The good news is there is a lot of competition now in Florida among medical malpractice insurance companies. Florida rates are “soft” and medical malpractice insurance companies need volume to compensate. The major malpractice insurance companies will throw on premium credits for good business.
The bad news is that it is often difficult for a doctor to choose the right medical malpractice insurance company for his practice in Florida. Some offer low rates, some have dividend programs, some have extra coverages that make their programs more attractive.
So how does a Florida doctor go about choosing the best medical malpractice insurance carrier in Florida?
In many cases, the choice of malpractice carriers might be made for him. If he joins an existing practice, that practice probably already has gone through the process of choosing an insurance provider and is happy with its malpractice insurance carrier. If he is employed by a hospital, he does not have to consider the implications of malpractice insurance.
But…for an independent practitioner looking for medical malpractice insurance, or for a group wishing to explore the Florida malpractice marketplace, the following should be considered:
- Quality of the company—As determined by its A.M. Best & Co. rating. Should be in the “A” range with a substantial size. Small companies may not be able to absorb a large loss.
- Length of time in the State of Florida—Important to understand the unique Florida marketplace. Talk with your peers about their experience in the Florida insurance arena.
- Premiums offered for a specialty—Probably the biggest consideration for most doctors. But beware if the medical malpractice premium is too good to be true. Some companies have the reputation of offering low premiums the first year and then increasing them later.
- Dividend or profit-sharing programs available—To reward doctors for loyalty to a malpractice insurance company. Often redeemable at retirement. An excellent forced savings plan for doctors in Florida.
- Risk management courses—To give premium credits and lessen the chances of having a claim.
- “Bells and whistles” on the malpractice policy—Such as Cyber Liability coverage, coverage for DPR events, Employment Practices Liability coverages, etc.
As we say in our office, no one regrets having the right insurance at the time of a loss. The choice of medical malpractice carriers is one of the most important considerations for a Florida doctor. The decision should be made wisely and with regard to the above important considerations.
And when should a Florida doctor re-evaluate his coverage? In a perfect world, he should review and compare his medical malpractice insurance policy with the rest of the market every year. Whenever a Florida practice changes in size, adds or drops practitioners, or has a significant change in scope, the medical malpractice insurance needs should be re-evaluated. An experienced Florida medical malpractice insurance agent can do this for the Florida doctor—at no cost or obligation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.