Medical professional liability (MPL) insurance—also known as medical malpractice insurance—provides essential coverage for health care professionals over lawsuits and claims related to their medical services. It can offer peace of mind to both practitioners and patients, and it is required by law in many states. This article provides an overview of the benefits of MPL insurance, discusses its limitations and exclusions, and provides tips on choosing the right policy.

Key Benefits of Medical Professional Liability Insurance

Licensed health care professionals, including physicians, nurses and physician assistants, face potential professional liability claims regardless of their skill, experience or due diligence. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute has stated a majority of American doctors face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit during their careers. These claims can allege medical negligence, mistakes or oversights.

MPL insurance offers financial assistance in these situations. Policies generally cover third-party bodily injury, personal injury and property damage arising from the practice of medicine. MPL insurance also typically covers claim-related:

  • Medical expenses
  • Settlements
  • Judgments
  • Arbitration costs
  • Defense and cost containment expenses

MPL insurance is often required by law. Additionally, having a policy in place can help protect a health care provider’s reputation. It can provide peace of mind to such professionals, who know their businesses and personal assets are protected, and to patients, who know their interests are also covered.

Medical Professional Liability Insurance Exclusions & Limitations

Although MPL insurance may provide coverage for several incidents, it is important to note that not all claims are covered. Common exclusions include:

  • Reckless, intentional, wrongful, discriminatory, abusive, criminal, illegal or fraudulent acts
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Damage to business property
  • Employee injuries
  • Patient injuries unrelated to medical care (e.g., slip and fall accidents at the insured’s clinic)

Choosing the Right Policy

When selecting an MPL insurance policy, it is crucial to review its coverages and deductibles as well as its limits and exclusions. Further, MPL insurance is typically available as an occurrence policy or a claims-made policy:

  • Occurrence policy—This offers coverage if the event that gave rise to the claim occurs during the policy’s active period, regardless of when the claim is filed, even if the policy has lapsed or been canceled.
  • Claims-made policy—This offers coverage if a claim is filed during the policy’s active period and the event that gave rise to the claim happened after the policy’s specified retroactive date.

Health care professionals should consider additional factors when choosing an MPL insurance policy, including the financial strength and reputation of the insurance provider and how they handle claims. The experience of the agent is also an important variable to weigh.

MPL insurance policies can often be tailored to meet the specific needs of a medical specialty. Contact us today for more information on MPL insurance and other insurance solutions.