Create Your Hurricane Crisis Plan Now!

By Carrie Millar, MBA, CAE, FDA Services Agency Manager

Life in sunny Florida can have many benefits; relatively warm weather year-round and access to beautiful beaches are just two upsides of living and practicing in this state. However, there also are some downsides, the worst being hurricanes. These destructive, swirling storms come barreling toward the peninsula almost every year and, although storms can vary in intensity, they always bring some sort of damage with them.

Is your practice prepared to handle the chaos that comes after a big storm? In a state where hurricanes are a normal part of life, it’s vital to have a hurricane/crisis plan ready for your practice in the event of an emergency. Not every plan is the same, but there are several hallmarks of an ideal strategy to keep in mind while crafting your readiness plan.

Decide when your practice will close and reopen.
Will your closing coincide with county schools and/or other government entities? Have a policy in place and be sure that both your employees and patients are aware of that policy.

Notify patients and staff if you need to close/reopen.
Keep updated emergency contact lists and create a notification system that can be used in any emergency scenario.

Make sure your practice can afford a couple days of closure.
Keep an emergency fund to help your practice survive in case you need to be closed for several days after a storm hits. Business income insurance and off-premises power failure coverage also will help with the costs, but they often have a 72-hour waiting period.

Protect your data!
Back up your practice’s data regularly and keep important documents in a weatherproof safe. Also, keep copies of important records, such as employee, vendor and client contact information, collected and backed up at a secure off-site location.

Update your inventory list.
Make sure you have an updated list of all the major assets in your practice, or even better, take a video of all the items. This is a great way to make sure you can account for all items in the event of a loss.

Make sure you’re covered!
Communicate annually with your insurance agent to review your coverage details. Ask about any additional coverage that may be right for your practice. Being prepared can make a difference.

Key Coverages to Have for Hurricane Season

1. Wind/Hail Coverage: Make sure that your policy has coverage for physical damage caused from wind; often there is a separate deductible for this coverage.

2. Business Income and Extra Expense: This coverage pays for your practice’s missed income when there is physical damage to your building. It also pays for temporary office space in the event of a larger damage amount.

3. Off-premises Power/Utility Services: In the event that you do not have any physical damage, you may still have to close your practice because of interruption of communication, power or water services. This coverage will help recoup some of that lost income.

4. Flood Insurance: We recommend that all business owners consider purchasing this coverage to have complete coverage for any water damage. While wind driven rain is covered by wind insurance, rising water is not.

Make sure to read the new hurricane insurance guide developed by FDA Services for the 2016 hurricane season, “Hurricane Proof: 2016 Practice Readiness Guide.”

This article was prepared by FDA Services. FDA Services’ experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. If you feel you need a review of your current insurance policies, call us at 800.877.7597 or email insurance@fdaservices.com.

 

Claim Scenario: Hired and Non-owned Auto

By Heidi Stearn, The Hartford, Outpatient Healthcare Program Director

Dr. Smith has a patient coming in for her dentures at 11 a.m. It already is 10:30 and the dental lab still has not dropped them off at the office. Dr. Smith does not want to reschedule the patient, so he asks his receptionist to go to the lab to pick them up in her car, which usually occurs a few times a week. As soon as the receptionist pulls out of the driveway, she rear ends another car. After calling the police, the receptionist realizes the other driver has no insurance and she knows the other driver is going to be looking for her to cover the damage and medical bills. Without thinking, the receptionist indicates that she was just leaving the dental office to pick up the dentures and feels awful about the accident.

A few months pass, and Dr. Smith receives a letter in the mail from an attorney indicating he is responsible for the damages his employee caused, given she was in the scope of work. Dr. Smith quickly calls his insurance agent and learns that he has hired/non-owned coverage and he won’t have to pay anything out of pocket, given this accident occurred in the scope of employment. If he did not have this coverage, his practice could be held liable for the damages that his employee caused. Make sure your office insurance policy has hired and non-owned auto liability insurance!

Heidi Stern is responsible for working with FDA Services on the insurance program. Call FDA Services at 800.877.7597 today for more information.

Personal Disability Insurance: The Topic No One Wants to Talk About, But Everyone Needs to!

By Dan Zottoli, Director of Sales – Atlantic Coast, FDA Services Inc.  

 

Choosing the right personal disability insurance policy is one of the most important decisions you will make. So much time, money and effort was spent preparing for your dental career. What if you became ill or injured, and could no longer work in your chosen profession? This question is the basis for the decision and the very reason for the need for personal disability insurance. Now that you have come to the conclusion that you need a policy, what policy do you buy?

I always say that the “devil is in the details” with personal disability insurance. Two policies may appear to be similar at first glance, but will have very different paths should a claim arise. One of the most important aspects of a personal disability insurance policy is the definition of disability. This definition will tell the policy when you are disabled (to them) and under what circumstances the insurance company should pay a benefit. The most comprehensive definition will read as follows (with small variations from company to company):

1. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation.

This definition, referred to as “own-occupation,” is the most desired definition and obviously the most liberal. A disabled dentist that meets the requirements set forth in the above definition can return to work in another occupation and still receive their check from the disability insurance carrier. Now, here comes the “devil of details” — some companies will promote their policy as “own-occupation,” when it reads as follows:

2. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation AND are not gainfully employed.

3. You are considered disabled if, based upon illness or injury, you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your own occupation DURING the regular occupation period.

The word “AND” in the second definition above is substantial. This type of definition essentially states that you will not receive a benefit if you go back to work in any occupation. The term “regular occupation period” in the third definition above will specify how long they will honor the “own-occupation” language. When the regular occupation period ends, the policy will base your qualification for benefits on what you can do based upon your education, skills or experience.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when looking at personal disability insurance. The most important factor is finding the right agent to assist that can explain and clarify the details of each company. The FDA Services’ experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. For more information, contact FDA Services at 800.877.7597 or insurance@fdaservices.com.