The Tribute Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

The Tribute® Plan is a breakthrough financial benefit that rewards eligible members for their loyalty to The Doctors Company and for their commitment to superior patient care.

The current Tribute Plan funding rate is 10 percent of your eligible premium.

Founded and led by doctors, The Doctors Company considers our insureds to be members of The Doctors Company, not merely policyholders. As a member, you enjoy tangible benefits, including:

  • The Tribute Plan.
  • The potential for dividend distributions.
  • CyberGuard® cyber liability protection and MediGuard® regulatory risk coverage.
  • Industry-leading patient safety programs.
  • A wide array of tools and support designed to strengthen your practice and make practicing medicine more rewarding.

The Doctors Company is focused on being accountable to our members—unlike commercial insurance companies focused on rewarding their outside stockholders or countless other insurance companies that view you as an anonymous policyholder. We are on a mission to advance, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine, and we created the Tribute Plan as the best way to support our mission and reward our members. This benefit is based on the fundamental principle that by working together to promote patient safety and keep claims low, we all win. It is a long-term commitment to you and your practice and to changing our profession for the better.

The Tribute Plan is member surplus that the Board of Governors earmarks for the express purpose of rewarding members for advancing the practice of good medicine throughout their careers.

The Board of Governors determines the amount of surplus to be allocated to the Tribute Plan loyalty program for each year. The surplus earmarked to the plan is based on factors such as The Doctors Company’s financial health and capital requirements.

The Doctors Company has a long history of fiscal conservatism. Our strict underwriting guidelines and long-term member retention have created a robust organization with results that benefit our superior membership. The strong financial position of The Doctors Company allows us to create a program to reward our members without jeopardizing our ability to pay claims and protect our members.

While no organization can guarantee that a program will run in perpetuity, the Tribute Plan is intended to be a permanent benefit for members of The Doctors Company. The Doctors Company has been protecting physicians since 1976 and is financially one of the strongest companies in the medical malpractice insurance industry. The Doctors Company exists to provide the best service to its members, and the Tribute Plan exemplifies our long-term commitment to our members and our mission.

No, it will not increase your current or future premiums in any way. The Tribute Plan is an added member benefit that provides a financial reward for a member’s commitment to The Doctors Company and to advancing the practice of good medicine. As a member of The Doctors Company, you will continue to enjoy tangible benefits, including the potential for dividend distributions, industry-leading patient safety programs, and a wide array of tools and support designed to strengthen your practice and make practicing medicine more rewarding.

The Tribute Plan adds value to our already highly competitive medical liability program. Our premium rates are carefully developed to ensure we can aggressively defend each of our members. With jury awards continuing to climb, premiums are intended to provide a sufficient level of capital in the event claim costs exceed our estimates. The Doctors Company maintains this capital for your financial security.

No. The Tribute Plan has been created as an added member benefit to provide a financial reward for a member’s long-term commitment to The Doctors Company and to advancing the practice of good medicine. This benefit will not impact The Doctors Company’s ongoing dividend program, which returns premiums to members for better-than-expected loss experience.

To become eligible for an award balance, an eligible member must permanently retire at age 55 or older with at least five years of continuous coverage with The Doctors Company. An award balance may also become eligible upon death or permanent disability—even if age and continuous coverage requirements have not been met. Also see the "About group members" section.

You can contact your agent or Member Services at Tribute@thedoctors.com.

Eligibility for the Tribute Plan

An eligible member is an individual listed as a “Named Insured” on a medical liability insurance policy issued by The Doctors Company and in force on or after January 1, 2007. Certain Named Insureds do not participate in the Tribute Plan. These include business entities, hospitals, emergency rooms, and ancillary insureds. In addition, policyholders whose coverage with The Doctors Company was terminated prior to January 1, 2007, and who obtained extended reporting coverage do not participate in the Tribute Plan.

As an insured of an acquired company, you are eligible to participate in the Tribute Plan once you become a member of The Doctors Company. This occurs when your policy renews as a policy issued by The Doctors Company. Please refer to the chart below for additional information about your Tribute eligibility.

