Five Reasons a Physician or Surgeon will Purchase an “Occurrence” Policy Rather than a “Claims-Made” policy for Medical Malpractice Insurance

Physicians and surgeons will most likely purchase an “occurrence” policy to cover their medical malpractice insurance exposure in the following situations:

  • They are just beginning their practice and are not sure of their career path;
  • They are practicing part-time;
  • They are working for someone else and do not want to be stuck purchasing a tail policy if they leave;
  • They are close to retirement;
  • They are working in Florida but plan to move to another state in a few years.

What is an occurrence policy? An occurrence policy protects a physician or surgeon from a lawsuit based on an incident which occurred while the medical malpractice insurance policy is in force. The medical malpractice insurance policy then covers those incidents forever. For example, a physician or surgeon purchases a medical malpractice insurance policy on an occurrence form in 2010 and treats client X in 2011 and then terminates the policy in 2012. In 2014, Client X sues the physician or surgeon for an incident that occurred in 2011. The physician or surgeon is covered, because he was insured in 2011, the year he treated client X. With an occurrence form of medical malpractice insurance, it does not matter if the physician or surgeon is covered when the lawsuit is brought against him.

Barbara Gracey Backer
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 (561) 404-5746 or at

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