice insurance company with great depth of experience. Nothing can take the place of experience when it comes to handling dental malpractice claims. You have the right to ask about local counsel and to look at a list of those dental malpractice attorneys who will defend you if you have a claim. You should ask about their training in dental malpractice issues. Again, you don’t want to take a back burner position to physicians and surgeons.
It is important to choose a company with a track record of writing dental malpractice insurance in your state. Each state has particular laws regulating dental malpractice insurance. Again, nothing trumps experience in a state if you are subject to a lawsuit.

The best dental malpractice insurance companies offer Risk Management Programs to help you avoid a dental malpractice claim in the first place. Going through a lawsuit is a very difficult situation. Let your dental malpractice insurance company help you avoid a claim through a dentist-specific risk management program. And, you will save money on your premium.

Many dental malpractice insurance companies offer other credits, including loss-free credits, group credits, and society credits. Be sure your agent is aware of these and communicates to you all the ways to save on your premium.

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.

What is an Accountable Care Organization?


An Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is a network of physicians and hospitals working together to offer a full range of healthcare services for patients. The ACO has emerged as the most popular healthcare delivery model of the Affordable Care Act. An ACO would meld together all the different components of patient care—primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, home health care, etc.—and ensure that all of the parts work well together. Provider reimbursements would be tied to quality improvements and reductions in the total cost of care for an assigned population of patients. The ACO would be held accountable to the patients and the third party payer for the quality, appropriateness and efficiency of the health care provided.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an ACO is ”an organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the traditional fee-for-service program who are assigned to it.”

The ACO was created with the hope of improving patient care and reducing unnecessary expenses while also allowing patients the freedom to select their own service provider. The ACO aims to incentivize hospitals, physicians, long term care facilities and other providers to coordinate the delivery of care to patients. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that ACOs could save Medicare up to $906 million in the first three years.

Providers
The ACO network is composed mainly of physicians, hospitals and healthcare professionals. Also included may be home healthcare facilities, health departments, social security departments, and safety net clinics. Any provider or provider organization may assume the leadership role in running the ACO.

Payers
The primary payer of the ACO will be Medicare, as it is a prime target for reducing the national deficit. With baby boomers retiring, healthcare costs for the elderly and disabled are expected to soar. Other payers include private insurance companies.

Patients
Medicare beneficiaries are the primary patients of the ACO. This may be stretched to include the homeless and uninsured.

Challenges
The ACO model will need to prove that the product it is creating can actually run better and reduce costs if patients and payers are going to buy it. As far as insurance goes, the major medical malpractice insurance companies are struggling to determine how to best cover the varied exposures of the ACO. The exposures are many and varied: property, workers’ compensation, directors and officers, managed care liability, professional liability, cyber liability, privacy and social media.

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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