Understanding Medical Malpractice Insurance | Occurrence & Claims-Made Policies

Medical Malpractice Insurance coverage is a vital part of all healthcare practices. Unlike other types of insurance, Medical Malpractice Insurance policies vary greatly in the coverage they afford, and more importantly, the coverage they exclude. As claims against physicians continue to rise it is important for healthcare professionals to understand what types of professional liability insurance policies are available. This article will be the first in a series covering various aspects of medical malpractice insurance policies.

There are generally two types of medical malpractice insurance policies available, Claims Made and Occurrence. Depending on your situation, one policy may be superior to another and the financial implications can be staggering. In the business of healthcare, your liability as a medical practitioner does not cease once a patient walks out of your office. It may extend many years in to the future. When you are new to practice your malpractice insurance premium will typically be much lower in the first four to five years than it will be after you have been practicing for fifteen years.

Claims-Made coverage is triggered when the claim is made. For example, if a patient files a claim  in 2013 but they were treated in 2010, the 2013 claims-made policy responds.  This assumes the incident occurred after the policy’s retroactive date. (The policy’s retroactive date is the date after which treatment must occur to trigger coverage.) In general terms, the retroactive date is usually the date a physician began first seeing patients or the date the business began operating.  

Occurrence coverage is triggered the moment treatment occurs. If you have an occurrence policy any patients you see today 2013 will be covered under that policy.  Lets’ assume the patient you saw today files a claim five years from now (2018)  your occurrence policy that was in force in 2013 would respond to the claim.

Which policy is in force may seem trivial to the average person, but the type of policy you select is one of the most important decisions you will make. And since the claims-made policy is the more common of the two policy types, you may never be offered occurrence coverage. This is why working with a broker who understands Medical Malpractice Coverage is critical for medical professionals. Presidio Insurance specializes in Medical Malpractice Insurance for all types of healthcare professionals.

Visit our insurance information center for a detailed look at both claims made and occurrence policies.



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