Everyone is familiar with the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It’s a little fairytale describing how a king’s vanity becomes so great that his subjects and even his most trusted advisors will not question him and will go along with anything he says. In the story, as the king proudly struts through the city naked and unashamed, there is one small voice that has the courage to stand up and challenge the deception. In the medical professional liability insurance business, the independent broker is that courageous voice.
Physicians and administrators have a great deal to consider when choosing whether to work with a medical professional liability insurance company directly or to work with a broker with more options. There are many good reasons to work with a broker that has access to multiple insurance carriers as opposed to a company agent. Working with a broker is the safest choice because they are highly regulated, operate under industry standards, and act on the client’s behalf. As your policy renewal date approaches consider this: You need someone to guide you in this important decision as a Partner, an Advocate, and a Leader.
Insurance brokers must abide by a set of ethical standards. At the Keane Group,we take this promise very seriously. This is one of the reasons the state Departments of Insurance require rigorous testing and background checks before issuing insurance licenses to brokers. Once licensed, a broker must obey the standard of ethics he has agreed to follow and is required to maintain Continuing Education credits in insurance product knowledge as well as ethics. In fact, a broker can lose his license for unethical behavior. Self-serving behaviors such as hiding information about changes in an insurance company structure or policy features, or steering a client to a company only for a higher commission rate would be grounds for loss of license.
In contrast, an agent of an insurance company represents the interests of the insurance company, and the legal responsibility and obligation is to the company not the client. A physician dealing directly with an insurance company may not be getting unbiased advice or service.
The Keane Group has always insisted on putting its clients’ needs above all else. We employ honest, hard-working brokers that live by a higher standard even than what is required, men and women who do the right thing for the client, no matter what. We are not in the insurance business to make a quick buck; we are a family-owned business and plan to continue to promote our reputation of integrity for generations to come. Our clients deserve it and our insurance carriers demand it.
A responsible broker works as an Advocate for its clients, not as an agent for any one insurance company. Like many other businesses the insurance business is cyclical. Since things are constantly changing, it is the broker’s responsibility to survey the available markets for coverage and find the best coverage and the best value for the customer. The cyclical nature of the insurance business means that an insurance company that is “just the right idea at the right time” might not be the right choice anymore when the market changes. A good broker will act as a watchdog for the customer and notify clients and potential clients of changes.
As the Leader in medical professional liability insurance, The Keane Group prides itself on its expertise in the industry. For over 17 years we have observed insurance companies come and go in and out of the medical malpractice insurance market. Because we only do one thing, we have been in a position to bring clients the newest innovations and cost-effective coverage, but we’ve also been there to tell clients when it’s time to find a better option. Thanks to improved risk management programs, lower claims experience, and tort reform in many places, our clients have more options than they’ve had in decades. Our approach has always been to inform our clients of the best coverage options available and let them make an educated decision about what is right for them. And we are right there with each client as a Partner negotiating coverage and price – acting on your behalf. Our clients deserve it and our insurance carriers demand it.
While the first responsibility is always to the client, brokers must also take relationships with insurance companies and business partners very seriously. In order to negotiate the best coverage at the best price, an experienced broker will have a good working relationship with the insurance underwriters from each company. Building trust and rapport is an integral part of the process, and that can only come from working with a company over a long period of time. Unfortunately, at times a broker must terminate a relationship with an insurance company, but a decision like that is not made lightly.
The Keane Group has the distinction of developing and maintaining some of the longest lasting relationships in the medical malpractice industry. Some of our valued partnerships date back over 20 years and are still going strong. In an age where loyalty, longevity, and integrity are rare, we feel that these are the ingredients for the perfect recipe, putting ourselves in the best position to serve our clients well. We do not engage in negative selling practices against our competitors and we only present the companies in our repertoire in an honest, straightforward way to our clients. We would only be hurting ourselves to do otherwise. Therefore, we maintain healthy relationships with insurance companies while constantly monitoring those companies’ financial status and posture toward the physician clients. As your advocate we feel it is our responsibility to keep a watchful eye on the insurance companies in the medical malpractice market. Our clients deserve it and our insurance carriers demand it.
One of the important messages in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” is that people need the courage to speak the truth no matter how risky it is, even if it humiliates the king. At The Keane Group, we take our responsibilities very seriously.