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AAOIC eNews Winter 2019

AAOIC Declares Dividend for 2018

AAOIC has declared a $1.6 million dividend to be paid upon renewal in 2019 by eligible insureds with a premium credit of 25 percent of the 2018 premium.  This is a record matching dividend and consistent with the AAOIC mission of reducing the cost of professional liability insurance for AAO members.

● For those who have never been insured by AAOIC and missed this dividend, there is a first-time buyer’s discount of 25 percent.
● For new grads, there is a $50 first year premium for a Claims made policy.


You can easily get a quote at or call 1 800 424 2841 and ask for AAOIC.


Aligner Treatment can cause Malpractice Claims

AAOIC is seeing more claims from cases treated with aligners. You might think this is to be expected with the increasing number of cases under aligner treatment.  However, these aligner claims have exposed some weaknesses pertaining to informed consent that need to be addressed before starting aligner treatment.


When treating with aligners or fixed appliances, if there are specific treatment limitations, write them on the informed consent form for the patient to sign. Currently we are seeing claims where orthodontists offer to continue to treat with fixed appliances when the desired result was not achieved with aligners alone. The expectations of these patients were not met.


In addition to adding potential treatment limitations on the informed consent form, document in the treatment chart all communication with the parent discussing limitations of treatment.  If aligners have little chance of correcting the patient's problem, inform the patient.

Knowing patient expectations with aligners and/or fixed appliances and addressing potential limitations of treatment with them before starting treatment is always the best way to avoid the hassle of unhappy patients, lawsuits and State board complaints.


Avoid the Pitfalls of Clear Aligner Treatment
Although there may be many benefits to clear aligners for patients, there can be several drawbacks for orthodontists. How can we minimize the pitfalls and protect ourselves against negative claims? Click here to view the AAOIC flier, “5 Tips to Avoiding the Pitfalls of Clear Aligner Treatment.” The flier includes detailed recommendations for communication, documentation and addressing patient expectations.

The More You Know
What happens to a practice when the orthodontist becomes incapacitated? Orthodontic treatment is a long-term process throughout which patients require continuing care. Here at the AAOIC, the claims department staff has heard myriad after-the-fact problems that arose as a result of an orthodontist becoming incapacitated. Here is an example of what can happen:


A doctor’s wife reported that her husband, the orthodontist had passed away and she was having difficulty arranging for continued care of the patients. The office was in a remote location with few orthodontists nearby; no one else was close enough to assume care of the patients, and the patients were unwilling to travel. The wife was stressed due to the loss of her husband and doubly so at having to deal with practice transition problems about which she had no experience.  Who provides the treatment for the deceased doctor’s patients?  Who will assist the grieving spouse with transitioning the patients and dissolution of the practice?  This is a very serious and real situation.  Patients cannot be abandoned for any reason. 


If you do not want to leave a quagmire for your survivors or face one yourself when the problem is too big to solve, it is wise to arrange for a transition plan…before a problem develops.  Many of you belong to study clubs and from within, the member orthodontists have or can arrange for an agreement that most or all members may fill in for each other in the event of incapacitation. If you are not in a study club, try to arrange for such an agreement with other local orthodontists. It will be beneficial for all. 


If you don’t currently have a practice continuation plan in place, the AAO and the AAOIC can help. Our legal department has developed sample agreements for you and your colleagues to consider.  Just visit  and click on the ‘Informed Consent’ tab to download a copy of the sample agreements.  You may also contact the AAOIC Underwriting Department at 800-240-2650.


Patients who start orthodontic treatment deserve to have treatment; put a plan in place to ensure that occurs.  That is good plan for you, your survivors and for the profession. 


● Stay on top of risk issues and save 10 percent on your AAOIC premium. The 2018 AAO Annual Session Risk Management Program is available for purchase.  If you did not attend one of the informative risk management programs at the 2018 AAO Annual Session in Washington, DC, it is not too late to gain invaluable knowledge about avoiding tricky situations and earn a 10 percent premium discount on a new policy with AAOIC or on the upcoming renewal of an existing AAOIC policy.


The program is available on DVD for a cost of $50.00 for active AAO members.  Flash drives are available for $55.00. To order the program, visit and click the Store tab at the top of the page.  You will need to complete the accompanying exam and return it to our office prior to the effective date of a new or existing AAOIC policy renewal.  If you have not renewed your policy, the 10 percent will appear as a premium credit at the time that you renew your policy and the following year too!  2-years premium credit for both new and renewal policies! 


Steps to Follow in the Event of a Patient Complaint or Claim
If you receive a patient complaint or claim, consider the following recommendations.

1. Call your insurance representative. If you have a conversation with a patient or a family member who has expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment, give your insurance representative a call to discuss what happened and what to do.
2. Have your information on hand. You will need to provide key information from the patient's record. Access to the file or computer record during the telephone call will save time.


Anticipate a return call. Make sure you leave telephone and fax numbers so that your insurance representative can contact you. If you are insured with the AAO Insurance Company (a Risk Retention Group) (AAOIC) and have encountered an incident or claim, contact AAOIC Claims Representative Jessica Kaesberg, or AAOIC Claims Manager Elizabeth Franklin at 401 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141-7816. The AAOIC hot-line number is 800-240-2650. You can also report an incident or claim through the AAOIC website ( The AAOIC welcomes the opportunity to work with you