Alaska Malpractice Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Malpractice Insurance. A type of insurance purchased by health care professionals (and sometimes by other types of professionals, such as lawyers). It protects such professionals against potential negligence claims made by their patients and/or employers.
Alaska malpractice insurance covers bodily injury or property damage as well as liability for personal injury such as mental anguish. This includes the costs of defense and cost containment expenses.
Alaska malpractice insurance protects your company from negligence claims with rates as low as $67/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Malpractice Insurance Policy Basics
Alaska malpractice insurance comes in several basic forms:
- An occurrence policy provides coverage for alleged incidents (injuries) that happened during the policy year regardless of when the claim gets reported to the carrier. The claim can be reported at any time in the future, even if the policy has cancelled. The occurrence policy provides a separate coverage limit for each year the policy is effective. Occurrence policies offer a steady base premium that does not increase as the policy matures.
- With a claims-made policy, an incident must happen and be reported to the insurance company while the policy is effective. As can be seen, this requires that coverage must extend for a significant period of time to provide adequate protection since a considerable amount of time may elapse between when an incident may have occurred and when a claim is made.
- Tail insurance refers to a policy that the insured can purchase when he discontinues his claims-made policy. Tail coverage requires that the policy holder pay an additional premium. The issue, however, is that the additional premium coverage can be extremely expensive - sometimes 150 or even 200 percent of the price of a mature claims-made policy, depending on the medical specialty and the location.
Is AK Malpractice Insurance Mandatory?
There is no legal requirement to have medical malpractice insurance but it's important to protect yourself and your business against events you cannot foresee. Also, in today's society, people are increasingly ready to bring a claim against you if they feel dissatisfied - whether or not you are actually at fault. Claims can run into many thousands if not millions of dollars and having Alaska malpractice insurance could be the difference between a business being able to survive a claim or not.
Buying Medical Malpractice Insurance
When shopping for a AK medical malpractice liability insurance policy, most physicians focus on premium costs. But physicians shopping for a malpractice policy should also focus on getting the right coverage limits. A coverage limit is a provision in a policy under which the insurance company says that it will only pay for losses sustained by the policyholder up to a certain dollar amount. If limits are too low, the physician is needlessly exposed to personal liability. Too high, and the physician is paying for more coverage than needed.
Malpractice Insurance: Costs and Components
Claims-made policies tend to be less costlier than occurrence policies because of the smaller insurance company time exposure to claims. Some other factors that determine how much the policy costs include:
- Physician or provider specialty (costs vary based upon exposure to risk).
- Type of coverage, occurrence or claims made.
- Limits of liability (aggregate amounts, deductibles and managed care requirements).
- Location of practice (costs vary widely by state, county and city).
- Loss history.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Cover?
AK malpractice insurance covers several expenses involved in defending and settling the malpractice suit; it also pays the damages if you are found liable. The covered costs include: court costs, attorneys' fees, settlement costs, arbitration costs, and compensatory damages and medical damages.
Medical malpractice will usually not cover liability arising from criminal acts, sexual misconduct or alteration of medical records. Other typical exclusions are for: punitive damages and specialized procedures (e.g., radial keratotomy) for which coverage may be "bought back" in return for additional premium.
Handling Malpractice Claims
In most cases, in order for your insurance policy to provide you with coverage, you should notify the insurance company as soon as reasonably possible of the problem. If you do actually become involved in a claim or lawsuit, for example, you receive a summons and complaint, before coverage is activated, you must notify the insurance company right away. Always follow up an oral notice in writing.
Why You Need Malpractice Insurance
Even the most competent professional can make a mistake and should protect against that possibility. Defending a malpractice lawsuit is often expensive even when the defendant wins. Health care professionals win most malpractice lawsuits, but the legal system rarely allows for the recovery of expenses by the winner. Since the cost of defense is high and a loss can be devastating, this insurance product is essential to every practice.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Medical Insurance
Discover small business insurance for medical and dental professionals. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability that protects health care professionals from liability causing in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage.
- Ambulatory Surgical Center
- Art Therapy
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Dental Lab
- Dental Office
- Diagnostic Imaging Centers
- Healthcare Facilities
- Home Medical Equipment Dealers
- Marriage & Family Therapy
- Medical Laboratories
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Medical Practice
- Mental Health Counseling
- Occupational Therapy
- Physicians Office
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Speech Therapy
- Substance Abuse Counseling
Health care providers are the most trusted individuals in our society. Ironically, they are the same ones who can do the greatest harm. They actually have the right to invade our bodies with knives and to poison us with chemicals - all in the name of health care and with the goal of relieving our symptoms and hopefully bringing about a cure.
While the actions of these professionals normally benefit us, insurance coverage must be available for the times when mistakes happen and things go wrong. These professionals and their facilities have extensive property exposures that are becoming more and more intricate and whose values are increasing exponentially.
The 'one size fits all' approach that once could have applied to insurance for health care providers and their facilities no longer applies.
Professional liability offers protection against claims of malpractice for all sums that the medical professional becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of rendering or failing to render professional services.
Professional and medical malpractice exposures are the most expensive and difficult of all exposures for health care providers. The commercial general liability policy excludes these exposures so separate coverage is needed. Most professional liability policies are written on a claims-made basis and, as a result, tail coverage and retroactive dates are important coverage issues to be aware of when evaluating the insured’s coverage needs and comparing coverages.
The coverage provided is often called medical malpractice. For decades, many involved in the health care field and insurance companies that provide insurance coverage to providers have stated that malpractice lawsuits have created an ongoing crisis of restricting insurance availability, due to loss of insurance companies that write the coverage and significant rate increases.
As a result, state legislatures have taken the following actions to address the situation:
Imposed a dollar limitation of liability for malpractice suits.
Modified statutes of limitation to limit the number of years that a suit may be brought against a physician following a negligent act.
Modified when the statute of limitations takes effect. An example is beginning from a negligent act's occurrence rather than from its discovery.
Passed laws to modify tort law procedures and doctrines that relate to malpractice.
Because of differences in law by state it is important to know the states in which the covered health care providers are licensed and regularly practice. Some health care providers may practice in multiple states because of their particular specialty, their reputation or the demand for their services. Some hospitals may have ownership in facilities or provide services to patients that are outside of their main location state.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Physicians and Surgeons Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also find Alaska insurance agents & brokers and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.