Posted on 11 Jul 13 by Annie George
In our Backstory column this week, we’re featuring storefront, Ultra Risk Advisors, insurance program administrators specializing in providing key segments within the Healthcare industry with liability, malpractice and proactive risk management. Their areas of focus include: Small Healthcare Accounts, Medical Imaging, Non-Standard Physicians and Physician Groups and Correctional Healthcare Facilities. Founded in 1995, Ultra is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington with additional offices in Chicago and Atlanta. We spoke to Ben Newman, vice president at Ultra, about their highly specialized programs and the products and services they offer to agents and their clients to help protect against losses and mitigate risk.
Ben’s career in the Property/Casualty insurance arena spans 23 years during which time he has worked in underwriting, brokerage client management, sales management, agency strategic planning and alternative risk programs. He joined Ultra eight years ago, after working at Marsh where he held positions in client management and sales in the Healthcare and Transportation sectors. He is a member of the Academy of Correctional Health Professionals, the American Correctional Association and the Radiology Business Management Association. Ben is also member of the Vistage Key Executive Program.
Ultra offers a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience unsurpassed in their core segments of focus, delivering broad insurance solutions, industry-specific risk management tools, competitive pricing, and streamline processing. “In partnering with us, these four core differentiators help our agency partners in the marketplace,” said Ben. “We are specialists that provide a flexible product tailored to the niche markets we serve.
“In addition, our binding authority allows us to provide 48-hour turnaround for our Small Healthcare Accounts. Moreover, if a specific risk doesn’t fit one of our programs, agents can work with our specialty wholesale brokerage to get an account placed.”
The Small Healthcare Accounts program provides coverage for businesses with premiums less than $50,000. Risks include hospice care, clinics, homecare/home health, surgery centers, among others. “We provide a General Liability and Professional Liability product for these accounts in addition to a specialized risk management program that includes downloadable tools, desktop risk-assessment and consultation, and a helpline staffed by healthcare professionals,” said Ben. “For our larger accounts, on-site assessments are also available.”
Ultra’s Medical Imaging program provides the broadest General Liability/Professional Liability/Excess Liability coverage in the industry for this sector. “We can write anything from a small standalone imaging center to a large radiology practice comprised of many physicians,” explained Ben. “We cover the imaging center as well as the physicians, with total flexibility as to how we write the policies. A policy can be written on an occurrence or claim-made basis, with zero deductibles or large retention levels. We also provide coverage for those in teleradiology where radiological patient images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, are transmitted over the Internet from one location for review. Our insurance program is very flexible and can be tailored to provide coverage for the imaging center and the physicians receiving and reviewing the transmitted images, depending on how the contractual working arrangements are set up between the parties involved.”
Ultra has specialized expertise for physicians that can’t get coverage in the standard market because of a board action or claims. They have highly experienced Production Underwriters who use a streamlined process to create the complete package – great pricing and high-quality coverage – for these buyers. “Agents need an expert for this type of placement because not all carriers and quotes are equal,” said Ben. “We also utilize some very creative program structure solutions for physician groups such as emergency room care, hospitalists, or radiology.”
Ultra’s Correctional Medical Program addresses a highly specialized niche, providing coverage for contracted companies, physicians and allied health workers that provide their services to inmates in prisons, jails and detention centers. “As taxpayers, we spend about $10 billion annually to provide healthcare to 2.2 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. About 50% of this is subcontracted out to a third-party company, such as staffing contractor or a local physician group. Our program provides General Liability/Professional Liability coverage for the prison/correctional exposures for these contractors,” explained Ben. “Entities and individuals can be sued by inmates for alleged errors and omissions during the course of providing medical treatment, sexual abuse as well as other exposures to which they are vulnerable.” The program includes coverage for defense for allegations of civil rights violations, including deliberate indifference, and defense for HIPAA violations.
In addition, Ultra provides coverage for community correctional centers such as halfway houses that are set up to help released inmates integrate back into society through job training, drug and alcohol counseling, transitional housing, etc. in an effort to lower recidivism rates. “There are many exposures here, including medical malpractice, sexual abuse, even a third-party can sue the community correctional center in the event an inmate under its surveillance escapes and causes physical harm to someone. Coverage is needed to protect these contracted entities and individuals,” said Ben. “It’s a very specialized niche with not many insurers covering this risk, but at Ultra we figured out the space.”
The key to each of Ultra’s program is its risk management. “All of our accounts have access to customized tools and resources on our website. In addition, larger accounts receive on-site assessments from a third-party consultant who understands their operations. For example, we would not send a hospital risk management specialist to conduct an assessment at a large correctional account, as the exposures and risks are very different in this environment. Correctional facilities, for instance, have a high suicide rate, with 85% of inmates with drug or alcohol issues and 40% having some type of mental issue. You also have a high incident of Hepatitis C, something you don’t see in the general public. You need a specialist that has years of experience working in this type of environment. These are the consultants we have working with us, serving each specific niche with the right fit to help mitigate risk and stem losses. We cater and design our risk management piece around the specialty and the type of business.”
Ultra’s approach works very well. They receive a great deal of feedback from their agency partners and insured buyers on how the risk management component of the program highly influenced their renewal decisions. “We may not always be the least expensive on an account,” explained Ben, “but clients truly value our risk management service. It’s a great sales tool for our agency partners and in their retention rates.”
Ultra’s programs are available on a national basis and open access. You can find out more about Ultra and its programs by contacting Ben at (770) 618-2185, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, visit Ultra’s website at: www.ultrariskadvisors.com.