e3BFM’s Premium Client Content will include specific steps IFM providers should take to improve the odds that their services will be covered by their malpractice carrier. 

Medical malpractice insurance is an important tool for provider’s to safeguard their assets from their professional liability, but it is tempting for busy independent providers to delegate this responsibility and assume they are paying an appropriate price for the protection they need. This is not always the case. Insurance companies make money be increasing rates–and most are in business to make money–so if providers aren’t diligent in reviewing their rates, they can be paying a higher premium than necessary.

The bigger concern, however, is that providers will lack the coverage they need when faced with a malpractice claim. Three concerns with maintaining coverage are: 1) Covered acts; 2) Gaps in coverage and; 3) Performance of the carrier. Covered acts is a simple concept but can easily be complicated if a provider’s practice changes over time. In that situation, the provider needs to make sure that their malpractice policy is providing coverage for all of the acts they are performing.

Gaps in coverage concern the historical coverage of a provider. Each time a provider moves employment or coverage, they need to ensure that they are maintaining coverage for the previous exposure by “nosing in” or “tailing out.” Provider’s should maintain the declaration pages–or dec pages–for each policy period they are insured.

The performance of the carrier is perhaps the most overlooked concern related to medial malpractice. There are different types of carriers with each carrier having their own strengths and weaknesses. Rates for traditional carriers are often more expensive, but they are typically financially secure and participate with state guaranty funds. Risk retention group and excess and surplus lines carriers often provide more reasonable rates, but may represent a greater exposure for providers. Medical malpractice can be viewed as an IOU from the insurance carrier to defend you–and that IOU is only as valuable as the company behind it.

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