Malpractice insurance coverage is a necessity for healthcare providers and dentists are no exception. In our experience, we have found that some dentists who come to us seeking coverage are somewhat lost and others even admit they don’t understand the current coverage they have in place. We understand that the quicker a dentist can cross “buy malpractice insurance coverage” off their To-Do list, the happier they are until….. there is a claim.
The good news is that claims have significantly dropped over the last ten years. Take a look at the data we retrieved from the National Practitioner Data Bank.
We’d like to take this time to give you a brief overview of five important things to look for when seeking coverage so you can be well protected and rest easy should a claim arise.
Dental Malpractice Coverage Considerations:
Consent to Settle
We consider this to be the most important dental malpractice coverage clause in your policy. Here’s why. Let’s say, your coverage includes Consent to Settle, but, there is a tiny bit of additional wording that says, “subject to the Hammer Clause”. The Hammer Clause basically says, we will seek out your request to settle a claim. But, if you do not agree to our settlement and want us to keep defending, we will, but you may be on the hook if a claim ends us settling higher than the original settlement amount. We have dedicated an entire blog to the Consent to Settle clause, which you can find here.
Who Is an Insured
It stands to reason that you, the dentist, is an insured. But, what about your employees and your entity? With some policies, dental malpractice coverage for your employees and entity is provided at no cost on a shared limit basis or, if you would like, you may purchase separate limits. Making sure everyone who provides services at your practice, whether employed or not, can save you money in the long run.
If you have independent contractors working at your facility, is your facility protected if a claim arises due to their care or lack thereof? Having vicarious liability within your dental malpractice coverage will protect you and your entity on behalf of your independent contractors’ acts.
Regulatory Liability and Information Security Privacy Coverage
Because of the increase in data breach vulnerabilities and government regulations, some, but not all, carriers are now including additional dental malpractice coverage to protect against these types of losses. Although your EHR company may have it’s own coverage, you need to protect yourself and your practice if there were a data breach stemming from your office. Be sure to find coverage that includes response notifications and consistent communication with you throughout the breach remedy process.
Due to the increase in popularity of Botox and other injectables, some carriers are now including these procedures within their policies, based on evidence of proper training and certification. If you provide these services and/or possibly plan to add new up and coming aesthetics procedures, you want to be sure you have a carrier that will provide coverage for these procedures.
We believe these dental malpractice coverage considerations will be beneficial to your practice now that you know what to look for. We invite you to share your comments below and welcome any questions or concerns you may have about your current policy.
For more information on dental malpractice coverages we offer and to find out more about our special dental program, click here.
You may find information on additional savings to your dental practice through the Dental Purchasing Group, which you may find here.