When evaluating who to trust with the future of your practice should you become the target of a professional negligence allegation (aka claims, incidents, suits) first consider the company, then the coverage offered, then the price. Not all insurance companies are the same and not all policies offer the same coverage(s).
Approach the process methodically considering subjective and objective criteria in your decision making. Finally, trust your instincts.
- Is the insurance company financially sound and rated by A.M. Best?
- How long has the company been in business?
- How long has the company been insuring physicians?
- How long has the company been writing business in your state?
- Does the company have an experienced management team, claims personnel, etc.?
- Do I feel the company cares about my practice or am I just a number?
- Does the company offer any value added services, products?
- What is the company’s philosophy on claims handling?
- How does the company treat incident reporting?
The Coverage Form: (aka policy)
- Does the policy form conform to industry standards and department of insurance regulations (incident trigger, notice of material change in coverage, standard tail terms, etc) ?
- Does the policy include a broad consent to settle clause?
- Does the policy include supplemental or additional coverages?
- Is coverage included for all practice activities or are there restrictions, reporting requirements, etc.?
- There is not much subjectivity in an insurance contract. The real gut check question, what is the intent of the insurance company in the unfortunate event that you have a claim? How will you be treated and how much say or involvement will you have throughout the process?
Premiums vary from company to company, however, most responsible insurance companies charge similar premiums. Beware the “low bidder” - insurance is a “promise to pay” and some promises are worth more than others.