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5 Questions You Should Ask Your Medical Malpractice Insurance Broker

How much experience do you have in the med mal field?

The longer your broker has been selling malpractice insurance, the more they will know about the coverage you may need. Policy forms from the various malpractice insurers vary widely and an experienced broker knows these differences.

Asking a few questions of your medical malpractice insurance broker can help you learn if they have the experience and markets to best help you.
Asking a few questions of your broker can help you learn if they have the experience and markets to best help you.

For example, knowing what is included in the general form and what may need to be added by endorsement. An experienced broker can save you time and money by pinpointing the best carrier for your situation thereby eliminating your need to go to carriers that will not cover your particular practice profile.

An experienced broker talks to doctors like yourself all day long and can ask the appropriate questions to evaluate your areas of risk.

What brokerage do you represent?

Many brokerages are general insurance brokerages that work with a handful of healthcare clients. Your best bet is a long term healthcare brokerage that produces daily malpractice insurance policies for providers just like you.

These brokerages have the quantity of doctors to get the attention of the insurance companies with whom they work. They are provided with the best training and the best pricing because the carriers are familiar with their work product. You also get the benefit of their insurance carrier relationships in the areas of better pricing and more flexible underwriting.

How are you compensated?

The compensation structure for malpractice brokers involves the insurer paying a commission from your premium to the broker. There should be no separate line-item charge for commission on your proposal for coverage. The premium for insurance policies is the same when you go direct with the insurance company or if you use a broker. So it is advantageous to use a broker to work on your behalf.

Some brokers charge a broker fee in addition to this commission. There is no reason that you should pay a broker fee in addition to the commission paid by the carrier. Check your policy. If you have a broker fee, it is likely due to the broker adding additional commission to the policy. This should not be confused with a policy fee. A policy fee is charged by the insurer and none of this amount is remitted to the broker.

How much access do you have to the market?

Smaller brokers may only have access to a small subset of the available carriers. In some cases the broker may only represent one admitted insurance carrier.

Brokers who specialize in healthcare have access to a wide array of both admitted and non-admitted insurance carriers and risk retention groups. It is always best to choose an admitted market when available. But many physicians have practice profiles outside the admitted carrier’s appetite. In these cases the broker can usually find several non-admitted carriers or risk retention groups that will provide you coverage quotes and give you several options to choose from. These brokers also know the policy differences and can advise you the pros and cons of each choice that is presented.

Do you only broker medical malpractice insurance?

If you own a private practice, medical spa or other medical corporation, medical malpractice insurance is not the only type of coverage you’re going to need. If one of your patients slips and falls while in your office for an appointment, how will you be covered for that type of exposure? How are you computers covered? How do you cover yourself for violations of HIPAA or the Hi-tech acts?

Your insurance broker needs to understand your practice profile so they can evaluate the types of risk you face. Healthcare brokers understand the types of insurance you need from workers compensation for your employees to cyber liability for your privacy and security risk. If your broker only handles medical malpractice insurance, you will need another broker to cover the other types of risk that you might face. If you can speak to one broker to handle all of your needs, you will have more time to provide care.

These types of questions will help you decide which broker will be the best fit for you, and also will be able to give you some insight as to how to assess your risk and determine how much risk mitigation you might want through well-tailored insurance policies.

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