Posted by Amy Carbone on Jul 24, 2023 9:00:00 AM
You already know that malpractice insurance is a vital way to protect yourself and your assets from malpractice claims. However, with so many insurance providers in the marketplace, it can be a challenge to evaluate and select the right one for you.
Below, we’ll discuss what to know about a company before you choose an insurance provider.
4 Considerations When Selecting A Malpractice Insurance Company
1. The Company’s Size and Reputation
Malpractice insurance providers vary in size, and it's important to work with one that can provide enough support and resources for your practice.
Dedicated Risk Management Department
Ensure that the malpractice insurance company that you select has the support and expertise available to you in the event you are accused of malpractice. Companies with dedicated risk management departments may be better able to help mitigate an issue before it becomes a malpractice suit.
Proven Track Record
To get general information about a malpractice insurance company, you can ask your colleagues about which company they use for malpractice insurance and why they selected the company. If you are a recent grad looking for your first malpractice insurance policy, it may be helpful to ask your mentor for advice. Above all, consider working with an insurance advisor who focuses on the dental market and is familiar with the various insurance companies that write malpractice insurance for dentists.
The advisor can help provide important information about the types of malpractice insurance that the insurance company offers i.e. claims made and/or occurrence policy forms. Can the insurance company settle a malpractice insurance claim without your consent? What are the financial ratings of the company? Does the insurance company focus on providing malpractice insurance in the healthcare market?
Finally, the advisor may be able to provide information regarding the insurance companies claims handling such as the national trial win rate of the insurance company; percentage of claims closed without payment; average tenure of claims team and more.
2. Their Experience With the Dentistry Industry
There is something to be said about selecting a provider with in-depth knowledge and experience in working with your chosen industry of dentistry. A seasoned provider in your field can mean better representation and expertise in navigating dental malpractice insurance cases. They may also have more personalized recommendations and suggestions for your coverage needs as well as other resources to support your career growth.
3. How They Handle Claims
If you closely evaluate the claims-handling practices of your prospective company, you can predict how things will proceed during a malpractice claim. This can prepare you and may help you avoid uncomfortable or stressful situations during the process. You can gain insight into how empathic and supportive a company is during a claims process.
Pure Consent To Settle
Malpractice insurance providers should be transparent in how they handle claims. Make sure that the company allows you to decide whether or not to settle a malpractice claim — pure consent to settle.
Simply stated, “pure consent to settle” means that the insurance company cannot settle a claim on your behalf without your written consent. While from a cast standpoint, it may be less expensive to the insurance company to settle a claim, it may negatively impact the doctor in the form of National Practitioner Data Bank reporting, state licensing board reporting, and possible non-renewal of your malpractice insurance by the insurance company.
4. Types of Policies Offered
Occurrence Vs. Claims-Made
With occurrence coverage, the focus is on the point at which the dental treatment occurred. Even if a claim is made years after, the coverage is still valid if the dental treatment in question happened when the occurrence coverage was active even if you have changed insurance companies or stopped practicing altogether.
Claims-made coverage is when you’re covered only if the policy is still in effect when the claim is made. In the event that you decide to switch malpractice insurance companies, work with an advisor to make certain that you do not have any gaps in your coverage. When changing from one claims made policy to another, you may need to secure prior acts coverage and in certain circumstances may be forced to purchase an extended reporting period endorsement aka “tail coverage.” An experienced advisor can help you navigate your choices.
Why Is Choosing the Right Malpractice Insurance Provider Vital to Your Career?
If you choose a professional liability insurance provider that isn’t a good fit, it can be frustrating — if not downright damaging — to your career if a malpractice claim ever occurs.
With the wrong provider, you may:
- Be responsible for many unexpected costs not covered
- Have confusion over the process
- Face a malpractice lawsuit with an inadequate defense
You will want to ensure that the provider you select works with you, empathetically, during this time to ease the process of navigating a malpractice claim. There are also some key questions we recommend you ask when vetting a provider.
When To Re-evaluate
Whether you have been with a provider for some time or are seeking a new provider to better meet your needs, you will need to re-evaluate your policies during pivotal periods of your career and your life. We recommend that you evaluate insurance policies and providers annually and keep up-to-date to determine if you need more coverage.
Navigate Malpractice Insurance With the Right Support
Malpractice insurance is one of the most important types of coverage you’ll need as a dentist to protect your livelihood. A supportive and knowledgeable firm can answer your questions and help you pick a policy that will work for you.
To explore the challenges and solutions of malpractice insurance companies for dental professionals, download the “Dental Malpractice Insurance Survival Kit.”
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel, an EPIC Company, is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service.
Insurance products offered through Treloar & Heisel, LLC.