Dental Laboratory Professional Liability Coverage
The dental laboratory industry is evolving and many laboratories are providing value-added services, such as treatment advice and chairside consultations. The increased presence in case management for the patient exacerbates the NEED for the dental laboratories to have professional liability insurance.
Dental Laboratories are going beyond just filling a prescription from the dentist’s; they are offering their professional advice. What happens when the treatment consultation or advice doesn’t provide the desired restoration? Will the dentist stand in front of the laboratory and take all the blame for a procedure that produced an undesirable result? Do dentists currently take the blame and stand up for their poor impressions or do you shoulder the costs to have the case reworked?
Professional Liability Insurance covers your company or you individually, in the event that a patient/dentist holds you responsible for services rendered or consultations you provided, or failed to provide, that did not have the expected or promised results. The defense of the allegations cost thousands of dollars and any subsequent judgements or settlements add insult to injury on top of the defense cost. Professional Liability Insurance is your protection from crippling defense cost and awards from our litigious society. The minimum limits recommended are $1,000,000 per occurrence / $2,000,000 aggregate for your professional liability and we strongly suggest a $2M occ / $4M agg for the nominal increase in premiums…
There are two basic types of insurance coverages for Professional Liability: Claims- Made and Occurrence. There are unique features to be aware of with each type of coverage and especially when switching.
An OCCURRENCE based policy is the simplest and our recommendation, the coverage is for the duration of the effective dates, regardless of when the claim is made. It doesn’t matter if you still have the same carrier or if you have retired or changed employment; the insurance carrier is responsible who had coverage in effect at the time the date of service had OCCURRED regardless if the policy is still in effect or when the claim was submitted.
Claims-made policies (NOT our recommendation) have more moving parts and possible pitfalls then an occurrence policy. A claims-made policy covers malpractice that occurred during the policy period and was reported while the policy was still in force. The Claims-made Policy has to be in effect when the claim is PRESENTED AND after the start date of the claims-made policy. The original start of a claims-made policy is considered to be the Retro date and is the permanent start date.
***If you switch to another insurance carrier with a claims-made coverage, make sure the new carrier is using the permanent start date (Retro-date). If you do not use the retro-date, any claim(s) from the previous carrier(s) term will be denied from the new carrier. The retro-date should be specified on the new carrier’s policy which is saying they will cover any claims that are presented from the retro-date to current.
Dental Laboratory Owners who are looking to retire and sell have considerations to make with a claims-made malpractice policy. If you are going to retire, change employment or switch to an occurrence-based policy, you will need to purchase an ‘extended reporting period’ which is known as a ‘tail’. The tail coverage allows the claims-made coverage to be extended for reporting purposes, otherwise a claim that is presented AFTER the expiration is denied.
The simplest and most inexpensive way to get professional liability coverage is to ask your agent to endorse your current business owners policy with an occurrence professional liability coverage. If you are unable to get an endorsement from your current insurance company, you can quote a stand-alone professional liability policy (typically the most expensive). The third scenario is to seek an agent who sells dental laboratory insurance and has professional liability coverage on all their business owners policies and can give you multiple quotes.
Call Scott at The Sebrite National Dental Laboratory Insurance Program 800-366-6466 to receive a quote with Professional Liability included!!