Choosing a medical malpractice insurance insurer is an important part of protecting yourself and your assets as a physician or healthcare provider. Unfortunately though it’s also a decision that many doctors don’t feel equipped to make in an informed way. The industry can seem complicated, the terminology confusing, and at the end of the day the decision often comes down to just picking the cheapest option. But as with most major purchases, or rather investments, cheapest isn’t always best. So what are some things to consider when choosing a malpractice insurance provider?
Stability & History
You should know something about a company and their standing in the market before purchasing a policy from them. How much of the market share do they control in your state? How long have they been in business? Does this company have a national presence? The answers to these kinds of questions will help you determine what level of confidence you can have in a provider to be there for you when you need them most. It’s not that bigger is always better in terms of malpractice insurers, but you want a company that has the stability and capital to be in it for the long haul. You also will want to know something about any potential provider’s history and track record. Are they known for vigorously defending their doctors? Do they hire the best attorneys? These are important questions, but where do you go to get the answers?
In the case of traditional stock based companies, one way of getting at the kinds of information mentioned above, financial soundness, stability, etc., is to look at a provider’s A.M. Best rating. A.M. Best is an independent rating agency whose credibility is second to none in the industry. An “A” or “A+” rating from A.M. Best is a good indication that a provider is financially sound, stable, and trustworthy. While non-stock providers like RRGs, mutuals, and trusts are not rated by A.M. Best they do sometimes have ratings from other independent agencies, and they can be very good options. They just require a little more investigation on your own since they don’t have that benchmark rating system in place.
Another important thing to look for in a malpractice insurer is a company that’s primary business is malpractice insurance. A provider whose focus is strictly malpractice is much more likely to have the expertise, background, and resolve to provide doctors with truly great support than a company that simply carries a small book of malpractice business on the side. Many carriers that solely focus on malpractice insurance are actually owned and/or run by physicians, and lots of doctors feel like these companies are some of the most supportive providers in the industry. Finally, in some situations you might find that there are providers available to you that focus specifically on your specialty. That doesn’t necessarily make them the best option, but it is something to consider. They are going to have attorneys to defend you that have significant experience defending other physicians in the exact same field as you.
Avoid just looking at prices, but compare the features of what various providers are offering you. Additional coverages for things like cyber-liability, administrative defense, and vicarious liability, as well as financial incentives like free tail insurance at retirement, credits for claims free coverage, and credits for participation in risk management opportunities are just some of the features that can vary from one provider to another. These things can add up very quickly, and some of them are becoming vital aspects of comprehensively covering your liability. Take cyber liability coverage for example: a few years ago no one was talking about cyber liability for the average physician or practice. These days however, in light of recent federal regulations and the mandatory move to more EHR, cyber liability coverage is becoming a necessity. There is just too much at stake, and too many ways to fall afoul of the regulatory environment to not protect yourself, whether from a breach or from an audit. And that’s just one example of the kinds of features, add-ons, and value added elements that different providers offer. Make sure you compare those features before looking at the price tag so that you really understand what you are comparing.
Finally talk to other people, especially those who have gone through a lawsuit, about their experience with a provider and who they trust. A lawsuit, even if it is settled or dropped, can be incredibly stressful and upsetting. You want a provider who has the resources to be there for you, but also has the will to be there for you and with you as an advocate and, in some ways, a friend. You want lawyers you can trust with your livelihood and your reputation, and a team that you know won’t just settle without considering your opinions or concerns. So talk to colleagues, check with your medical associations and societies, and try to get a feel for how others view a carrier you are considering and who they trust in the field.
Let us make it easy for you…
Here at eQuoteMD we have a team of professionals with decades of experience ready to do much of the hard work of finding the right carrier for you. We have access to many providers and only work with those we know and trust. So when you request a free quote you can know that any option we provide you with comes from a top rated, vetted, and trusted carrier. Our experts will also be able to answer questions about the specifics of the policies and help you figure out exactly what will work best for you and provide you with the best value. Request a quote today and we’ll be happy to help.