Surgeons Opening a Private Practice or Changing Employers Need Tail Insurance

Are you planning to change employers soon, or intending to 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.

The first thing you need to know is that your employer will likely offer you a tail coverage option, but at a premium that typically runs 200% 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 MEDPLI tail insurance insurance brokers are ready to help you save money on your tail policy.

Tail Insurance for Surgeons Explained

What is tail insurance?

Your employer-provided malpractice policy ends on your last day of work. Tail insurance 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.

How Do Surgeons Know If They Need Tail Insurance?

Tail insurance is only necessary if your previous malpractice insurance policy from your former employer was a form of claims-made, also known as 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 historically, surgeons 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

Tail insurance covers surgeons for liability for malpractice claims for incidents that occurred during previous employment but may have not affected the patient adversely enough 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.

How SURGPLI Helps Surgeons Save Money on Tail Insurance

SURGPLI 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 – malpractice insurance premiums are increasing each year due to trends in higher payouts to plaintiffs and legal fees. Surgeons should expect the cost of employer-provided tail premiums to increase as well.

Your SURGPLI 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.

Get a fast quote for tail insurance or call 1-800-969-1339

SURGPLI is a division of MEDPLI, an independent insurance brokerage that specializes in making medical malpractice insurance simple for doctors.

Max Schloemann

About the Author

Max Schloemann is a medical malpractice insurance broker, focused on helping physicians secure Medical Professional Liability coverage. He helps Doctors and Surgeons, as well as Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and healthcare entrepreneurs launch new medical practices across the country. Max graduated Magna cum Laude from Southern Illinois University College of Business and was named the Outstanding Management Senior. Max’s career in medical malpractice insurance began in 2008 with an industry-leading firm. Max founded SURGPLI in 2023 to help surgeons navigate the complexities of medical malpractice insurance in the new era of healthcare. Max’s wife, Kristen, a Physician Assistant, and their 4 kids (plus 1 dog) enjoy hiking, golf, and cooking.

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