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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Is there an advantage to using an independent agent for dental malpractice insurance in Florida?


YES. The history of medical and dental malpractice insurance over the last twenty years is one of a shifting marketplace. Medical malpractice insurers have come and gone and come again. Today, there is a lot of competition for dental professionals of all kinds. Rates for medical and dental malpractice insurance have gone up and come down and are now stabilized, due to the effects of Florida tort reform, competition for a limited number of physicians and dentists, and effective risk management.

When new dental malpractice insurance companies come into Florida, the obvious way for them to garner business is to either purchase a medical malpractice insurer or drop rates to be competitive. This creates a buyer’s market for Florida dentists.

While a Florida dentist still has to be concerned about switching insurers too often, he or she can easily do so early in the career. After that, he or she has to be concerned about securing a free tail policy, which usually requires him to be with the same company for five or more years.

Independent dental malpractice agents represent several companies. The major players in Florida now

  • Fortress Insurance Company
  • The Doctors Company
  • Professional Solutions Insurance Company
  • Medical Protective Company
  • C N A
  • Dentist’s Advantage Insurance Company

An independent agent who is skilled in dental malpractice insurance can steer the Florida dentist to the right company. Depending on their location, specialty, claims history, nearness to retirement, and office structure, any of these excellent companies may be the best for them. And the best may change through the years.

Gracey-Backer, Inc. is one of the oldest and largest dental and physician/surgeon malpractice insurance agencies in the State of Florida. We have been through hard and soft markets. We have helped dentists and physicians with all sorts of “issues”. We have excellent relationships with most of the major dental and medical malpractice insurance companies in Florida. We are willing to shop your policy every year among our strong medical malpractice companies. Our staff is thoughtful, kind, and puts the interest of the client above all.

Because Gracey-Backer, Inc. is a “full service” insurance agency, we can also help the Florida dentist and physician with their other insurance:

  • Office Policies
  • Personal Home and Auto Insurance
  • Personal Umbrella Policies
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Please call today for a no-obligation quote. Remember…quotes are free!!

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.

The State of the Florida Market for Physician Professional Liability Insurance


Florida has always been a very important state for the medical professional liability industry. Not only are there many and varied medical professional practices in Florida, but premiums are among the highest in the country. Florida is the fifth largest state in the nation based on the size of written premiums. The counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach generate most of the medical malpractice premiums—and claims—for the State of Florida.

The Impact of Tort Reform on Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums

The significant tort reform measures of 2003 made the State of Florida a much more attractive place for physicians and surgeons and stabilized the cost of medical malpractice insurance. By placing caps on non-economic damages in Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, the tort reform initiative reduced the number and size of claim filings and award amounts. Medical malpractice insurance companies came back into the State so that, today, there are over 20 companies actively soliciting medical malpractice business in the State of Florida.

Then in June 2013, Florida legislature once again approved reforms that would make Florida a more attractive state in which physicians and surgeons could practice. As a result of the reforms, plaintiffs were required to hire expert witnesses who practice in the same specialty as the defendant. The bill, Senate Bill 1792, also allowed a physician’s attorney to secure a patient’s medical records from physicians who had previously seen the patient. The intent of this law was to minimize frivolous lawsuits, and, more importantly, make Florida a more attractive State for practicing medicine.

In 2014 and 2015, the Florida Supreme Court overturned many of the tort reforms adopted earlier in the decade. Most specifically, the courts overturned the elimination of caps on non-economic medical malpractice insurance judgments in wrongful death cases. While all signs point to a destabilization of the Florida medical malpractice insurance marketplace, rates are stable due to other factors, such as consolidation of practices, competition among carriers, and the soft market in pricing.

Major Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies in the State of Florida

The major carriers in the State of Florida are:

  • The Doctors Company
  • Medical Protective Company
  • Norcal (which recently acquired FD Insurance Company)
  • MAG Mutual Insurance Company
  • Pro Assurance Insurance Company

Premiums for Medical Malpractice Insurance in Florida have stabilized
Rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida have stabilized in recent years, the result of tort reform and competition. Those specialties paying the highest premiums in Florida are Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Ortheopedic Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Neurosurgery. The lowest rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida are enjoyed by Psychiatry, Occupational Medicine and Allergy.

While rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida are historically cyclical, many insurance industry analysts believe that the soft market, which began around 2008, characterized by low rates and low claims, will continue at least for a few more years. Changes in healthcare, such as Accountable Care Organizations and pieces of the Affordable Care Act, may contribute to the extension of the soft market for an indefinite period of time. All this continues to make the state of Florida an extremely attractive place for physicians and surgeons as well as other healthcare providers.

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The medical malpractice insurance professionals at Gracey-Backer, Inc. have been immersed in the sales and service of medical malpractice insurance since 1981. We represent the major medical malpractice insurance companies in the State of Florida. We have a depth of experience and expertise that physicians and surgeons deserve. If you have not shopped your medical malpractice insurance recently, please give us a call. Remember, quotes are FREE!!

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.

The importance of Financial Stability in Choosing a Medical Malpractice Insurance Company


The purpose of medical malpractice insurance is to defend a Florida physician or surgeon in the event of a claim and to pay a judgment if necessary. It is vital that a Florida physician or surgeon choose a medical malpractice insurance company that is financially strong—not only now but also down the road when he or she retires. Probably the most important consideration in choosing a medical malpractice insurance company in Florida is its financial strength, not the price of the premium. It is essential that the company have sufficient financial resources to pay all current and future claims against policyholders. “There’s no set of attributes that a malpractice insurance company can possess, no matter how wonderful, that can make up for insolvency”, says Richard E. Anderson, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company, a leading physician-owned medical malpractice insurer.

The consideration of financial stability is well illustrated by the failure of many medical malpractice insurance companies in the late 1990’s, when thousands of physicians lost millions of dollars in uncovered premiums. Medical Malpractice claims went unpaid. Doctors lost hospital privileges. Some Florida physicians and surgeons were unable to purchase malpractice insurance policies from the remaining standard carriers and were forced into the Florida Medical Malpractice JUA, a company normally reserved for high-risk doctors. Chaos ensued. To avoid this fate in the future, it is important that a Florida physician or surgeon look not only at the cost of medical malpractice insurance, but, more importantly, at the financial health of the insurance company.

The best place to research the financial stability of your malpractice company is with the insurance rating agencies, A.M. Best & Co., Fitch Rating, Demotech and Standard & Poor’s. The rating bureaus offer an assessment of the malpractice insurance company’s ability to pay future claims. If possible, a financial rating of A- or better is preferable. A doctor should also ask around for any rumors on the street that a malpractice insurance company might be in shaky financial shape. Their malpractice insurance agents or brokers are an excellent source of “gossip”, as they have their ears to the ground every day about the health of the companies they represent.

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.

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