Are you planning to change employers soon, or leave a medical group to open your own private surgical practice? Exploring your options for Extended Reporting Period (ERP) coverage, also known as medical malpractice “tail” insurance, needs to be a priority long before you even turn in your resignation.

Your employer will likely offer you a tail coverage option, but at a premium that typically runs 200%-250% of the cost of your expiring claims-made medical malpractice policy. The good news is that you can often save 20% on tail coverage – and get expert assistance in choosing the best standalone tail policy for your surgical specialty and practice location – by partnering with an independent malpractice insurance broker. Experienced SURGPLI tail insurance insurance brokers are ready to help.

What is tail insurance?

Your employer-provided malpractice policy ends on your last day of work. Tail insurance provided by “A” rated carriers through SURGPLI is a standalone policy that protects you from liability for any future malpractice claims made on incidents that occurred during the time of your previous employment. Coverage is retroactive for any claims made on incidents occurring from the first date of work with your former employer. Tail insurance is necessary only if your previous policy was a form of claims-made, or claims-paid, malpractice insurance.

Why surgeons need tail insurance

If you don’t have tail insurance, you would be exposed to a lawsuit if a surgical patient you treated during your former employment files a claim against you before your new employer’s malpractice insurance coverage goes into effect. A tail policy also covers you if a former patient makes a claim several months or years after the incident occurred.

Also, studies have shown that surgeons historically are more vulnerable to medical malpractice claims than physicians in non-surgical fields. For example, general surgeons and those in the practice of orthopedics, OB/GYN, plastic surgery, and urology are among the top 10 medical specialists most likely to be sued. If you are a surgeon without tail insurance, you would be personally liable for all legal fees and indemnity payouts at trial for a claim made by a former patient. A tail policy will cover those expenses, and the policy carrier will provide your legal defense.

How tail insurance provides liability protection for surgeons

Tail insurance covers surgeons for liability for malpractice claims for incidents which occurred during previous employment, but may have not affected the patient adversely to trigger a claim until months or years later. The following are examples of previously occurring incidents that may result in future malpractice claims covered by a tail policy:

  • A surgical instrument left inside a patient that is discovered during a future surgery, or when it causes an emergent medical condition.

  • A missed diagnosis of cancer that is discovered months or years later when the cancer has become metastasized.

  • Long-term effects of an iatrogenic patient injury during surgery that have become worse over time to severely limit mobility or ability to work, and diminish overall quality of life.

Also, in some cases, the patient injury was apparent and acknowledged at the time of the surgical procedure, but the patient chose not to sue for malpractice. However, the surgeon is still be at risk for a lawsuit if the patient changes their mind within the state’s statutes of limitations for malpractice claims. These statutes vary from state to state, but are typically at least two years or longer.

Your SURGPLI tail insurance insurance broker will work with you to find the best tail coverage to fit the risk factors of your individual specialty and state statutes of limitations where you previously worked.

How SURGPLI helps you save on tail insurance

MEDPLI can often save you 20% on average by giving you the most affordable options for standalone tail policies from individual carriers. Those savings are more important than ever since malpractice insurance premiums are increasing in 2023 due to trends in higher payouts to plaintiffs and legal fees. So you can expect employer-provided tail premiums to increase as well.

Your MEDPLI insurance broker can help you choose the best and most affordable tail insurance coverage by:

  • Saving you time, effort, and money by finding the right standalone tail insurance policy and rates to cover the unique malpractice risks and requirements of your surgical specialty.

  • Obtaining tail policies from “A” rated malpractice insurance carriers known for their excellent track record in defending surgeons against claims, as well as for business and financial stability.

  • Providing you with all viable standalone tail insurance options from a wide range of carriers as an alternative to exorbitantly priced employer or hospital-provided policies.

Ready to change jobs? Get a free tail insurance evaluation from SURGPLI now.

Don’t wait. Talk to a SURGPLI insurance broker about your standalone tail insurance needs today. Learn how you can save money on tail policy rates – and how to get the best protection against malpractice claims from your previous employment.

Call us at 1-800-969-1339, email, or fill out a contact request form.

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