4 questions ODs should ask their current or potential malpractice insurance agent
This article was originally published on May 9, 2022.
When researching malpractice insurance options, there are plenty of options for doctors of optometry. It’s natural for ODs to have questions about which coverage is the best fit. Below are 4 questions ODs should ask their current or potential insurance agent to assist in their decision:
"How does the policy cover my scope of practice?"
Check to make sure that your malpractice insurance covers your state’s scope of practice. Each state’s scope of practice dictates which procedures ODs are permitted to perform. There are many instances where this can come into play. For example, while you may be allowed to perform certain procedures, it's possible that your malpractice insurance doesn't cover that procedure and wouldn’t cover any damages. Ask your insurance agent where the insurance policy contains language to confirm how your scope of practice is covered. The policy should be specific about what is covered and what isn’t. If you are unable to locate that language in the policy, have your agent show you precisely where it is covered.
Having malpractice insurance that automatically updates when scope of practice changes is important. If your coverage doesn’t automatically update, it could leave you liable for a malpractice claim. Keep in mind that if you need to clarify how scope of practice is covered and where it is located in your policy, AOA members can upload and receive a complimentary policy review of their current insurance policy.
"What is the agent's and customer service department’s understanding of the optometric profession?"
Customer service should be an essential part of your insurance provider. ODs should be able to rely on an insurance provider that is familiar with the nuances and terminology of optometry. Your provider’s customer service department should be able to answer common questions that optometrists would have regarding their policy. Research the background of the agent to determine how familiar they are with the optometric profession.
"What level of communication does the customer service department have with optometric professionals?"
Choosing an insurance provider that has a background working with optometric professionals ensures that your insurance company is up to date on changes in the profession, scope of practice coverage, and has experience dealing with prior cases involving optometry. Ask how your insurance company has the specific knowledge, connections, and track record that will be beneficial to your career as an OD.
“What expertise does the agent have in handling optometric malpractice insurance claims?”
Experience in handling complicated claims is a must for a malpractice insurance agent. Knowing the intricacies of the optometric profession, as well as knowing what to anticipate, can be a tremendous help when settling claims that are specific to ODs. That experience in handling similar cases is reassuring when you need it most. Research your agent to see how many claims they have dealt with regarding the optometric profession.
In closing, even though an agent may not know the answers to these important questions about the profession, the responsibility and liability ultimately falls back on the OD themselves. It is in your best interest to find an insurance agent that is familiar with the profession and the intricacies of optometry. If you get a simple answer to the questions above, it is probably not the answer that is in your best interest.
The Lockton Affinity Advantage
Doctors of optometry have relied on Lockton Affinity for over ten years to provide insurance coverage that is tailored made for optometrists and their practices. The Lockton Affinity malpractice policy contains specific language to cover your state’s scope of practice and does not require it to be amended if a state updates their scope of practice. The customer service department is trained to understand specific questions related to the optometry field. Lockton Affinity malpractice insurance is developed with hands-on involvement by ODs to ensure its coverage is customized for optometrists and their practices.
The Lockton Affinity malpractice insurance has multiple benefits for optometrists that may be difficult to find elsewhere. As an AOA member, you are entitled to take full advantage of the policy and its benefits. AOA members can obtain a Quick Quote in seconds or apply online within minutes.
Read the story of an OD left vulnerable by their insurance carrier and learn how you can protect yourself from unclear coverage
Getting a competitive rate is important, but only looking at price can be risky. Instead of only comparing cost, make sure you pay attention to the key aspects of your malpractice insurance policy that will protect you from costly claims and allow you to practice with peace of mind.
Knowing the most common claims facing optometrists is the first step to reducing your risk of a stressful and costly malpractice lawsuit.