In general, rates for dental malpractice insurance are relatively stable and should only inch up slightly in 2015. Having said that, there are territorial differences, procedural based differences, different appetites for anesthesia and botox—all requiring consideration to find the best carrier for the Florida dentist’s needs. It pays to shop around and to find a trusted advisor to guide you in the complex world of dental malpractice insurance.
Territorial Differences: Dental malpractice insurance companies determine rates partially by territory. In general, a more urban, populated area of Florida is more suit-prone than a rural, less populated area. Some counties have a higher proportion of litigation attorneys relative to Dentists, thereby bringing on dental malpractice claims. Most dental malpractice companies rate up for Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Some rate up for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The remainder of the State of Florida is one rating territory, with generally lower rates.
Procedural Based Rating for Dentists: Some companies are increasing rates for dentists performing higher risk procedures, such as surgical placement of implants or extractions of impacted teeth. Simple extractions are exempt from this rate increase. This trend should continue through the next few years, as the economy forces more and more general dentists to veer into performing procedures formerly reserved for oral surgeons and periodontists. Regretably, claims are occurring with greater severity and frequency, thereby driving up rates.
Rating Up for Anesthesia: If a dentist uses IV or IM sedation, or employs multi-dose oral sedation or general anesthesia, his rates will increase, depending on the carrier. The dental malpractice insurance companies have determined that the risk of a dental lawsuit is higher for dentists who work under these anesthesia vehicles.
Botox: Many general dentists are now doing dermal filler tharapy and Botox therapy in their offices. Both are immensely popular and, according to our clients, easy to accomplish by a general dentist with proper training. We are asked all the time if a general dentist will pay more for medical malpractice insurance if he performs facial cosmetic procedures. The answer is not usually. Where companies used to charge more for malpractice insurance for dentists performing these procedures, most have eliminated the charge.
The bottom line is that dental malpractice insurance underwriting is changing, as more dentists perform riskier procedures. Rising dental malpractice premiums are forcing some general dentists to drop these procedures. Other dentists are going ahead and paying the higher premium.
Remember that there is competition in the dental malpractice insurance marketplace. It pays to shop around—with a specialized dental malpractice insurance agent who handles more than one medical malpractice insurance company. It pays to compare dental malpractice insurance carriers, rates, and coverage to find the policy that best fits your particular needs. (Always be sure that you are not receiving an inferior dental malpractice insurance product, however, as that could spell disaster at the time of a claim.)
We at Gracey-Backer, Inc. have specialized in dental malpractice insurance for Florida dentists and oral surgeons since 1982. We represent the finest dental malpractice carriers in Florida and can help the Florida dentist find the policy and premium that best suits his or her needs.