Premiums for medical malpractice insurance in Alaska are at reasonable levels as compared to a number of other states. This affordability and market stability is certainly due to the Alaskan legislative commitment to physicians and surgeons by passing meaningful tort reform — originally in 1997, then revising this act in 2005.
Several physician insurers have brought increased competition, and thus, premium savings to all medical specialties. The variety of insurance companies currently writing policies for health care providers in Alaska provides options for all scopes of practice. There are standard, admitted insurers, Risk Retention Groups and excess and surplus-lines insurers — no matter one's practice history or claim experience, premium savings can be obtained. The most common policy features included on Alaska malpractice insurance policies are:
- Claims-made or occurrence policy forms
- Full physician consent-to-settle
- AM Best Ratings of A- or better
- Defense costs/claim expenses outside the limits
- Free tail upon retirement, death or disability
- Complementary coverage for regulatory actions, including administrative action defense, HIPAA/HITECH violations, billing errors and omissions and cyber liability
Alaska Medical Malpractice Insurance Fast Facts
Doctors who are new to the state often have questions about physician malpractice insurance in Alaska. Does state law require you to purchase this insurance? How much coverage do you need? How much does medical malpractice insurance cost in Alaska? At Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., we can answer any of your questions about this essential coverage.
1. Are You Required to Carry Malpractice Insurance in Alaska?
Alaska is one of many states that does not require physicians to carry medical malpractice insurance. This means the state does not enforce any minimum carrying requirements, and doctors can forgo this insurance altogether. However, for most doctors, malpractice insurance is essential for protecting their careers and assets.
You may face carrying requirements in other ways. Many health care facilities, for example, have minimum carrying requirements for doctors with visiting privileges. Some health insurance plans even mandate that a physician obtain medical malpractice insurance to participate in coverage.
Even if you don't face any of these requirements, you may want to purchase malpractice insurance to avoid paying a large sum of money in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
2. How Much Malpractice Insurance Do I Need in Alaska?
Medical malpractice insurance requirements are related to your location, specialty and policy type, along with whether local facilities mandate minimum levels of coverage. If the facilities in your area have a minimum coverage requirement of $200,000/$600,000, for example, you may want to purchase a policy of this amount. If your specialty is high-risk, you may want to purchase more than the minimum coverage.
Depending on which type of policy you choose, you may have more or less coverage. For example, an occurrence policy will cover malpractice incidents that occur while your coverage is in its active period. After your policy expires, you will still have coverage for incidents that happened while you had coverage. With this type of policy, you may not need gap coverage.
If you purchase a claims-made policy, only incidents that occur while your policy is active will be covered. This policy type could leave you vulnerable to claims that are brought during your gaps in coverage. To cover the time between claims-made policies, you may need to purchase add-on coverage like nose coverage or tail coverage.
3. How Much Are Alaska Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates?
The cost of medical malpractice insurance in Alaska is informed by your location, specialty, history of claims, policy type and amount of coverage purchased. Those with higher-risk specialties, such as surgeons, may need to carry more coverage and will pay a higher rate for insurance as a result. If you want to know more about what your coverage may cost and how much coverage you need, discuss your circumstances with one of our insurance experts.
Tort Reform in Alaska
The Alaskan Legislature has passed fairly comprehensive tort reform including caps on noneconomic damages, statutes of limitations and limits on punitive damages. These liability reforms in The Last Frontier include expert witness requirements such as specialty and board certification within the particular area of practice in question.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Alaska prevents cases from being brought after two years from the date of the act which resulted in injury or death. The statute of limitation is tolled until the eighth birthday for alleged medical malpractice claims involving minors.
In Alaska, the cap on noneconomic damages is $250,000 in most cases, but with regard to severe cases, the limit is $400,000. Limits on punitive damages for most cases will be either $500,000 or three times the compensatory damage award — whichever is greater.
Top Carriers in Alaska
In Alaska, as with many other states, the top insurance companies tend to change regularly. The market changes frequently when new companies are entering and others are merging. Our nationwide connections at Gallagher Healthcare allow us to connect our customers to the top carriers in any state. When you choose to work with us, we can connect you to the top carriers in Alaska and help you find the best coverage.
Major Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies in Alaska
Since there are so many medical malpractice insurance companies in Alaska, you may struggle to identify the company that can offer the best possible coverage. Most physicians are unable to obtain the best malpractice rates without expert assistance. When you have an insurance advisor like Gallagher Healthcare, you can find the insurer that is right for you.
Alaska Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates by Specialty
Your medical specialty significantly impacts your rate for medical malpractice insurance in Alaska. If you are a doctor who offers high-risk care like operations, you may pay a higher rate for insurance than physicians in lower-risk areas. Along with your specialty, your rate will vary due to your location and history of malpractice claims. Always discuss your circumstances and needs with an insurance expert for a more specific malpractice insurance quote.
Why Partner With Gallagher in Alaska
If you opt to partner with us at Gallagher Healthcare, you'll gain access to Alaska's largest malpractice liability insurance provider. We actively interact with each of the state's top carriers, so we can negotiate the best possible terms for you. You can communicate with one of our real experts in Alaska malpractice coverage rather than deal with a computer.
We can help you obtain the most favorable coverage terms. With our knowledge and connections, we make negotiating your medical malpractice coverage possible. Our clients save an average of 20% to 50% when they switch to us.
With our wide range of products, we can help you find the other types of coverage you need, such as general business insurance. Our expert advisors provide real quotes, and we can meet your unique coverage needs, including multi-state coverage and gap insurance.
Resource for Physicians in Alaska
Though Alaska state law does not mandate that you obtain medical malpractice insurance, you may be putting your career and finances at risk if you forgo this essential coverage. Malpractice insurance will provide coverage in the event you face a malpractice claim, allowing you to avoid paying large sums of your own assets in a lawsuit. Further, you may not be able to practice in some health care facilities without this coverage.
We help numerous practitioners and medical facilities get coverage and the best terms available, and we can help you do the same. If you want more information about how this insurance works, learn more from us at Gallagher Healthcare today or request a quote for your medical malpractice insurance.
This chart compares the range of possible state filed medical malpractice premium rates by admitted markets and a few Gallagher Select markets broken out by the top 15 specialties in Alaska.
The map below provides a visual display of the nation and compares what a typical primary care physician might pay compared to each individual state and county. This research is based on the average rate for a single specialty, the most common limits in that state, and the mature claims made premium. The darker the blue, the higher the average premium, see how Alaska compares to other states.