Tribute Chart

No. The Tribute Plan is available only to members who have coverage issued by The Doctors Company. However, a former member who rejoins The Doctors Company after obtaining coverage with TDC Specialty Insurance Company (with no gaps in coverage) will have his or her Tribute Plan balance and years-of-continuous-coverage credit reinstated.

You will not receive additional contributions while your policy is suspended, and your suspension period will not count toward the distribution requirement of five years of continuous coverage. When you reinstate your policy, your share of the loyalty pool will be adjusted to account for the suspension period.

If you leave The Doctors Company for reasons other than death, permanent disability, or permanent retirement, your Tribute Plan balance is forfeited. If you obtain coverage from The Doctors Company at a future time, your balance and years-of-continuous-coverage credit start over. However, effective October 1, 2016, if you leave The Doctors Company and return in 12 months or less, your Tribute balance and years of continuous coverage can be reinstated. If you suspend and then reinstate your coverage, your share of the loyalty pool will be adjusted to account for the suspension, and your suspension period will not count toward the years-of-continuous-coverage requirement. A former member who rejoins The Doctors Company after obtaining coverage with TDC Specialty Insurance Company's non-standard physician program (with no gaps in coverage) will have his or her Tribute Plan balance and years-of-continuous-coverage credit reinstated.

Under certain circumstances, Tribute accounts may also be reinstated for groups that leave The Doctors Company but rejoin within a year. Contact Member Services at (800) 421-2368 for complete details.

Assignment of some or all of your Tribute balance to your medical corporation is available.

About my Tribute Plan balance

You can see your estimated award balance at any time by signing in to access your member information. This estimated balance represents your accumulated balance if your policy remains in force at the current premium through your current policy term. This statement also shows your estimated balance in five years, which assumes continual renewal at your current premium. Both projected balances may change if your premium is adjusted. You will also see this information on Tribute Plan statements and with your annual renewal premium statement.

The allocation The Doctors Company makes from the loyalty pool to your individual Tribute Plan balance is based on your premium.

No. However, because this benefit is based on a commitment to outstanding patient care throughout one’s career, a member with very poor claims experience could be subject to nonrenewal based on The Doctors Company’s normal underwriting criteria. Nonrenewal would cause loss of the member’s Tribute Plan balance.

Any decision to nonrenew a policy would be based upon The Doctors Company’s strict underwriting guidelines. If you are nonrenewed by The Doctors Company at any time, you will lose your Tribute Plan balance and no longer participate in the plan.

Allocations to your individual Tribute Plan balance from the loyalty pool will be made each year upon renewal of your policy based on the amount of your premium times the annual Tribute funding percentage approved by the Board of Governors. The funding percentage amount is based on factors such as The Doctors Company’s financial health and capital requirements.

No. However, your Tribute Plan balance will grow through annual funding declarations authorized by The Doctors Company’s Board of Governors.

To become eligible to receive your award balance, you must permanently retire at age 55 or older with at least five years of continuous coverage with The Doctors Company. Your Tribute Plan award balance may also be distributed in the event you die or become permanently disabled while insured by The Doctors Company, even if age and continuous coverage requirements have not been met.

The Doctors Company is financially among the strongest medical malpractice insurers. With more than $6 billion in combined assets, The Doctors Company has a long history of fiscal conservatism and meeting all of its financial commitments. Your Tribute Plan balance is one of these commitments. While your balance is not legally “guaranteed,” the obligation is supported by the firm commitment of the Board of Governors and the substantial capital of The Doctors Company, an insurer that is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings.

You can contact your agent or Member Services at Tribute@thedoctors.com.

Receiving my Tribute Plan balance

To be eligible to receive your award balance, you must:

  • Be age 55 or older.
  • Retire permanently from medicine.
  • Have five or more years of continuous coverage with The Doctors Company on the day you retire.

Your Tribute Plan award balance may also be distributed in the event you die or become permanently disabled while insured by The Doctors Company, even if age and continuous coverage requirements have not been met.

Members who were previously insured by a company acquired by The Doctors Company should refer to the “Eligibility for the Tribute Plan” section. 

To receive your award balance upon retirement, you will be required to sign a statement that you are permanently retiring.

