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Medical Malpractice Insurance

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Tennessee Surgeons 2024 Buying Guide to Medical Malpractice Insurance

If you are a surgeon needing medical malpractice insurance in Tennessee, SURGPLI will work for you as your only trusted broker. Our insurance brokers have deep knowledge of Tennessee’s medical malpractice insurance marketplace, plus they stay up-to-date on the state’s legislation and tort reforms that affect rates and coverage requirements for your surgical specialty. Use the information in this 2024 Buying Guide to get ready to discuss your medical malpractice insurance needs with a SURGPLI broker.

With no cap on economic damages, and a $1 million cap on non-economic payouts for catastrophic injuries in Tennessee, surgeons practicing in the state need robust medical malpractice coverage. An independent MEDPI broker will work with you to find the right coverage and carrier at a competitive rate for your surgical specialty.

2024 Medical Malpractice Coverage and Rates for Tennessee

Surgeons in Tennessee are not required by law to obtain medical malpractice insurance. However, SURGPLI advises surgeons – especially in high-risk specialties – to secure and maintain strong liability coverage. Speak with a SURGPLI broker who will help you find the best coverage to reduce risk to your practice and protect against personal financial loss if sued.

Tennessee Estimated Malpractice Insurance Rates by Specialty

Each carrier uses its proprietary methods of setting rates, which vary among carriers and specialties. Each malpractice insurance policy is underwritten individually, but the following are approximate rates across all Tennessee locations to give you an idea of costs by high-risk specialty.

Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
General Surgery $40,000 $80,000 $50,000
Obstetrics and Gynecology Major Surgery $55,000 $110,000 $65,000
Orthopedic Surgery No Spine $30,000 $60,000 $60,000
Orthopedic Surgery Spine $50,000 $100,000 $60,000
Plastic Surgery $35,000 $70,000 $40,000
Bariatric Surgery $55,000 $110,000 $60,000
Neurosurgery $65,000 $130,000 $75,000

*Using the TN standard limits of $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Tennessee healthcare facilities typically require surgeons to carry medical malpractice insurance to have admitting privileges. The average requirement for coverage by Tennessee medical facilities is $1,000,000 per claim, $3,000,000 per year.

SURGPLI specializes in both medical malpractice insurance and tail insurance coverage for Tennessee surgeons, so contact us for a personalized quote based on your unique needs. We help surgeons when taking new contracts, changing jobs, and starting private surgical practices.

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Get Medical Malpractice Insurance Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving Tennessee

Surgeons in Tennessee have many good options for medical liability insurance. SURGPLI recommends carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best. These companies are A-rated because of their long-term financial solvency and a history of providing robust legal support for Tennessee surgeons. Some of the top carriers include:

  • The Doctors Company
  • MedPro Group
  • State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co.
  • ProAssurance
  • Coverys Group
  • ISMIE Group
  • Liberty Mutual Group

Save time and effort by getting a wide range of A-rated carrier quotes through SURGPLI as a single point of contact. Get a quote with us today.


Save time and effort by getting a wide range of A-rated carrier quotes through SURGPLI as a single point of contact.

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Tennessee Surgeons


Here is a brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance for surgeons in Tennessee:

Claims Made Insurance
Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy was in effect when the incident took place AND when the claim was filed. If a claim is filed after the end of the policy date, the claim is NOT covered. With a claims-made policy, you need tail malpractice insurance, which is a separately purchased insurance policy or endorsement, to ensure full protection. Claims-made insurance policies “step up” as they mature, so the first-year rate is lower than subsequent years.

Occurrence Insurance
Occurrence malpractice insurance provides coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy year, regardless of when a claim is reported to the carrier. Occurrence policies are more costly at the start of the policy, but the rate does not “step up”, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends.

Tail Insurance
Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if a former patient files a claim against you and you do not secure tail coverage. When preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like SURGPLI. Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period. The new employer’s policy won’t cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed. Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Reach out to an experienced SURGPLI broker who will work for you to find a tail policy at a great price.

