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  • Writer's pictureRuhee Jaffer

Got Insurance?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

Here is your new dentist guide to purchasing insurance.

As a new graduate, I have definitely been trying to get more educated about how to protect my career and ensure that I have all the resources to make a good decision with regards to purchasing insurance. I teamed up with Samson Landeros from TDIC to share with you this invaluable information! PS: This isn't an ad - just refer to it before purchasing any insurance and I am sure you will feel much better informed!


1. Tell me a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in the San Dimas/Glendora area of SoCal, and obtained my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne in 2005. I started my insurance career in Sept of 2005, and later began working for TDIC in January 2008. I have known my wife since second grade (we have been married since 2006), and currently we have two children (my daughter, Madison is 7, and my son Jonah will be 1). Our family enjoys going to the movies, and (currently) building forts out of coach cushions and blankets!

2. Tell us about how you got started with TDIC (The Dentist's Insurance Company)? Great question…before TDIC, I worked in the Workers Comp division of a major insurance agency. But, when I started to notice changes within that company that were affecting how our customers where being serviced and taken care of, I began the search to find another opportunity; enter TDIC. TDIC had a position posted on (did I just date myself…LOL), not knowing much about TDIC at that time, I decided to do some research.

When I learned they were a subsidiary of CDA, I decided to apply. I think what was the deciding factor for me to join the TDIC Family, was when I flew up to the Main office in Sacramento to interview, and witnessed firsthand how they serviced their members (I literally saw people on the Service Team running to their phones so they didn’t miss an opportunity to help a Member Dentist). Working for an insurance company created for Dentists by Dentists, I see the uniqueness of our organization on a daily basis…one of them being that we see our Dentists as People (Not loss ratios).

3. What would be your top three pieces of advice to us as new graduates?

Do your research, and know what your insurance options are (Don’t be afraid to ask the insurance agents questions- let them know how you plan to practice).

Make sure not to fill out an application if you intend on only getting a quote (for the most part, getting a quote on Professional Liability and Disability insurance should only require a few quick pieces of information you can give an agent over the phone)

Check to see if the Insurance Company you are researching has a good rating from A.M. Best (Example: TDIC’s A.M. Best Rating is “A”).

4. What else would you recommend for new graduates as we shop around for insurance?

“With regards to Professional Liability (Malpractice) Insurance, make sure the policy does not have a Hammer Clause, that the policy is written on a Claims-Made Form, and ask the insurance company how they rate their policies.”

5. What types of insurance do we need as new dentists?

Every new dentist can have different insurance needs. But for the most part, the top two insurances a new dentist will want to consider are the following: A. Professional Liability Insurance (also known as Malpractice or Medical Malpractice Insurance) B. Disability Insurance (Remember this is the insurance that is protecting your most valuable asset…your paycheck).

6. What is the difference between malpractice and disability insurance?

Professional Liability Insurance provides protection or legal obligations for injury due to acts or omissions in the rendering of professional services for licensed dentists, employees, partnerships and dental corporations. Whereas Disability insurance protects your income if you become disabled and are not able to practice dentistry (disability insurance has sometimes been called paycheck Insurance).

7. We hear so much about claims made versus occurrence policies- what does that mean?

When TDIC started in 1980, we wrote our Professional Liability (Malpractice) Insurance policies on an Occurrence Form. However, in 1984 we stopped, and have since only written our Professional Liability (Malpractice) policies in CA on a Claims-Made Form due to the advantages it has for this industry. To keep it simple below are some of the benefits of a Professional Liability (Malpractice) Claims-Made Form (please feel free to call me any time to review this in greater detail):– You Do Not Pre-pay for Tail (Tail coverage typically comes into play when you decide to switch insurance companies or retire…not when you have an active policy)– Allows the insured to carry appropriate limits for present day claims and not what was appropriate 10 years prior.– Ability to move coverage when you switch insurance carriers (it gives you the option to buy the Tail from the insurance company your leaving, or have the insurance company your switching to pick it up).

8. What other insurance do we need in California?

If you need Health Insurance, we may be able to assist you with some options. If you have a family (spouse and/or children) you may want to consider Life Insurance. If you are starting a practice (whether from scratch or buying one) you may want to consider Property Insurance, Workers Comp, and Employment Practices Liability Insurance. We have a lot of insurance options for our Member Dentists, please simply contact us so we can review your personal insurance needs.  

9. If we buy a policy right now, can we switch to a different policy later?

Yes, for example if you buy a Professional Liability or Disability policy through us, you have the option to later try to place your coverage elsewhere (Example: You move to a state we do not write in).

10. What is the repercussion of switching insurance companies?

If you decide to switch a Professional Liability policy (written on a Claims-Made Form) to a new insurance company, you simply want to make sure you either buy the Tail from the insurance company your leaving, or see if the new insurance company you are switching to can pick it up. With Disability Insurance, you just want to make sure the new policy you are switching to is comparable or better (as the coverages will vary from insurance company to insurance company).

11. What is insurance eligibility based on?

To keep it simple for our new dental professionals…

You will want to make sure your dental license number has been assigned when you apply for Professional Liability Insurance.

(TDIC is not able to write a Professional Liability policy for a Dentist who is not licensed). 12. What is the difference between individual versus group insurance? I’ve attached a chart below that gives some common differences between an Individual vs. a Group Disability plan:

13. How is our insurance premium determined?

TDIC again bases their Professional Liability Insurance premiums on the following 5 factors (we do not base our premiums on procedures like some other insurance companies do):- Dental Specialty- Type of Anesthetic Modality utilized- Limit of Liability chosen- Number of Years you have been Practicing- The Dental Society you belong to (Tripartite Membership)In regards to Disability Insurance, these policy premiums can be based on an individual’s Age, Gender, Health, Income, Etc.

14. Is there anything like a fixed/variable insurance premium:

In regards to Disability Insurance…with some Disability carriers you can purchase an Individual Disability policy that is either a Level (fixed premium ) or Graded (variable premium) plan. In addition, our Group Disability plan we offer through MetLife Insurance is a Graded (variable premium) plan.

15. What else do we need to know?

The best time to apply for Professional Liability Insurance is as soon as you get your dental license number, but before you begin practicing/consulting. If you try to apply for this insurance after you’ve been practicing, you may not get the best discount applicable (like TDIC’s $50 New Dentist Program Discount), or even worse, the insurance carrier may decline your application.

16. How can we contact you?

Below is my contact info:


Samson Landeros


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