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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Can I switch Dental Malpractice Insurance Carriers without jeopardizing my coverage?


We are asked this question all the time. The Florida dentist will say to us: “I know you have a better dental malpractice insurance policy with a better dental malpractice insurance company for a better price. But…I have been told that, if I switch dental malpractice insurance companies, I will have a gap in my malpractice insurance coverage. And, I have been told by other dental malpractice insurance agents that I may have to buy an expensive “tail”. Are there scenarios true?”

The answer is NO. Florida dentists switch dental malpractice insurance carriers all the time. The market for dental malpractice insurance is in constant flux. Dental malpractice companies come and go. Companies raise malpractice rates and reduce malpractice rates. Dentists move from office to office, open their own practices, and retire from the practice of dentistry.

It is easy to change carriers, as long as you watch out for a few simple things. Do NOT change your retroactive date—the date when coverage first began. The new dental malpractice insurance carrier can provide retroactive coverage, maintaining your original retroactive date. If you are switching from an occurrence dental malpractice policy to a claims-made one, the new dental malpractice carrier will set the retroactive date at the start of the claims-made policy. If you are retiring, your agent should have you in the position where you are eligible for a free tail.
The dental malpractice insurance market is competitive now, as new carriers enter and reduce premiums to gain market share. Know your options. Call Gracey-Backer, Inc. for a no-obligation review of your dental malpractice insurance program. Switching dental malpractice carriers has never been so easy.

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.

Does it Matter which Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance Company I Choose for My Malpractice Insurance?


Florida physicians and surgeons ask us all the time which physician malpractice insurance company they should choose for their medical malpractice insurance. There are many medical malpractice insurance companies from which to choose. Some are more expensive than others. Some are new; some have been here for a long time. Some market aggressively in Florida, touting that they are the best for the Florida physician and surgeon. The decision as to which malpractice insurance company to best insure you and your unique situation is a very important one—one which can severely impact your future.

As a Florida agent who specializes in the sales and service of physician and surgeon malpractice insurance for over thirty years, I can offer some thoughts:
First, choose a physician and surgeon malpractice insurance company that has a laser focus on your specialty. Be sure the company focuses its resources on you, because you want the company to understand your particular needs as a Florida physician and surgeon. You do not want to take a back seat to other specialties—dentists, homeowners, chiropractors, contractors, etc. A lack of focus on the Florida physician and surgeon can weaken the malpractice insurance company’s ability to properly defend you, the Florida physician, should a claim occur.
Second, it is important to select a physician and surgeon malpractice insurance company with a long history of insuring and defending physicians. Nothing trumps experience in defending Florida physicians and surgeons. A new malpractice company may place all its resources on marketing and lack experience in the “nitty- gritty” of defending you if you have a claim—which is why you purchase malpractice insurance in the first place.

Third, choose a Florida medical malpractice insurance company that fights claims aggressively. If the Florida medical malpractice insurance company has the reputation for “rolling over” when you have a claim, the ramifications for you can be disastrous. You don’t want your name to wind up in the National Practitioner’s Data Bank because your malpractice insurance company did not defend you aggressively.

And finally, choose a physician and surgeon malpractice company that can help you prevent claims in the first place—through effective risk management or patient safety programs. Claims are very traumatic, even if you win and even if they are frivolous. You want a Florida malpractice company that helps you do everything in your power to avoid a lawsuit. Some malpractice companies will give a substantial credit for successful completion of a risk management course.

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.

I am a Florida General Dentist who places implants. Should Dental Malpractice Insurance Companies charge me more for my Dental Malpractice Insurance?


Most of the major dental malpractice insurance companies are “rating up” for dentists who place implants in their dental patients. This is a trend in dental malpractice insurance that is likely to continue and may well grow worse. As more dentists perform implant surgery, the complications from such treatment has climbed. In many cases, implants which were formerly placed only by oral surgeons and periodontists, who have experience in bone and soft tissue surgery, are now being placed by general dentists. Some of these dentists may not have routine experience in performing oral and periodontal surgery. Regrettably, this lack of experience has led to complications in implant-related surgery—and to more lawsuits and higher dental malpractice insurance premiums.

