Florida Needs More Bariatric Surgeons

Nearly 38.2% of Florida’s adult population is considered obese with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). More than 16% of obese Floridians have a BMI higher than 35, and nearly 7% are considered morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or higher.

Clearly, Florida needs more bariatric surgeons specializing in weight loss procedures. However, complex bariatric surgeries carry a high risk of serious intraoperative patient injuries and post-operative complications.

That’s why Florida bariatric surgeons need robust medical malpractice insurance.

As your only trusted broker, MEDPLI will help you find the right coverage at the best rate in Florida.

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If you are a Florida bariatric surgeon in private practice, or planning to open a new practice in Florida, use this guide prepared by independent MEDPLI insurance brokers to give you a concise overview of medical malpractice insurance. Then contact a MEDPLI insurance broker to discuss your coverage needs and get a quote.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Florida Bariatric Surgeons

Florida bariatric surgeons are not legally required to carry medical malpractice insurance. However, Florida does require physicians to have personal assets set aside to guarantee malpractice payouts.

Most Florida doctors do carry medical malpractice insurance that covers $250,000 Each Claim/$750,000 Aggregate per year. Florida surgeons typically opt for $1,000,000 Each Claim/$3,000,000 Aggregate per year.

However, bariatric surgery is considered a high-risk specialty, so you will need more coverage than $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year to be adequately protected if sued for malpractice.

MEDPLI strongly recommends securing coverage from an A-rated carrier as the most cost-effective way to protect against devastating financial loss if you are sued for malpractice in Florida. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for bariatric surgeons. We can help you find the best coverage at a great price.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements For Florida Bariatric Surgeons Checklist

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Florida Bariatric Surgeons

Here is an brief overview of the three most common types of medical malpractice insurance in Florida:

1. Claims Made Insurance

Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy is in effect both when the incident took place AND when the claim is 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 make sure you have full protection.

2. 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 generally stays the same for the length of the policy, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends.

3. 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 you are preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like MEDPLI. Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period. The new employer’s policy is not going to cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed.

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

Let a MEDPLI Broker Help You Choose the Best Policy for Your Practice

Every surgeon’s situation is unique, so we recommend a conversation with a MEDPLI insurance broker to the discuss the unique needs of your Florida practice.

Your MEDPLI insurance broker will explain the benefits and limitations of each type of medical malpractice insurance available in your state to ensure you get the right type and amount of coverage for your bariatric specialty.

A Rated Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers Top Companies In Florida

Get Quotes from A-Rated Carriers Serving Florida Bariatric Surgeons

MEDPLI insurance brokers will obtain quotes from medical malpractice insurance from carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best for their long-term financial solvency and robust legal support of policyholders. The top carriers in Illinois include:

  • The Doctors Company

  • MedPro Group

  • MagMutual

  • ProAssurance

  • NORCAL Group (A Part of ProAssurance)

  • Coverys Group


Why Bariatric Surgeons Are Classified as High Risk by Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical malpractice insurance underwriters classify bariatric surgery as a high-risk specialty because of the surgical side-effects and complications that commonly lead to allegations of malpractice. Therefore, no matter what state you practice in, the cost of medical malpractice insurance will be higher for bariatric surgeons compared to other lower-risk specialties.

Top Reasons Why Florida Bariatric Surgeons Are Sued

A review of malpractice claims data by “A” rated malpractice insurance carrier MedPro Group found that improper surgical performance, poor management of surgical patients, diagnostic errors, and poor doctor/patient communication contributed to the risks of bariatric surgery, including:

  • Infection

  • Hernia

  • Hemorrhage

  • Bowel obstructions

  • Gastritis

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

  • Anastomotic strictures, ulcers, and leaks

  • Deficiencies and poor absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients

Also, according to a 2022 closed claim registry report by the ASMBS, Florida bariatric surgeons have been sued for malpractice most often for the following reasons:

  • Separation of the re-attached intestine

  • Bowel leakage following gastric bypass

  • Post-operative blood clots resulting in stroke

Bariatric surgeons can reduce their risk of a malpractice lawsuit by implementing a comprehensive risk management strategy. For tips on fine-tuning your risk management strategy, check out our Bariatrics Surgeon’s Guide To Managing Risk.

Florida’s Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

Consulting with a MEDPLI insurance broker who understands the complexities of Florida’s medical malpractice laws will ensure that your bariatric practice is protected with the right amount of coverage.

Florida’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In Florida there is no limit on the amount of compensation a plaintiff can recover for past and future economic damages, such as medical care necessitated by the malpractice, lost income, lost future earning capacity, and any other measurable economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice.

Previously, Florida statutes allowed a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages (which included compensation for “pain and suffering”) and a $1,000,000 cap on non-economic damages if the malpractice resulted in death or a vegetative state, but these statutes were struck down as unconstitutional in 2017.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

The statute of limitations in Florida for medical malpractice claims in general/ordinary negligence cases have been reduced from four years to two years as a result of the tort reforms passed in 2023:

  • Ordinary negligence carries a statute of limitation of two years from the date the harm from the malpractice was discovered or could reasonably have been discovered.

  • The statute of limitations might be extended to four years in cases where the injury wasn’t immediately discoverable.

  • For cases that involve intentional misrepresentation, concealment or fraud is, the statute of limitations is seven years.

  • For minors, the statute of limitations is different. When an action is being brought on behalf of a minor child, a medical malpractice claim may be filed up until the child’s eighth birthday.

Bariatric Surgeon Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Florida

With no caps on economic and non-economic damages, bariatric surgeons in Florida are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they don’t have adequate medical malpractice coverage.

In 2022, the total medical malpractice payout in Florida was $203,849,700.

The following examples of Florida medical malpractice lawsuits found in favor of the plaintiff, or paid as a settlement, show the critical need for bariatric surgeons to have robust liability coverage:

Jury Awards Bariatric Surgery Patient $178 Million

A male patient suffered bowel leakage after laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery. The leak was not detected for several days before additional surgery to repair the leak. After that surgery, the patient had a stroke, leaving him brain damaged and wheelchair bound.

Bariatric Surgery Case Settled for $1 Million

A female patient died after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery due to a post-operative complication of internal bleeding, which was not detected and treated in time.

Even the Best Bariatric Surgeons In Florida Need Protection From Malpractice Lawsuits

Most surgeons face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit brought forth by a patient throughout their career, so it’s essential to be covered when it happens to you. In addition to damages awarded to the plaintiff, having medical malpractice insurance assures that your legal costs will be covered regardless of whether the case is won or lost.

How MEDPLI Brokers Help Bariatric Surgeons Save Time and Money on Medical Malpractice Insurance

Working with MEDPLI as your trusted broker takes the guesswork and effort out of trying to get the right coverage at the best rate on your own. We help you save time and money by:

  • Researching all of your best coverage, rate, and “A” rated carrier options that specifically meet the requirements of your bariatric specialty and practice location in Florida.

  • You fill out one application and we provide multiple quotes.

  • Asking about any policy discounts offered for a new practice, medical association members, or physicians with no previous claims, for example. Some of our carrier partners offer discounts for risk management and provide CMEs.

  • Researching flexible payment options offered by carriers to best fit the budget for your practice.

  • Reviewing and consulting with you on all quotes, payment options, and possible discounts to help you make the best choice of coverage and rate for your needs.

MEDPLI insurance brokers are ready to help you navigate the complexities of Florida’s medical malpractice laws and secure the right amount of coverage for your bariatric surgical practice. From submitting your application, obtaining the best rates for new policies and renewals from “A” rated carriers and more, MEDPLI is the only medical malpractice insurance broker you’ll ever need.