Claims-made vs. Occurrence: Which malpractice insurance is right for me?

Claims-made vs. Occurrence: Which malpractice insurance is right for me?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

When comparing professional liability insurance providers, it makes sense to look at scope of coverage, premium amount and policy limits to make an informed decision. Another important detail that can sometimes be overlooked — is the policy claims-made or occurrence coverage? Understanding the difference is vital. AOAExcel’s insurance program administrator, Lockton Affinity, defines the two coverage options as:

  • Claims-made Policies: These policies only provide coverage if the policy is in effect both when an incident took place and when a lawsuit is filed. This means that coverage must be extended for a significant period of time, as the period between when an incident occurs and when a claim is made could be considerable. For this reason, a Doctor of Optometry may choose to purchase additional tail coverage if they retire, move to a new practice, or switch malpractice providers — often as an unexpected additional expense.
  • Occurrence Policies: Occurrence policies provide coverage for any event that took place while the policy is in effect, even if it is no longer active when the claim is made. This gives occurrence policies an extended value to policyholders.

The malpractice insurance administered by Lockton Affinity provides guaranteed full scope of practice occurrence coverage with automatic updates and no surgical exclusions. For more information on AOAExcel’s program with Lockton Affinity for IOA members, visit

The AOA Insurance Alliance program is administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC d/b/a Lockton Affinity Insurance Brokers, LLC in California. Policy benefits are the sole obligation of the issuing insurance company. The American Optometric Association may receive a royalty fee for the licensing of its name and trademarks as part of the insurance program offered to American Optometric Association members.