Understand Your Risk of Malpractice Claims in Tennessee

While Tennessee has enacted medical malpractice tort reforms capping payouts for pain and suffering, the state does not limit the dollar amount of economic damages paid to plaintiffs. That’s just one reason why surgeons must have robust medical malpractice coverage. The total medical malpractice payout in Tennessee was $25,760,000 in 2022. Here are some of the most common iatrogenic patient injuries that have been named in medical malpractice lawsuits against surgeons practicing in high-risk specialties:

Neurosurgery – Claims relating to laminectomy surgeries (anterior cervical fusion and posterior lumbar fusion), including improper performance of surgery, retained foreign body, delay in surgery, and unnecessary surgery.

Bariatric Surgery – Lack of identifying and treating complications of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy; and bowel perforation during surgery.

Orthopedic Surgery – Post-operative implant and prosthesis infections; sciatic nerve injury in hip replacements; deep vein thrombosis developing into pulmonary embolism.

OB/GYN Surgery – Birth injuries caused by improper use of medical devices or techniques; profound brain injuries at birth; misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of fetal distress.

Plastic Surgery – Improper performance and poor outcomes of higher-risk elective cosmetic surgeries; surgical errors and negligence regarding post-operative infections, bad facial filler injections, uneven breast augmentations, and visible scarring.

General Surgery – Surgical errors, such as when surgery is performed on the wrong body part, or when a sponge or surgical instrument is left in the patient’s body leading to a post-operative complication or death; or failing to close a bleeding vein or artery.

Check out the SURGPLI Medical Malpractice Insurance Blog for articles that discuss ways private practice surgeons can best manage the risk of being sued for malpractice, as well as other information on medical malpractice insurance trends and legislation.

Tort Reform in Tennessee

Notable tort reforms in Tennessee include:

  • In 2008, Tennessee passed legislation requiring that providers receive written notice within 60 days of a claim, plus a “certificate of good faith clause”, which backs up the merit of the claim by an expert witness
  • In 2011, Governor Bill Haslam, in office at the time, signed the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011. This legislation introduced several malpractice-related statutes, setting caps on noneconomic and punitive damages and introducing the state to comparative fault. If more than one defendant is found to be at fault for damages, the defendants will bear a proportionate share of damages.
  • As with many states across the country, tort reform in Tennessee is constantly challenged in court. The Tennessee Supreme Court continues to examine cases that question whether caps on non-economic and punitive damages violate the Tennessee Constitution.

Tennessee’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

There is no cap on economic damages paid to plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits in Tennessee. 

Tennessee does have a cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages, with the following stipulations:

  • Non-economic damages are capped at $750,000 per claim.
  • The cap for non-economic damages increases to $1 million if the injury is catastrophic (paralysis, wrongful death, etc.).
  • If more than one defendant is found to be at fault for damages, the defendants bear a proportionate share of damages.
  • Punitive damages are capped at “an amount not to exceed the greater of twice the total of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.”

Tennessee’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

The following guidelines outline the state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims:

  • A person in Tennessee has one year after discovering the injury to file a medical malpractice claim.
  • Malpractice claims must be filed within three years of when the incident occurred.
  • If the injury involves a foreign object left inside the body or fraud, there is no filing time limit for when the incident occurred.

The statutes of limitations for medical malpractice can be complex and vary from case to case. Consulting with SURGPLI brokers who understand the ins and outs of this system is an important part of protecting your medical practice with the right amount of medical malpractice insurance coverage.

Need Medical Malpractice Insurance in Tennessee? Request a Quote Today

Reach out to SURGPLI to ensure you have strong medical malpractice coverage for your private surgical practice in Tennessee. Also, we help contracted surgeons secure tail coverage when changing jobs. Whether you’re a bariatric surgeon in Nashville, an OB/GYN in Memphis, or an orthopedic surgeon in Knoxville, SURGPLI brokers will help you obtain coverage from an A-rated carrier.

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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