To be considered permanently retired, you must permanently and completely cease from engaging in the practice of medicine for compensation. However, you can still perform volunteer or other services requiring a medical license for which no compensation is expected or received, as long as your performance complies with The Doctors Company’s underwriting guidelines.

Your years-of-continuous-coverage period began on the first date you became insured with The Doctors Company. For additional information about how your coverage period is affected by policy suspension, leaving The Doctors Company, or being previously insured by an acquired company, see the “Eligibility for the Tribute Plan” section.

If you qualify, your Tribute Plan award is paid in a single lump-sum payment. Generally, you should receive your Tribute check within eight weeks of meeting the distribution requirements and supplying all required documentation to The Doctors Company.

It is essential that The Doctors Company have the necessary financial strength to aggressively defend claims, support its ongoing operations, and meet regulatory capital requirements—which is why The Doctors Company’s Board of Governors approves Tribute Plan awards. Only in the unlikely situation of the company’s severe financial weakness would the board potentially delay or withhold approval of pending awards.

No. You may receive your balance only upon meeting the distribution criteria, which require you to be age 55 or older, permanently retire from the practice of medicine, and have five or more years of continuous coverage with The Doctors Company on the day you retire. Your Tribute Plan award balance may also be distributed in the event you die or become permanently disabled while insured by The Doctors Company, even if age and continuous coverage requirements have not been met.

You may defer your award payment for a period of up to 12 months subsequent to your retirement date by submitting a written request to The Doctors Company at the time you retire.

No. Awards are paid only in a single lump-sum.

Your Tribute Plan payout depends on how many years you participate in the plan and on your premium.

If you have submitted a beneficiary designation form, any balance that would otherwise be payable to you will be paid to your designated beneficiary(ies). If you have not submitted a beneficiary designation form, your balance in this circumstance would be paid to your estate.

You should consult your personal attorney to determine the appropriate treatment of the award.

No. Your years-of-continuous-coverage period begins on the first day of coverage with The Doctors Company, excluding any retroactive coverage period.

You will receive a Form 1099-Misc for the calendar year in which your award is paid. You should consult your tax adviser in advance of your retirement to determine the appropriate treatment on your tax return.
You may defer your Tribute Plan award payment up to one year after retirement. If you have questions about the Tribute Plan at retirement, email them to Tribute@thedoctors.com.

Yes, as long as it either: (i) is a Named Insured on your policy or (ii) paid 100 percent of your premium for the policy period immediately preceding the date you meet the eligibility requirements for payment of your award balance.

About group members

Balances are maintained at the individual level, so once the distribution requirements are met, you would receive the Tribute Plan award unless the award has been assigned to your group. Certain qualifying large groups may elect to have their group members’ Tribute balances accumulated during the election period paid to the group without requiring an assignment.

You may desire to assign some or all of your Tribute Plan award to your group or to another party that has paid 100 percent of your premium for the policy period immediately preceding the date you meet the award payment eligibility requirements. A Tribute Assignment form is available for you (and the group/other party) to request the assignment.

If you leave your current group for a new group or practice that is insured by The Doctors Company, your balance and years-of-continuous-coverage credit will remain intact and continue to accumulate in your name. If you leave The Doctors Company to join a non-The Doctors Company insured group and return to The Doctors Company in 12 months or less, your Tribute balance and years of continuous coverage can be reinstated. Otherwise, your balance will be forfeited.

For additional questions on the Tribute Plan, contact your agent or Member Services at (800) 421-2368 or Tribute@thedoctors.com.

 

Important Information

The information in this document is a summary of certain terms and conditions of the Plan Document (“Plan Document”) of the Tribute Plan, as established and administered by The Doctors Company. This document does not purport to describe all the terms and conditions of the Tribute Plan. The Plan Document contains a full description of the Tribute Plan. In the event of any conflict, inconsistency, or other difference between this document and the Plan Document, the terms and conditions of the Plan Document will control in every respect. Any projected balance amounts or other projections are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future balance amounts. The statistics used herein have been obtained from sources the plan administrators believe to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed. Past experience and practices with respect to Plan Balances do not guarantee the same or similar future results.