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Malpractice for Dentists

July 19, 2016

Just as each dentist is different, and each dental practice is different, each dental malpractice insurance company operating in Florida is also different. Some are big, some are small. Some insure all dental specialties, some prefer one specialty over another. Some have been around for a long time, some are trying to gain a foothold in the state.

Given the many malpractice insurance companies operating in Florida, and the complexities of dental malpractice insurance, how does a Florida dentist choose the best malpractice insurance company for his or her specific practice?

The following steps below can guide the Florida dentist to the right medical malpractice company:

  1. Find those Florida dentist malpractice insurance companies which specialize in insuring dentists. Not all do. Some malpractice insurance companies operating in Florida really specialize in insuring physicians and surgeons. Florida dentists are a sideline. It is important to choose a dental malpractice insurance company that understands the unique needs of the Florida dentist. Risk Management programs should be geared strictly to the Florida dentist and not to Florida physicians and surgeons.
    Check with your peers. They are a good reference for the right dental malpractice insurance company in your area and in your specialty. If one of your colleagues has been sued for dental malpractice, he or she can give you a very realistic account of the quality of the defending company.
  2. Contact an Agent. It is best to deal with an independent insurance agent who specializes in the sales and service of dental malpractice insurance. He or she knows the players, has the rates, and can shop your dental malpractice insurance among a variety of quality companies. Your dental malpractice insurance agent can give you the A.M. Best Company ratings as well as information on the financial condition of the dental malpractice companies operating in Florida. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau to review any complaints against your prospective dental malpractice insurance company.
  3. Obtain quotes. Your dental malpractice insurance agent can secure quotes from various dental malpractice insurance companies for you. Often, you will only need to complete one application, which your dental malpractice insurance agent can fan out to various companies he or she represents. Be sure to submit a complete application to avoid time-wasting questions and follow-ups.
  4. Compare policies. Not all policies are created equal. The least expensive dental malpractice insurance quote may reflect the weakest policy. This weakness could very well come back to haunt you if there is a claim. Compare and contrast such features as:
    • Limits of Liability – amount of coverage in the event of a claim
    • Prior Acts Date – the date after which a dental claim is covered on a claims-made policy
    • Claims-made or Occurrence form
    • Defense Costs – inside or outside the limit of liability
    • Exclusions – what is not covered

Gracey-Backer, Inc. represents several of the finest dental malpractice companies in the State of Florida. We have been in business since 1925 and are one of the oldest and most respected dental malpractice insurance agencies in the state. Our agents specialize in the sales and service of dental malpractice insurance for oral surgeons, dental specialists, general dentists, and dental office staff. Being a “full-service” insurance agency, we can handle dental malpractice insurance and your dental office policy, your workers compensation insurance and your personal lines insurance, giving you ease of doing business and minimizing the risk of a gap in your insurance program.

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

June 28, 2016

One of the aims of our Florida dental malpractice insurance agency is to be sure all of our dental clients qualify for the maximum credits on their dental malpractice insurance policy. The following is a list of some of the credits available to Florida dental practitioners on their dental malpractice insurance. If you have not been made aware of these credits, you could be robbing yourself of valuable premium savings.

Claims-Free Credit
Some dental malprctice insurance companies give significant premium credits if you have not had a claim in the recent past. Claims-free credits average around 10% of the annual policy premium.

Risk Management Credit
Most dental malpractice insurance companies give a premium credit if you successfully take one of their Risk Management courses. This Risk Management credit is generally around 10% of the annual malpractice policy premium. The benefit of taking a quality Risk Management Course that focuses on dentists is the ability to help avoid claims in the first place. A dental malpractice claim is very costly, both in terms of time, treasure and emotional health. The very best practice is to do everything possible to avoid a claim in the first place.

Specialty Discounts
Most dental malpractice companies in Florida adjust their rates according to the nature of your dental practice. For instance, some dental malpractice companies rate up for the use of anesthesia, including general, IV or IM sedations. Some rate up if you remove impacted wisdom teeth or place dental implants. If you do not perform any of these procedures, you dental malpractice insurance premium will generally be lower, depending on the company. This is why it is good to shop your dental malpractice insurance every so often, in order to qualify for the very best rates available.

New Companies in the State of Florida
Dental malpractice insurance companies entering the State of Florida generally reduce their rates to attract new dentists. In most cases, rates for their dental malpractice insurance policies have remained stable. There is significant competition, tort reform initiatives have reduced claims frequency, and the effects of meaningful risk management courses are being felt. Again, this is why you should regularly shop your dental malpractice insurance with an agent who represents more than one dental malpractice insurance company.

Gracey-Backer, Inc. is a full-service dental malpractice insurance agency. We represent several of the major Florida dental malpractice insurance companies. We offer our dental clients a wide spectrum of insurance services, including office policies, workers compensation insurance, personal home and automobile insurance and personal excess liability insurance.

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

May 24, 2016

A Florida dental practice is concerned with many things: marketing, treatment, hiring, budgets, forecasts, staff issues, etc. It is so easy for a dental malpractice lawsuit to bring a healthy Florida dental practice to a screeching halt. Dental malpractice claims are awful, not only in terms of time and expense, but also in the emotional damage to the dentist, his family and his staff. Avoiding a dental malpractice insurance lawsuit needs to be at the top of every dental practice’s mind every day and with every patient. One slip in the quality of care can ruin a dentist’s reputation in a community and cause irreversible damage to him personally.

