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Understanding Locum Tenens Coverage


You have an orthodontic practice; you need to take a protracted leave of absence. You want to arrange a substitute orthodontist to treat your patients while you are on leave. What is the best way to manage malpractice exposure while the substitute doctor is working for you? 

What is Locum Tenens coverage?

Locum Tenens means taking the place of another, or substitution.  When orthodontist “A” needs to step away from his/her practice temporarily, this endorsement to a professional liability policy allows a substitute doctor (orthodontist “B”) to treat A’s patient under A’s professional liability coverage.  Orthodontist “B’s” coverage is not exposed for treating A’s patients.

Who is eligible for Locum Tenens coverage?

Both full- and part-time practitioners are eligible to be added as Locum Tenens on an AAOIC insured’s policy. The orthodontist(s) acting as Locum Tenens does not need to be insured with the AAOIC for their primary insurance.

What is the application process for Locum Tenens?

Non-AAOIC insured Locum Tenens:

  • The AAOIC Application for Professional Liability Insurance (Form #0001PL) must be completed for each Locum Tenens, and a current copy of the dental license for the insured orthodontist’s practice state must be included.
  • The Locum Tenens orthodontist(s) will be underwritten to the same standards and specifications set forth for all AAOIC applicants.
  • The AAOIC insured will specify, in writing, the calendar days the Locum Tenens will provide substitute coverage. 
  • Those with a claims loss history will be referred to the Rate & Underwriting Committee for approval.

AAOIC-insured Locum Tenens:

  • The AAOIC insured will specify, in writing, the name of the substitute orthodontist(s) and the calendar days the Locum Tenens will provide coverage. 
  • Underwriting is waived for the AAOIC-insured Locum Tenens 

Multiple Locum Tenens:

Under special circumstances, several orthodontists may be required to keep a practice operating until a decision is made as to the disposition of the practice and its patients. In this event, the practice of the absent insured is required to submit a written business plan for patient care and practice management. The plan should, at a minimum, include the following:

  • Name(s) of all Locum Tenens to be providing care
  • Name(s) of contact(s) or orthodontist(s) that will be coordinating and reviewing patient treatment plans
  • Completed underwriting application(s)
  • Valid dental license(s)
  • Dates of coverage
  • Plan for future phase-out of practice if there is no plan for insured’s return


The practice plan will be reviewed by the AAOIC Rate & Underwriting Committee for approval. Upon approval, the insured orthodontist will receive an endorsement to the AAOIC policy specifying the terms and conditions of the Locum Tenens coverage.


How are premiums charged for Locum Tenens?

AAOIC does not charge for the first 30 days of Locum Tenens coverage. If the substitution period extends beyond 30 days, the coverage can be extended for up to 90 more days.  There will be extra charge for the extended coverage. If coverage is needed beyond 120 days, the company will require special consideration and approval in addition to an extra charge.

AAOIC charges 10% of a doctor’s annual base premium or $100 (whichever is greater) for Locum Tenens coverage, for days 31 through 120. If coverage beyond 120 days is approved, the premium will be 1/12 of the annual base premium per month and per Locum Tenens.

If the expiration date for the insured orthodontist’s policy falls during the Locum Tenens coverage period, there is no additional charge to the insured orthodontist other than what has been previously stated, and the insured orthodontist must renew the policy without interruption.


When an orthodontist needs to step away from patient care temporarily, Locum Tenens  coverage allows him/her to take care not only of patients, but also the substituting doctors.

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