Washington Malpractice Insurance Policy Information
Washington 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.
Washington 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.
Washington 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
Washington 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 WA 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 Washington 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 WA 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?
WA 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.
Washington State Economic Outlook & Business Insurance Requirements
For anyone who is thinking about starting up a business, it is important that they choose a location that suites the industry that they wish to work in. With that said, in order to determine whether or not a location is the right choice for your business, you should have an idea about the state's economic status. You should also have an understanding of the WA state regulations related to the types of commercial insurance that you are required to carry.
If you are thinking about starting up a business in the State of Washington, below, we offer some insight into the state's economic status. We also offer a glimpse at the WA insurance requirements that business owners must abide by.
State Of The Economy In Washington
Washington state may be famous for its gloomy weather, but when it comes to the economy, things here look bright. The economic outlook for Washington is healthy. It is expected that there will be more jobs added in the 2022 calendar year. There will be an increase in the productivity of labor. There will also be an increase in the state's unemployment rate during the year 2022, with a forecasted rate of 4.7 percent.
Washington is regarded as one of the top for businesses in the nation. In fact, it is listed at the 11th best state for business by Forbes. The industry that is expected to see the most growth are related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Among the top industries in this state include information technology. Education, healthcare, finance, and travel and tourism also contribute largely to the awesome economy of this state.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In WA
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates the insurance industry in WA. Businesses are legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This type of coverage is required for any business that employs either hourly or salaried employees, and either part-time or full-time employees. You are also required to carry commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle to conduct any type of business in this state. That means that if you are using a car to transport goods, make deliveries, or meet with clients, you must carry business auto insurance.
While commercial general liability insurance is not required in Washington, it is highly recommended. This type of insurance offers protection from lawsuits and other legal fees that may arise.
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.
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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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