Medical Malpractice News

4 Easy Steps for Physicians Applying for Malpractice Insurance

Tags: | Comments: 0 | August 24th, 2012

Admit it. Applying for medical malpractice insurance isn’t the most enthralling of chores a physician must complete each year. In fact, it can be quite a burdensome to those with limited amounts of time. Organization is key, and becomes quite helpful in limiting the amount of time consumed in the shopping and application process.

Here are 4 easy steps to help physicians along the process of applying for malpractice insurance.

Step 1: Gathering Your Information

Whether you are attempting to obtain medical malpractice insurance for the first time or looking to switch to a different company, the first detail needed is to pull out some basic information.  You can get a rate indication with very little information, but if you want a formal quote you’ll need to be prepared.

In most cases a broker can use your CAQH profile to get quotes from several companies, but if you haven’t completed that yet, you will need to provide the information that an insurance underwriter will want.

The insurance company is looking for:

  • Declarations Page (face sheet) of your current policy
  • Loss Run (claims history from current carrier)
  • Copy of your CV
  • Copy of your medical license
  • Copy of your DEA license

If you don’t have all of these items handy, don’t sweat it, just acquire what you can for now.

Step 2: Exploring Your Options

Options, options, and more options. There are many options for medical malpractice insurance, which is a good situation for health care providers.  Though, all the options can also be confusing.  How do you know the best solution for your practice, specialty, and state?  Your decision should be based on more than just price, so this is where you have to do a little homework.

Depending on your state, there are anywhere from 4 to 10 or more medical malpractice insurance companies available.  Some of these companies specialize in specific medical specialties, some have better rates than others in certain geographic areas, some are risk retention groups, or mutual, or stock insurance companies.  Consulting with an independent insurance broker can help you sift through and find the type of company that meets your needs.

A good broker won’t pressure you but will help you narrow your search to a manageable number, make a recommendation, and then let you make the choice.  It’s a good idea to purchase your coverage through a broker rather than directly with the insurance company because he or she will be able to offer you choices again at renewal time and provide quality service throughout the year.

Step 3: Filling Out Applications

Physicians are often intimidated (or irritated) by the length and depth of a malpractice insurance application.  This can typically be avoided if your CAQH profile is complete and up-to-date.  Simply ask the broker to use that instead of the company application.  But if your broker doesn’t have the ability to use the CAQH, you will need to fill out the app., and sometimes more than one.

It doesn’t have to be a chore.  If you have an application that you’ve filled out previously, use it to help you complete the new one.  Most applications ask for the same information but it might be in a different order.  The easy questions are name, address, birthdate, social security number, medical license number, DEA license number, phone numbers, and email address – most of that you should have at your fingertips.

The more difficult information is the detail about practice plans, practice history, claims history (including dates, summary, and status of claims), current and previous malpractice insurance, education and training, and continuing education credits.  The insurance company wants to see the complete picture of the risk they are underwriting.

There are 2 very important points to consider when applying for malpractice insurance:

First, be completely honest.  Do not leave anything out or alter the truth in any way.  The underwriter will check the information, and if it is not accurate, coverage will usually be denied.  It could also come back to haunt you if you have a claim.  If there is anything false in the application the company can deny the claim and you are on your own.

The second significant point to remember is that the application is a snapshot of you, given to the insurance company underwriter.  The underwriters don’t normally meet physicians nor do they have the time to discuss background or ask questions about past history or future plans.

Make sure your applications are:

  • Neatly written or typed
  • Thorough and complete
  • Concise providing explanations of any situation out of the ordinary

If you are unsure about anything on the application, ask your broker for help.  The broker is on your side, representing you.

Step 4: Choosing the Best Coverage

After you submit your applications along with the required documents, the broker will be able to get you the official quotes within a few days.  It could take longer, depending on the situation.  At this point, use the broker’s knowledge to help you make a decision.

Be sure to:

  • Compare the policies, limits of liability, and coverage
  • Consider the financial strength and type of company
  • Look at the payment options
  • Then choose the one that best fits your practice.

To put the coverage into effect, most companies will have you sign a “binder” and submit payment prior to the start date.  You can pay the entire premium in full or sometimes choose to pay monthly or quarterly with a 10 – 15% down payment.  The broker will have all the details and provide you with a Certificate of Insurance for proof of coverage.

While the application process may seem a bit daunting, it truly is imperative for physicians to be as thorough as they can. eQuoteMD helps eliminate part of this process by shopping the market for you and/or your practice. We make sure to tailor your coverage to your unique practice while saving money.

If you are interested in saving 20%, 30%, or even 40% on your medical malpractice insurance, request a quote online or call us today at (855) 857-8746.