Florida doctors face significant financial challenges in maintaining their practices. Among these challenges is the cost of medical malpractice insurance. There are ways to save significant premium dollars on this insurance that the Florida doctor might not realize. By “shopping” his medical malpractice insurance, the Florida doctor can reap huge savings without sacrificing quality.
Currently, the Florida medical malpractice insurance marketplace is relatively stable and very competitive. This is good news for Florida doctors wishing to purchase medical malpractice insurance. Most of the major medical malpractice insurance companies in Florida offer hefty discounts to differentiate themselves from the competition. It is vital for Florida doctors to realize that medical malpractice discounts can apply to their practices.
The following discounts on medical malpractice insurance policies are available to Florida doctors. Check to see if you qualify:
- New-To-Practice Credit – Doctors just starting out in practice have very little exposure to litigation. Therefore, Florida medical malpractice companies often apply significant discounts during the first two or three years of practice. The first year malpractice premium discount is often as much as 50%. Premium credits for the new practitioner diminish over time and, after a period, are no longer available as the doctor is no longer new-to-practice.
- Loss Free Credit – Available to those Florida doctors that the malpractice insurance company most wants to attract. Available if the doctor has not had a claim in 3, 5, 10 or even 20 years. Credits vary, but can be as much as 25% of the medical malpractice base premium, especially if there is competition from other medical malpractice insurance carriers.
- Society Memberships – Membership in National, Regional, or State Medical Societies can often result in a discount. Some medical malpractice companies specialize in putting together malpractice insurance programs for groups of similar specialty physicians.
- Large Group Discount – A large group is appealing to a Florida malpractice insurance company, especially if the group is relatively claims-free. Competition forces malpractice insurance companies to apply credits to take a large group from a competitor.
- Part-Time Credit – A Florida doctor may receive a sizeable credit on malpractice insurance for working reduced hours. Credits generally range from 25% to 50% for Florida doctors working 20 hours or less per week.
- Risk Management Credit – Some medical malpractice insurance companies offer credits for taking an approved risk management course. Sometimes there is a charge for taking the course. Sometimes it is offered at no charge. Credits are normally 5% of the malpractice insurance premium and are good for a few years, at which time the course must be taken again to continue the credit. Courses are normally offered on-line.
- Board Certification Discount – This discount is available to physicians and surgeons who successfully complete their board certification. Different medical malpractice insurance carriers give different board certification credits. Some carriers require board certification as a prerequisite to insuring the doctor.
- Discretionary Credits – Most medical malpractice carriers can apply discretionary credits depending on how badly they wish to secure a piece of business.
It is important that you ask about receiving maximum credits. We have seen many cases where a physician or surgeon, simply by asking, has been able to reduce the cost of his medical malpractice insurance policy, especially if he is in a good bargaining position with a clean record and a preferred specialty.
In any case, it is important to:
Choose the right payment option
Most Florida medical malpractice insurance companies will allow annual, quarterly, or monthly payments. While this is a good thing, be sure to determine if finance charges apply. While spreading payments out can greatly improve cash flow for a practice, it sometimes comes at a cost. Some physician practices in Florida employ a bank’s line of credit to pay medical malpractice insurance premiums. Others pay the premium in one lump sum, thereby avoiding finance charges. Then, through the year, they bank money to pay in full the next year, again avoiding finance costs. And, finally, some medical malpractice insurance companies on Florida will allow doctors to pay in installments with no finance charge. Some companies will require ACH/EFT to offer monthly payments. This is a competitive tool that can benefit the Florida doctor.
David C. Backer
David C. Backer, of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Malpractice, Professional and Personal Insurance. He can be contacted at 800-272-6055 ext 114, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.