Florida Physicians Buying Guide to Medical Malpractice Insurance for 2020

Florida Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market Summary

Doctors in Florida have many options for medical malpractice insurance, some good and some not as good. The top insurers are:

  • The Doctor’s Company
  • MedPro
  • MAG Mutual Insurance Company
  • Norcal
  • ProAssurance Insurance Group
  • Aspen
  • Coverys
  • ISMIE

These companies are considered the top insurers in Florida due to their A.M. Best A-rating, their history, their long-term financial solvency, and their track records of successfully defending Floridian physicians.

Each carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting rates, causing rates to vary between carriers and specialties. To get a wide range of A-rated carrier quotes through a single point of contact, work with a broker such as MEDPLI. You can get a quote through us today.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Florida in 2020

Florida law states that practicing physicians must carry $100,000.00 in malpractice insurance; if doctors want hospital staff privileges, then they must carry $250,000.00 in medical malpractice insurance.

However, Florida law also permits doctors to skirt carrying medical malpractice insurance by instead using secured assets to cover claims in these amounts, like trust accounts, bank letters of credit, and similar arrangements. If deciding whether you should carry medical malpractice insurance, MEDPLI’s recommendation is that carrying medical malpractice insurance from an A-rated carrier is the most cost-effective way to protect yourself.

Most Florida doctors carry malpractice insurance that covers $250,000.00 per claim /$750,000.00 aggregate, though surgeons, OB/GYNs, and other physicians seeking higher limits will opt for $1,000,000.00 per claim/$3,000,000.00 aggregate.

The general recommendation for all doctors is to carry coverage at $1,000,000.00 per claim/$3,000,000.00 aggregate since it offers robust protection and health care centers in Florida typically require these limits before allowing admitting privileges.

Medical Malpractice Insurance and COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused hospitals in Florida to become overwhelmed and doctors in other specialties are being asked to treat COVID-19 patients. Given the influx of patients and the strains placed on the Floridian healthcare system, it is recommended now more than ever that doctors carry medical malpractice insurance.

Telemedicine in Florida

COVID-19 is creating a higher demand for telemedicine in Florida. Once the virus has been maintained, telemedicine is still expected to boom. Doctors treating patients via telephone or video call must be licensed in the state where their patient is located, and they are subject to the same liability as doctors meeting with patients face-to-face. It is recommended that doctors carry medical malpractice coverage that specifically covers telemedicine.

Malpractice Insurance Rates for Floridian Doctors

Rates for medical malpractice insurance are slightly higher than the national average and vary by location. Doctors working in cities like Miami and Orlando will pay higher rates than those in less-populated locales.

When insurance companies set rates, they consider location, specialty, and past claims history for a physician’s malpractice insurance policy.  Each malpractice insurance policy is underwritten individually, but the following rates are estimates to give you an idea of costs by specialty.

State filed rates from 2016

Tort Reform in Florida

Tort Reform in Florida is an ongoing saga. Starting in the 1980s, Florida’s state legislators passed tort reform packages that prevented plaintiffs from taking advantage of the jury system. Included in recent tort reforms are limits on punitive damages, caps on non-economic damages, and the shortening on deadlines for filing medical malpractice claims. However, caps on non-economic damage were recently struck down.

Though significant changes have been made to tort law in Florida, in 2015 it was reported by the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management that Florida had the highest loss rate in the country for settling medical malpractice claims. Settling and defending these cases in the state cost 2.9x the national average.

Damage Caps

Though Florida statutes allow a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages (which includes 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, these statutes were struck down in 2017.

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.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations in Florida for medical malpractice claims are as follows:

  • 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. In many situations, the statute of limitations does not start until the minor turns 18.

Tail Insurance in Florida

If you are a physician practicing in Florida with a claims-made policy and you DON’T have Prior Acts insurance, tail insurance is the best way to make sure you’re protected when you’re changing jobs. Rates for tail insurance in Florida can be high. To make sure you get the best rate, contact an insurance broker before you notify your employer of your resignation.

When and why is tail insurance necessary?

Most malpractice insurance policies are written on a claims-made basis, which means the coverage is effective based on when the claim is made, not when the incident occurred. Therefore you need tail coverage when your employer stops paying your claims-made policy. Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Outcomes in Florida for 2019

TOTAL PAYOUT

The total medical malpractice payout in Florida for 2019 was $215,768,100.

Closing Remarks

Given Florida’s older demographic, the state needs more primary care doctors. There is also a high demand for OB/GYNs, orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons. Though the tort laws in Florida are a bit repressive, compensation for physicians is higher than the national average. It is also a friendly state for private practice.

If you’re a physician working in Florida and looking for medical malpractice insurance, reach out to MEDPLI. We work with all specialties, whether you’re an anesthesiologist in Jacksonville, a surgeon in Miami, or a pediatrician in Orlando. We’ll help you obtain coverage from an A-rated carrier.

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