Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Graduate Medical Education

Professional Liability

Professional Liability Insurance

MCWAH provides professional liability insurance for the residents and fellows it employs. Residents and fellows who are not licensed in Wisconsin are covered by MCWAH’s corporate policy. Residents and fellows who are licensed in Wisconsin have individual limits. They will receive a certificate of insurance for professional liability after they become licensed and then each year thereafter. The certificate of insurance contains the policy number, the type of insurance and the coverage limits of the policy. Residents and fellows should retain all certificates of insurance in a permanent file as they will be needed throughout their professional career. MCWAH and each of its employed, licensed physicians have limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$3,000,000 per aggregate loss per year. Professional liability insurance covers legal defense costs, jury awards or settlements and other expenses related to malpractice claims and lawsuits. Professional liability insurance also pays for legal costs incurred for testifying in a deposition and responding to inquiries by the Medical Examining Board.

MCWAH pays the Wisconsin Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund) for excess malpractice insurance for losses above the primary insurance policy limits for itself and each licensed resident and fellow. The Fund is administered by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Wisconsin.

The malpractice insurance policy that MCWAH provides covers residents and fellows while they perform duties within the scope of their training program except when they rotate to the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD) or to the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Housestaff rotating at BHD fall under the statutory provisions which govern liability lawsuits against Milwaukee County. Housestaff rotating at the Zablocki VA are covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the U.S. Government is responsible for malpractice liability at the Zablocki VA.

MCWAH's malpractice insurance policy does not cover moonlighting outside of the training program. Liability insurance for moonlighting is the individual's responsibility.

Residents and fellows do not incur any expense for professional liability insurance and they never need an extended endorsement insurance policy (“tail”) after they leave their training program.

Verification of Professional Liability Insurance and Claims History

From time to time, licensed physicians need to provide proof of insurance and have their claims history verified. A claims history contains all claims against the provider that have been reported to the insurance company. Physicians need proof of past malpractice insurance policies and verification of their claims history each time they apply for hospital medical staff membership and privileges or take a position with a medical group. Primary verification occurs when the hospital or entity receives the insurance information and claims history directly from the insurance companies. The Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals (MCWAH) cannot provide claims histories because it is not the insurance company and it is not self-insured.

Physicians filling out an application for a medical staff membership and privileges are expected to report the names of all insurance companies that have insured them for professional liability. Since 1997, unlicensed housestaff have been insured under MCWAH’s professional liability policy. Licensed housestaff are also insured under MCWAH’s policy, but they have individual limits. If housestaff work in an external moonlighting outside of their training programs, they will need the malpractice insurance information from the entity or insurance company that insures them for moonlighting work as well. MCWAH insurance does not cover external moonlighting.

Each year, licensed housestaff receive a Certificate of Insurance that has the policy number, type of insurance, any extended reporting endorsements (tail), effective date of the policy and the limits of insurance. Keep all Certificates of Insurance in a permanent file. On their applications, physicians will be asked for that information.

Physicians going through medical staff credentialing must have primary verification of their insurance coverage and claims history. Housestaff will need to complete an Authorization for the Release of Information and send it to every insurance company or entity that has provided medical malpractice insurance. Each insurance company or entity who provided coverage will submit the insurance and claims history directly to the organization that is credentialing the physician. Occasionally, MCWAH is asked to verify employment dates.

Physicians need to know the dates they were employed by MCWAH in a residency/fellowship program so they can contact the appropriate insurance company. NOTE: Physicians may need to contact more than one insurance company listed below depending on their dates of training. The following information will help physicians request a claims history from the time they were in a MCWAH training program. Read the dates carefully:

  • Prior to July 1, 1997, unlicensed housestaff were insured by the individual hospitals where they worked.
  • Since July 1, 1997, unlicensed housestaff have been covered under MCWAH’s corporate liability policies.
  • From January 1989 to June 2007, licensed housestaff (and unlicensed housestaff since July 1, 1997) employed by MCWAH were insured through Physicians Insurance Company of Wisconsin (PIC WI), now known as ProAssurance Professional Liability Group. The PIC policy was occurrence-based.

To obtain verification of your insurance and claims history from PIC, contact:
ProAssurance Professional Liability Group
Medical Assurance/ProNational/NCRIC/PIC Wisconsin/Woodbrook Casualty/Red Mountain Casualty
Madison, WI
(877) 274-7007 | (205) 868-4073 (fax)
ProAssurance Website

On or after July 1, 2007, both unlicensed and licensed housestaff employed by MCWAH have been insured by Coverys. The Coverys policy is a modified claims-made with a prepaid extended endorsement ("tail").

To obtain verification of your insurance and claims history from Coverys, submit your request through Coverys' online Claim Loss History & Coverage Verification website.

To obtain a copy of your certificate from Coverys, contact:

Rebecca Finneran
Senior Underwriter – Physicians
(617) 946-8671 or (800) 225-6168