Why Does a Physician or Surgeon in Florida need a Medical Malpractice Insurance Broker?

At the risk of sounding self-serving, we would like to tell you why we think you should go through a Medical Malpractice Insurance Agent or Broker when purchasing or renewing your medical malpractice insurance in Florida.

It may sound like a simple process—choosing your malpractice insurance. After all, it is only a promise to protect you. Your policy sits on the shelf gathering dust—until you need it. And then, it is vital that you are insured with the right company with the right policy. The decision which seemed simple is now complex. A quality medical malpractice insurance agent can help you find the right company and renew with the right company, year after year.
A medical malpractice insurance agent or broker customarily represents several medical malpractice insurance carriers. He or she has a relationship with them and can negotiate coverage and price on your behalf. They know the underwriters intimately. They can be your advocate if there is a problem.

Some carriers tout the fact that they can save you money by bypassing the insurance agent. That sounds tempting, until you look below the surface. These carriers often have management companies and bulky staffs to handle the work of the agent or broker. They do not “shop” your policy every year to give you the option of going with a better or less expensive malpractice insurance company. And, if their product is inferior, you will never know it because you have lost your ability to compare.

For example, while a particular carrier may not be the cheapest out there, it often has features that more than make up for its higher premium over the long term. It may have risk management credits, which enable you to reduce your premium while helping to avoid a claim in the first place. It may have a dividend plan or a profit sharing plan, to put money away for your retirement. It may be able to attract the best attorneys in Florida because of its reputation and experience. A broker knows these things, and can guide you to the right company for you.

A broker or agent can also look out for potential pitfalls in a medical malpractice insurance policy: a demand rather that an incident trigger, defense costs outside rather than inside the limits of liability, assessments in the event of excessive losses, or lack of protection by the Florida Guaranty Fund. There are many potholes out there that could snag a physician or surgeon without help.

A broker also knows the factors to look for when choosing a medical malpractice insurance company: its reputation, its rating, its stability, its history in Florida, its customer satisfaction ratings, tail provisions, and other factors that would be difficult to determine on one’s own.

The best part of all this is that the services of a Medical Malpractice Insurance agent or broker do not cost you a thing. Brokers are paid by the insurance company. Brokers and agents bring companies their clients. If the company is not competitive, the broker will go to another insurer. So, a broker is someone who does the research, shopping, premium negotiating for you, but is paid by the medical malpractice insurance company for bringing them their customers. It is truly a win/win situation for you, the valued customer.

Barbara Gracey Backer
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 (561) 404-5746 or at barbara@gbifl.com.

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