Medical Malpractice Insurers Offer Additional Coverage

Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers working to retain and provide benefits:

This is a good time for physicians as it pertains to paying premium to medical malpractice insurance companies. 

The claims free, or association discount programs have never been larger.  Claims free discounts for physicians insured for four to five years, without claims are approaching 15 – 25 %;

Association Discounts, Risk Management Discounts for physicians.

The premiums for many specialties are lower today than they were seven or eight years ago. 

If you belong to your local, county or national medical society, especially if you are insured by The Doctors’ Company, you may be eligible for discounts of 5 – 7 %.  And, above those discounts, there are specific risk management programs which can lower the premiums for physicians and physician groups by another 10 %.

Many States Department of Insurance allow up to 35 – 40 % discounting by standard insurance carriers.

These discounts make the product more affordable during times when claims are lower than expected as a whole.  And, lately, claims frequency, which is to say, the number of claims per 100 of insured units, is approximately 50 – 60 % of what they were in the high claims times of 2003.  

Medical Malpractice Carriers offer Physician Billing Errors and Business and Management Liability

Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers are so aware of maintaining their books of business, they are prepared to offer some of these discounts, and, they are working hard to form alliances with specialty insurance companies to bring complementary insurance products to insulate the physician from risk.  Physicians are doing much more than just providing care.  The provision of medical services brings obvious and known risks to the M.D.’s; it is the non-medical, administrative tasks that can bring about financial loss to physicians.

And, in response to this risk, the insurance industry has developed important alliances with specialty carriers like Lloyds, or Beazely or Kinsale ….to offer billing errors and omissions products, administrative disciplinary insurance products or employment practices, or executive board member insurance.  These complement the medical malpractice insurance policy so that the medical practice, the organization is completely protected.  At claim time, these complementary products hold insurance companies accountable and relieve the anxiety of the practitioner named.

One such complementary product is a directors and officers policy. 

Protect before you sell! Directors and Officers Policies:

One of the most affordable insurance products available to help you protect your personal assets from allegations of business errors is to purchase a Directors and Officers insurance policy.  Directors and Officers of big and small corporations are at risk because they can be held personally liable for financial waste of an organization, If an organization makes a decision that brings financial hardship to another practitioner, that physician may sue the organization;  restraint of trade or anti-trust claims are not uncommon;  Since the organization is made up of its Directors; the way to protect the group is to insure it’s directors!

Employed Physicians are growing in numbers:

If you’re an employed physician, or a shareholder physician looking to grow, by merger, acquisition, or selling your practice, you should consider the size of the surplus and reserves of your physician medical malpractice insurance carrier.  If you have retroactive risk, then you want the new company to be financially solvent when the claim is presented (and, often this is years down the line):

When you represent the financial condition of your medical group, you have an obligation to represent the facts accurately; the purchaser is relying on your numbers to be accurate;   If, after the sale, it is determined that  the medical group is not as strong as represented,

Or, if a contract to perform for a facility or payer is causing the group to lose money, the Directors of the organization could be named in a financial liability claim. 

Protecting Personal Assets from Business Claims:

Even, if you are sitting on a board, even for your local Little League or  for your elementary school PTA; and they are planning a movie night, or a Jumpy house, or a carnival where parents are planning to drop off their kids, the board member might be held liable for any harm that could come to those kids during this time of custody and control at a school event.

Likewise, the physicians who agree to make important business decisions can be held personally responsible for the economic challenges, financial hardship of the organization. 

These claims are covered by Directors and Officers Policies; During this time of competitive medical malpractice rating, softer than expected expenses and insurance companies working hard to retain business by developing partnership products, these policies are affordable.

Recently, the directors and officers policies are less than $ 4,000 per year  and, since most of the large medical malpractice insurance companies are expecting to see a flattening of premium growth, they are working with specialty carriers to present these policies at a discount. 

If the total number of physicians insured by these companies is reducing and the total premium available is shrinking (due to the number of physicians now joining larger medical groups,

They are creatively working hard to find avenues of new revenue.

Expanding the named insureds:

Also as a reaction to the loss of physician insured growth, the carriers are developing insurance liability programs to cover many ‘non M.D.’ practitioners: for example:  there are specific programs for D.O.’s, DDS, Naturopathic Doctors, Chiropractors, Nurse Practitioners, CRNA’s and Physician Assistants.  With the more affordable aesthetic procedures offered at so many Medical Spas throughout the country, our program for custom Medical Spas continues to grow.  Recently, we wrote our 20th medispa, almost all of whom are affiliated with some of our conventional Plastic Surgeons or Dermatologists.

It is important when contemplating the investment in another medical business, facility or group to contemplate the new risk that you are going to bring to your policy.  Run this new risk by your insurance carrier to ensure that every practitioner and every relationship is covered.

And, if they aren’t it is likely that your insurance company has started some program to make these complementary products more affordable to you and your colleagues.

 

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