A dental malpractice insurance lawsuit results from a dentist “deviating from the dental standard of care in the community in which he or she practices and, as a result of that deviation from the standard, a patient is injured”. While nothing can prevent a disatisfied patient from suing a Florida dentist, there are certain practices that open the dentist to a dental malpractice lawsuit. These are:

Failure to fully spell out all the possible treatment options and risks for a patient. This failure, which could happen if the dentist is trying to save the patient on the cost of treatment or if a treatment option is risky or outside the dentist’s level of comfort can eventually result in the patient making a poor decision on the direction of his or her dental care. It is vital for the Florida dentist to clearly communicate with their patient and to follow up if a treatment plan is not resolved.

Failure to diagnose a problem and failure to treat properly. This could include claims of tooth damage or nerve injury from botched restorations, root canals, surgical placement of implants, anesthesia, veneers, crowns, and more. Patients may also go against the dentist if he or she fails to detect oral cancer, resulting in huge and expensive consequences. Even failure to spot tooth decay can lead to greater problems down the road, especially if the patient does not come in regularly for a dental checkup. Misdiagnoses can be incorrect, overlooked, or late—all creating unforeseen consequences.

Failure to refer to a specialist. Some procedures are best treated by a dental specialist. The general dentist may not be fully qualified to treat a more complicated procedure, such as surgical placement of an implant or a root canal procedure. Failure to refer to a specialist can cause needless complications and spoil the dentist’s reputation in their community, especially with the specialists.

Failure of a dental product. Even though a dentist is not responsible for the manufacture of a dental produce such as a prosthetic device or an implant, failure of that product to perform properly can result in a very dissatisfied patient and, hence, a dental malpractice lawsuit.

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

May 10, 2016

You are a dentist ready to begin practice. You have spent years in dental school. You may have student loans that you need to begin paying. You have expenses that seem overwhelming. Have you considered dental malpractice insurance?

The good news is that the process is relatively simple and discounts for dental malpractice insurance for the new dentist are widely available.

First, contact an insurance agent who specializes in sales and service of dental malpractice insurance. A general lines agent will likely represent several dental malpractice insurance companies. This is important to give you a choice based on premium, coverage, and strength of the company. You must have a valid license to begin the process and you must complete an application.

Two types of dental malpractice insurance policies are widely available: Claims-Made and Occurrence. Your agent can explain the differences to you and recommend the best option for your particular situation. We generally recommend a claims-made policy unless the “tail” becomes an issue with your future employer.

Rates vary by state. Florida is one of the more expensive states for dental malpractice insurance. The good news is that there are several strong dental malpractice insurance companies operating in Florida, thereby keeping dental malpractice premiums down.

Most dental malpractice companies offer premium discounts to the new dentist. These range from new-to-practice discounts to risk management discounts to discretionary discounts for larger dental groups. Some dental malpractice companies rate up for procedures such as surgical placement of implants or extraction of impacted teeth. Some rate up for IV and IM sedation. All will rate up if you are an Oral Surgeon or practice under general anesthesia.

Your agent should recommend other coverages to lessen your potential exposure to risk, such as cyber liability coverage and coverage from wrongful employee dismissal and sexual harassment claims.

Talk with your dental malpractice agent about your entire insurance program. He or she should be able to assist you in creating a package of insurance protection that will last throughout your career.

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

April 26, 2016

Lawsuits against Florida physicians, surgeons, dentists and oral surgeons by their employees are on the rise. Statistically, employment-related claims are more frequent with healthcare providers than with any other type of risk. With a sagging economy and high unemployment due to consolidation in the healthcare industry, employees are suing employers as never before. The moment a healthcare provider begins to interview an employee, he or she is at risk.

Nature of Lawsuits:

Employees are suing Florida doctors and dentists for such breaches as:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Breach of employment contract
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful hiring
  • Wrongful disciplinary action
  • Retaliation
  • Failure to promote
  • Violations of Family Medical Leave Act
  • Whistleblower

Examples of Employment-Related Claims

Consider the following possibilities:

A claim could be made by a patient alleging that the patient was sexually harassed by the physician, surgeon or dentist while under anesthesia.

An EPLI claim could arise from a patient alleging that he was refused treatment because he was HIV positive.

A claim could be made against a physician, surgeon, oral surgeon or dentist that she was terminated because she was pregnant.

An EPLI claim could be brought by a vendor claiming that she was excluded because she was overweight.

A claim could be brought by an employee that his employment contract was breached when he or she was not given a raise.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Gracey-Backer, Inc. strongly recommends that Florida healthcare providers purchase Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to protect the practice from lawsuits by employees, independent contractors, patients or vendors for the above-mentioned accusations and others. The Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy will also assist the physician or dental practice in setting up policies and procedures designed to prevent an employment-related claim. If one occurs, the doctor or dentist has somewhere to turn—almost like having a skilled labor attorney on retainer.

EPLI premiums are extremely reasonable, even when third-party discrimination is included. A small physician, surgeon or dental office in Florida can expect to pay under $2,000 for $1,000,000 coverage.

Remember that just one single employment-related lawsuit can wreck a doctor or dentist’s practice. Every Florida physician and dental office should carry appropriate Employment Practices Liability Insurance coverage. Even if the practice has not experienced an employment-related claim in the past does not mean that one will not happen in the future. If an employee or third party makes an accusation, you must still pay to defend yourself, even if you are innocent!

For more information and for a no-obligation quote, kindly call the experts at Gracey-Backer, Inc. Please remember that quotes are free and we are here to assist you, the Florida physician, surgeon, oral surgeon and dentist in protecting your practice through quality insurance products.

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

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