Choosing the right company to protect your practice and your reputation is one of the most important decisions a physician or surgeon in Florida will ever have to make. Cutting corners on this decision could spell disaster in the event of large claim.
A physician or surgeon in Florida needs to have medical malpractice insurance to cover claims for medical errors, misdiagnosis, or other situations where a patient suffers injury. There are a number of companies in Florida anxious to write medical malpractice insurance for physicians and surgeons. The one you select can have important ramifications for your practice in the event of a claim.
Because we have been in the business of selling and servicing Medical Malpractice Insurance Policies in Florida since the early 1980’s, we have seen insurance companies come and go. There were once approximately 40 medical malpractice insurance carriers in Florida, lured to the state by high malpractice insurance premiums in general and loose regulation. In order to attract new business, many of them offered low prices. They marketed physicians and surgeons aggressively. They undercut the quality carriers in the state, sending the market into a tailspin. And then they abandoned the State of Florida, leaving wreckage behind and doctors unable to find quality malpractice coverage because they had chosen an uncommitted carrier.
Because we have been through the ups and downs of the Florida medical malpractice insurance market, we would like to offer a few thoughts on the subject of choosing the right Medical Malpractice Insurance Company in Florida.
First of all, choose a malpractice insurance company that has a strong rating by A.M. Best & Co., the gold standard in rating the financial strength and stability of an insurance company. The worldwide rating and information company performs a thorough vetting of each medical malpractice insurance company and rates them according to their overall strength and ability to pay claims.
Second, choose a company that specializes in coverage for physicians and surgeons. Make sure that the company’s malpractice business is not an add-on to its primary business of insuring property. You want a company who knows the Florida market and Florida doctors inside and out. You want a company who knows Florida medical malpractice defense attorneys. After all, if you have a claim, you will be at the mercy of the defense attorney the company chooses to defend you. You want a company with a strong claims history—a strong culture of defending Florida physicians and surgeons. It is a good practice to ask your colleagues for suggestions, especially those physicians and surgeons who have been sued for malpractice and have personal experience with a medical malpractice insurer’s willingness and ability to defend and/or pay claims in a timely manner.
Third, choose a company with a comprehensive insurance policy. Comparing policies is more than determining which is the least expensive, or which provides the highest dollar amount of coverage. The added coverages and features that you need—cyber liability coverage, DPR defense coverage, free tail at retirement, etc. add up very quickly and can spell a real difference for your practice.
Fourth, choose a company that offers credits for claims-free experience and for risk management. These credits can go a long way toward reducing your premium over the long term. A quality risk management program, aimed at the physician and surgeon, can help reduce the likelihood that you will have a claim in the first place.
So, you can see that it is vital that you are insured with the right Medical Malpractice Insurance Company in Florida. Our staff stands ready and able to help you with this decision. We represent the finest companies and shop your policy every year to determine the right fit for you for the long term.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.