Some of the blame for rising dental malpractice insurance premiums may rest on the training the dentist receives. Many dental clinicians receive their implant training from CE courses offered by companies selling the implant product. These courses may not offer the hands-on experience that dental schools offer in their curriculum. Sometimes, the success of the implant is exaggerated so the dentist is not prepared for a complication. All of this is a concern to dental malpractice insurance companies.

In addition, the weak economy is forcing some dentists to be more aggressive in their placement of implants than recommended. Implants are being placed by dentists in compromised sites on compromised patients with inadequate bone and soft tissue. These added dental implant procedures and aggressive protocols require more extensive training than may be in place for routine implant placement. As one dentist said, “the more complicated the case, the more potential for complications”. Regrettably, some dentists today lack the training, skill and experience to be able to respond to unanticipated complications. This aggressive treatment protocol can lead to dental malpractice insurance claims.
For years now, most dental malpractice insurance companies took a “wait and see” approach to determining rates for placement of dental implants. They treated most dentists the same, or rated up based on the types of anesthesia the dentist used. Now, the dental malpractice insurance companies are seeing a rise in dental malpractice lawsuits for the reasons stated above. Rates are reflecting the inherent risk in placing implants and the resulting complication—which may be minimal, reversible, or irreversible in nature.

As dental malpractice insurance rates rise, many dentists who place a small number of implants are being forced to discontinue the procedures. Others are biting the bullet and paying the higher dental malpractice premiums, so they may continue to practice implant surgery. The important thing is to compare dental malpractice companies, rates, and coverage to find the policy that best fits your needs. We at Gracey-Backer, Inc. represent the finest dental malpractice carriers and can help you find the policy and premium that best suits you.

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.

Do I need to Schedule my Jewelry and Fine Arts on a Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?


We are asked by Florida homeowners if there is an advantage to scheduling their jewelry and fine arts on a Florida homeowner’s insurance policy. The answer is not so simple.

Blanket vs. Scheduled Jewelry and Fine Arts: If you have a large amount of smaller valued items, it is probably best to cover them on a blanket basis. There are internal per item sub-limits of coverage, however, so if you have a more valuable piece, it is best to schedule it.

If you have a claim on a blanket policy, the insurance company asks for proof of ownership and verification of the item’s value. This can be difficult, as the item may be inherited or received as a gift.

Scheduled Coverage – If you “schedule” an item such as jewelry or fine arts, you agree on the value in advance. If the item is lost, stolen, or destroyed, the insurance company pays the agreed amount for that item. If the market value of the item has increased beyond the coverage amount, the insurance company may provide coverage for up to 150 percent of the original, scheduled amount.

In-vault jewelry is rated lower than jewelry out of the bank vault.

In the cases of jewelry and fine arts, we always recommend scheduling. It is best to agree on a value in advance.

Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in all lines of personal insurance, and has since 1925. For a no-obligation quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance, boat insurance, or umbrella insurance policies, please contact us 561-276-6055 or 800-272-6055 and ask for personal lines. Or you can email us at insurance@gbifl.com.

If I live on the Second Floor of a Condominium do I still need to purchase Flood Insurance in Florida?


This is a question we are asked all the time by Florida homeowners. The answer is simple—yes you should purchase flood insurance even if you are on upper stories of a new condominium. This is especially true if your building is located near the ocean.

The biggest flood exposure you have is if we experience a major hurricane or tidal surge which undermines the structure of the entire building. In this case, if water damages your unit, your flood insurance policy will respond. In addition, your policy will respond if the condo association’s flood master policy is insufficient to cover damage to the common elements and you are assessed for the difference. While these risks are rare, they would be catastrophic if they occurred.

You need to check with the Property Manager of your building to see if there is a Master Flood Insurance Policy in force. The master policy will help us know much coverage can be written on your additions and alterations and on your contents. The property manager should also the elevation certificate on hand, which is needed for a flood insurance quote if the property is located in a high-risk flood zone.

Remember that a Florida Condominium Unit Owner’s Insurance Policy does NOT cover the peril of flood. Many Florida condominium owners have the false impression that they are fully covered for hurricanes without taking the risk of flooding into account.

Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in all lines of personal insurance, and has since 1925. For a no-obligation quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance, boat insurance, or umbrella insurance policies, please contact us 561-276-6055 or 800-272-6055 and ask for personal lines. Or you can email us at insurance@gbifl.com.

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