What is tail coverage and is it right for me?

What is tail coverage?

Tail coverage, also known as an Extended Reporting Period Endorsement (ERE), protects you from malpractice claims made after a claims-made professional liability policy has been terminated provided that the patient care giving rise to the claim occurred subsequent to your retroactive date and before the policy terminated. Tail coverage provides protection for future claims arising from your prior provision of care. If a former patient brings a claim against you for an event which occurred when your previous claims-made policy was active, tail coverage through ISMIE means that our dedicated team will continue to fight that claim on your behalf, subject to the limit of liability. If you are currently insured through ISMIE, learn more about the tail coverage options for your existing policy.

When might I need tail coverage?

You might need tail coverage you if you have recently:

  • Retired from practice.
  • Changed practice settings.
  • Merged a solo or independent group practice with another practice.
  • Changed professional liability insurance carriers.

Change is one of the only constants in life, and you will likely encounter one of the above scenarios during your time in practice. Tail coverage can be there to protect you as you move into each new stage of your career.

When should I purchase tail coverage?

Once you have assessed your situation and prior policy type and decided that you need tail coverage, you should purchase tail coverage as soon as possible to prevent gaps in your protection. You must request tail coverage from ISMIE in writing within thirty days of termination or non-renewal of your terminated policy. Depending upon circumstances, it may be cost-effective for you to consider tail coverage with ISMIE even if your claims-made policy is/was with another carrier. Learn more about what options you may have with ISMIE.

Why should I consider tail coverage through ISMIE?

  • Financial Strength

    When choosing an insurer for tail coverage, you should consider the financial strength and long-term stability of the carrier. ISMIE carries a financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best and has sufficient surplus to protect policyholders for years to come. A medical professional liability policy is ultimately a carrier’s promise to defend and, if necessary, pay a claim under the policy. You want to ensure that any carrier you consider will be around to make good on the promise and has the financial stability to protect its policyholders.

  • Stand-Alone Tail Coverage

    ISMIE offers a “stand-alone tail” coverage if your previous claims-made policy was issued through a different carrier, and you would like coverage from ISMIE. To learn if ISMIE’s stand-alone tail coverage would be an option for you, fill out the form below or contact one of our broker partners.

  • Free Retirement Tail Coverage for ISMIE Insureds

    If you have been insured through ISMIE for 10 consecutive years or more at the time of your retirement, ISMIE offers free retirement tail coverage regardless of your age. If you are over age 55 and have been insured through ISMIE for at least five consecutive years, you are also eligible for free tail coverage through ISMIE.

How do I pay for tail coverage?

Tail coverage (both traditional tail coverage as well as stand-alone tail coverage) is generally not offered with a carrier-administered payment plan. If you are unable to pay the premium in a lump sum, outside premium financing is typically available. If you are considering purchasing stand-alone tail coverage through ISMIE and your previous carrier offers a tail payment plan, you should factor this into your considerations*.

Opting out of tail coverage AND failing to request full “prior acts” coverage from your new carrier is called “going bare.” You may save money in the short-term, but you leave yourself vulnerable to hefty potential judgments if a lawsuit is brought against you in the future.

Do your research to find the tail coverage option that offers the best mix of rates and coverage for your unique situation. Upfront costs for tail coverage may be higher than going bare, but the peace of mind you will have against future malpractice claims may save you money and reputational harm down the line.

Does my ISMIE policy require tail coverage?

ISMIE offers two types of policies: occurrence policies and claims-made policies. Only policyholders with claims-made policies require tail coverage.

  • Occurrence policies cover claims arising from professional services rendered during the policy period, no matter when a claim is reported — even after the policy expires.
  • Claims-made policies cover claims arising from professional services rendered on or after the policy’s retroactive date and which are first reported during an active policy period or during an extended reporting period (ERE or “Tail.”)

Learn about the difference between claims-made and “occurrence” liability coverage.

If you don’t know which type of policy you hold through ISMIE, you should contact your broker for clarification. Alternatively, you can call 800-782-4767 or email us at for assistance.

Contact Us

Have a question about your coverage options? Start by contacting your broker. Alternatively, you may begin a dialogue by emailing us at or by completing the form below.

Note: Availability of coverages and program features are subject to state insurance statutes in your particular state(s) of practice.

* To find out what payment options ISMIE offers, please contact your designated broker, or email us at

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