Featured in the ProgramBusiness Newsletter

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 ImagingNon-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 ben.newman@ultrariskadvisors.com.   Or, visit Ultra’s website  at: www.ultrariskadvisors.com.