26 Reasons You're Probably Paying Too Much for Your Med Mal Insurance
Here are 26 reasons you’re probably paying too much for your med mal insurance:
1. You went directly to an insurance company. You thought that going directly to an insurance company would be more efficient and save you money. The opposite is true. You limited your options and didn’t shop the market. More than likely, there was a cheaper and better option out there for you.
2. You didn’t know that you should ask for discounts. The med mal insurance market is a very competitive market and you’ll never know if additional discounts are available unless you ask, or work with someone who asks on your behalf.
3. You didn’t use a patient satisfaction tool. While not every med mal insurance company will provide a discount to a practice that uses a patient satisfaction tool, many do.
4. You don’t know what kind of policy you have and you’re not sure whether the policy is admitted or surplus lines (non-admitted). If you are currently with a surplus lines company or non-admitted carrier (maybe you’ve had some claims a few years ago, or you’re doing some moonlighting outside of your specialty), every year you should try and secure an admitted policy. The market may have changed and/or you may have enough distance from your claim(s) to be considered again for an admitted carrier.
5. You don’t know what kind of policy you have and you don’t know if it’s an occurrence or claims-made policy. Depending on what kind of med mal insurance policy you have, you may be able to save quite a bit of money by changing from an occurrence to a claims-made policy. Of course, you will then have to consider the cost of a tail policy and understand that your premiums will go up over the next 5 years. But, often it is still worth the savings to change.
6. You brought in a colleague to be a locums doctor in your practice, and you bought them a policy when they could’ve been covered under your current policy. Most admitted med mal insurance policies have a locums coverage clause that can provide coverage to a replacement physician.
7. You received your med mal insurance renewal bill and you renewed it without shopping the market. You assumed that looking for another policy wouldn’t be worth the time and the savings, but it is. Policies can vary by hundreds, and up to thousands, of dollars.
8. You are loyal to a company that is not loyal to you. Every day we speak with physicians who have been blind-sided with non-renewal letters. Sometimes they have been covered by the same company for 20 years, and due to a few minor claims, they are shocked to find out that they have been dumped. We always think you should be loyal to yourself and shop the market every year.
9. You skipped the free, available CME from the med mal insurance company. You would be shocked to learn the number of insurance companies that provide an additional discount (up to 5% in most cases) to doctors who complete their CME offerings. You need the CME. It’s free from the insurance company. And, it offers you a discount on your insurance. You’d be silly not to do it.
10. You didn’t get a spreadsheet of rates. Do you know how many insurance companies are offering coverage in your state for your specialty, how they’re rated and how much it costs? Again, you need to comparison shop.
11. You went with the cheapest policy not realizing that it gave you lesser coverage and you had a claim. Many physicians don’t realize that their policy may not cover all of the damages awarded in a case that is defended on their behalf. Make sure that you have appropriate limits and coverage in your policy.
12. You didn’t ask for a lower or higher deductible this year. Depending on your situation, your policy may have a deductible. You should be ready and able to pay this amount at any time. Lowering your deductible will raise the cost of your policy. On the other hand, higher deductibles will shift the overall cost lower, because the doctor is assuming more responsibility. Figure out what works best for you.
13. If you are renewing your current med mal insurance policy, and you failed to ask them to lower your deductible. Many insurance companies will consider lowering the deductible for returning clients in good standing without a change in policy cost.
14. You bought a second policy for doing cosmetic services. While most med mal insurance policies exclude cosmetic services, some insurance companies will consider covering this risk. If you don’t shop the market and work with an expert, you might end up needlessly purchasing two policies that may cost you more.
15. You didn’t purchase a tail when you should have, so now you have a gap. We understand that that tail was super expensive at the time, but now it’s caught up to you and it’s keeping you from getting the cheapest and best policy. Most likely, you will pay more over time for a gap in coverage with higher premiums than if you had actually purchased the tail.
16. You have a gap in coverage and you didn’t close it. If you have a gap, you should try and work with a med mal insurance specialist to close it. It can be done and is worth the time, effort and premium savings.
17. You had a claim(s) and you didn’t market yourself as a good risk at renewal. Often a brief discussion with your agent explaining your situation can go a long way –especially if that agent is smart and can market you as a low risk.
18. If there were lessons to learn from previous claims, you didn’t learn from them. Yes, we know that many claims are not the physician’s fault, but some are. For those that occurred because of an error, it behooves the physician to learn from the mistake to ensure that he or she doesn’t repeat it.
19. You didn’t renew your membership in your medical specialty society. Some med mal insurance companies offer discounts to society members, depending on the state and specialty.
20. Your insurance agent works for a publicly held insurance company. Now matter how you slice it, insurance companies that are publicly held and have shares trading on a stock market are beholden to their shareholders first, and their customers, second.
21. You didn’t shop the market because of the dividend promised to you by your current insurance company. While it’s very nice of your current med mal insurance company to give you back some of your premium that they borrowed from you for a while (with no interest to you), most times you can find a rate that is still lower than your current policy (even with the dividend).
22. You don’t know that the current med mal insurance market is a soft market. By that, we mean that overall prices are going lower and insurance policies are getting cheaper overall. You want to compare prices at renewal.
23. You waited until the last minute to think about your renewal. We understand that doctors are very busy, but if you wait until the last minute to start shopping for a better rate, it may be too late to comparison shop. Typically, it takes 1-2 weeks to shop a proper renewal. Waiting until the last minute to renew may force you to renew your current policy which may not be the best or cheapest option.
24. You bought separate policies for your employed mid-levels. Many physicians don’t know that they can add an NP or PA to their policy at a very reduced rate when compared to getting them separate policies.
25. You thought your office manager was going to renew your policy and she thought you were going to do it and now you have a gap. (See #15 & #16.)
26. You tasked someone in your office to do your renewal who wasn’t qualified (like your receptionist). In order to get the best rate and the best coverage available, it is imperative that your med mal insurance agent speak to the most knowledgeable person about the physician’s situation –most often this is the physician him or herself and/or the Practice Manager.