The tough market is here for medical malpractice insurance. Nuclear rulings against medical groups are happening with greater frequency, and underwriters are responding to the increase in their losses and severity.
Recently, medical malpractice insurance costs have spiraled out of control for some medical groups. Some are experiencing 100-300% price spikes, cap drops, or carriers pulling out full coverage. For these groups, the market can feel particularly hostile. Even more frustratingly, to make up for adverse claims, some carriers are also increasing premiums for groups with quality, profitable, and clean records.
What can help ease the cost constraints in this unfavorable environment? Practice must be prepared and the control should be.
The foundation for controlling your medical malpractice insurance costs starts with strategic planning, actively communicating with your agent/broker and insurer, and proactively implementing implement risk management best practices. It is never too early to think and plan for the innovation phase ahead.
With a solid foundation, here are six measures that can help control costs and improve the management of your practice in the long run. If you have implemented these recommendations, it is important to communicate your efforts to your broker and insurer.
- Promote a culture of safety: Complaints are inevitable, but they can be cut with a new safety culture that keeps your whole team engaged. Your patients will also notice your commitment to safety.
- Document: Most practices did almost everything right. Now is the time to start recording it all, including:
- Patient contact information
- Safety and accountability reporting encourages and doesn’t penalize employees
- Proactively detect potential safety issues
- Monitor and resolve safety issues to find out and prevent
- Optimize risk management: Use the service provider’s risk management resources, welcome in-person visits to the site, and be willing to learn and implement recommended safety protocols.
- Ready to share: Now is not the time to be modest. Share with your insurance broker and insurer about your safety strategies and implemented documentation. And discuss your best practices for employee retention to minimize staffing challenges and shortages.
- Find out about competitors: Finding out how similar medical groups in your area are performing can help your clinic know where to focus on training and process improvement.
- Building relationships between clients and brokers: An insurance broker can help gauge your practice against peers and navigate the market and service provider landscape. Your broker is an advocate for the practice with the carrier. Welcome meetings with your broker to ask questions and report progress. The more they fully understand your operation, the better they can tell your safety story and help limit excessive premium increases.
Even in a tough market, there are opportunities to ease the burden of raising rates. By planning and building a foundation of best practices, you can get back to driving, controlling costs, and ultimately building a better practice.
Andy Tucknott and Travis Davis provide their professional consulting services to managers and practice owners throughout Oregon.
Serving the Northwest, PayneWest Insurance Healthcare Clinics offers its expertise to medical clinic managers and owners. Brokers guide clients to choose the service provider that best aligns their business goals and delivers the best value, and our partnership goes beyond that. We consult with clients on implementing risk management strategies and advocate with carriers on behalf of clients to help them understand how it works and its performance. PayneWest’s claims advocacy services assist customers experiencing losses and assist in reaching a fair resolution. Before innovation and as practices change, we ensure that the best solutions are in place and adjust strategies as needed.