All of the major dental malpractice insurance companies for dental professionals offer ways to reduce premium, as a way to attract and keep good dentists. Generally, a premium is based on your specialty, location, limits of liability, and actuarial data.
The following are ways you can reduce your premium:
- Risk Management – Most dental malpractice insurance companies offer a Risk Management Course, either live or on-line. Successful completion of the course generally reduces your premium by 5%, and, hopefully, reduces your likelihood of having a claim.
- Loss-Free Discount – If you have been with a company for five or more years, and have remained claims-free, you may be eligible for a discount. The size of the discount varies by company, and range from 1% to 20%. Discounts can be reduced or eliminated if you have had a claim which was successfully defended, but for which defense costs were incurred.
- New-To-Practice Credits – A new dentist just out of residency may qualify for a credit of up to 50% for the first year, gradually coming down to no credit in the fifth year, at which time the dentist is eligible for the claims-free credit.
- Part-Time Credit – Available for a dentist who works 20 or less hours per week. Some companies have a minimum age requirement, usually age 55.
- Temporary Suspension of Coverage – If you need to take a break from your practice, because of illness, military service, or maternity, some companies will allow you to suspend your policy and pay a minimal premium, generally 15%. Your policy must generally remain in a suspended status for a minimum of 3 months.
- Society Credit – Some carriers give a credit for being a member of a National, State or Specialty Society. Some companies require such membership to apply for coverage.
The dental malpractice insurance marketplace is “soft” now, meaning there is competition among carriers and rates are relatively low. The marketplace is cyclical, however, and we have been in this cycle for about seven years. A turn in claims frequency or severity could impact rates in the future. As always, you want to balance premium with quality, as a strong defense culture trumps all if you have a claim.
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.