The headlines are stark reminders that the only certainty for dentists in life—as for the rest of humanity—is death.
- Court Documents: Man Lay in Wait for Dentist Before Killing Him — June 24, 2019
- Dentist Dies After Lift Mishap at City Museum — May 10, 2019
- Cleaning Balcony Wall, Dentist Falls to Death from 5th Floor — April 15, 2019
- Police Say Dentist Died of Medical Issue After Crash — April 8, 2019
- Outpouring of Grief For Dentist Killed in [Chicago] Accident — April 3, 2019
- Dentist Dies After Lighting Up in Surgery — February 22, 2019
- Charlotte Dentist Killed in Plane Crash — December 31, 2018
We all have a date with death. The only real mystery: When will the grim reaper appear at our doorstep?
It makes it easier to sleep nights to tell ourselves, “It could never happen to me.” We all imagine living out our full professional careers, retiring with a healthy nest egg, and going gently into that good night at a ripe old age.
Unfortunately, for some dentists, destiny has other plans.
Moreover, dentists need not die to have their lives turned topsy-turvy in a blink by a cancerous lump, a flash flood, a skiing mishap, or even an errant foul ball at a professional baseball game.
- Dr. Joseph S. Brofksy, 62, a pediatric dentist in Lynbrook, NY, was vacationing in the Dominican Republic this past March when a powerful eight-foot wave hit him. He lost the use of his arms and legs.
- Twenty-three people were injured early last month in Plantation, FL when an explosion caused by a gas leak tore through a shopping center. Near “ground zero” was Kid’s Dental Place, which usually is teeming with children and their parents, but providentially was closed for the July 4th weekend.
“We all would have died,” a shaken Dr. Amanda Buscemi, told CBS12 News in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Death and misfortune may be unpredictable, but hundreds of DOCS Education members and other dentists have taken proactive steps to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their practices, should fate deal them a bad hand.
Since 1965, family-owned Eagleston Financial Group—a DOCS Education preferred provider—has been advising dentists and other clients on the necessary steps to protect what they deem to be most important. Among the services Eagleston offers are:
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Key Employee Insurance
- Long-Term Care Insurance
- Malpractice Insurance
- Personal Liability Insurance (Home, Auto, and Umbrella)
Brothers Rob and John Eagleston, both family men, have carried on the tradition of service practiced by their father, Jerry, who founded the Mesa, Arizona, financial services firm. (At last count, Jerry is the proud father of eight children, thirty-three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.)
Eagleston Financial has conducted “Lunch & Learn” presentations at DOCS Education’s Sedation and Advanced Dentistry conferences for many years. Our registrants consistently tell us that the insights they gain by attending are priceless.
Incisor recently interviewed Rob Eagleston about his agency: why it’s so popular with dentists and other healthcare professionals, and what everyone needs to know before an accident or tragedy occurs.
[The following questions and responses are edited for clarity and brevity.]
Incisor: In addition to all the potential liabilities that most people face, dentists have additional vulnerabilities to consider. Why?
Rob Eagleston: As a business owner, you worry about your practice. You have employees that you hope never get mad at you and sue you. You have patients. You hope you do good work and when something goes wrong, that they don’t come after you.
If someone slips and falls on your property—whether that’s you, a patient, or a stranger—or if someone’s inside your practice and gets hurt, you could be looking at a liability or worker’s comp claim.
Incisor: Trying to insure against all possibilities—personal and professional—can be daunting. What’s a dentist to do?
Rob Eagleston: I was just talking to a dentist who is a client in Florida. He’s typical. He’s done well. Between insuring his home, his practice, a second home, his autos, his mom’s auto policy, and having an umbrella policy, he has maybe 15-20 different plans.
His head is spinning when it comes to insurance.
He’s not hiding under his bed saying, “I can’t leave my house because there are all these bad things that could happen.”
But at the same time, he acknowledges that there are a lot of scenarios that would bring financial consequences his way if things go wrong.
Incisor: How were you able to help him?
Rob Eagleston: He’s used us for a couple of matters. He just said, “Man, I need you guys to look at everything that I have. I can’t even tell you right now if something caught on fire or someone was injured, what is covered and what’s not covered.”
I told him that we’d lay everything on the table and evaluate it.
It looks like he’s done a wonderful job. Based on experience, however, it’s likely we’re going to find areas of improvement—areas where he is uninsured or under-insured—and it could be we can save him some money, too, where he’s spending too much on certain types of insurance.
When all is said and done, our commitment is to help him have true peace of mind.
Incisor: Most dentists have some form of life insurance and basic homeowners and auto insurance. What kind of insurance do dentists also need but sometimes overlook?
Rob Eagleston: Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPLI, gives dentists something they can draw upon if an employee comes after them, sues them.
Another type of policy that I should mention, maybe even ahead of EPLI, is business overhead expense. It’s in the disability family of insurance. It’s designed to cover your office expenses if you become disabled. A lot of our clients, especially those who have a large practice, worry about paying their equipment loans, payroll, and other obligations if they become disabled.
For any business owner, going without business overhead expense insurance is a significant oversight.
Incisor: If dentists want to make sure that they, their family, and their practice are protected in the event of an emergency, how can Eagleston be of help?
Rob Eagleston: We tell clients that if something happens—they get sued or their house burns down—we can’t do anything about the emotional trauma or physical pain. Those things are going to happen, and hopefully, they’re not too severe.
But on top of all that, the toxic icing on the cake would be that you also suffer a severe financial loss.
A real example is a dentist in Texas a couple of years back when the flooding hit Houston hard. A lot of people lost their homes and businesses. This dentist had just done about a $500,000 remodel to his office, and he didn’t have flood insurance. When the waters came, it just set him back to zero.
If he’d had flood insurance, it would still have been a pain because he’d have to get a temporary office and set up everything again. There is a lot of stress involved just in that. But on top of that, he had to face the fact that the $500,000 he spent went right down the drain.
Incisor: As you note, many dentists have 15 even 20 different insurance policies, ranging from health and auto to disability and long-term care. What are the odds that at some point during their lives, they’ll find themselves in a situation where one or more of those policies will turn out to be a godsend?
Rob Eagleston: It’s like a 100% probability that between everything that can arise in life, they’ll be very grateful they had the appropriate policy in place.
Beyond their decades of experience and commitment to personalized service, one key advantage that Eagleston Financial Group offers dentists who become clients of the agency is “one-call-covers-it-all” service following a death or accident.
With a single call to Eagleston, for example, a surviving spouse won’t have to worry if he or she can’t locate life insurance policies that may have been purchased decades earlier. Nor will they have to fret if the agent who sold the family the insurance policies in the first place has retired, gone out of business, or passed on.
During their presentations at DOCS Education conference, the Eagleston team recounts the true story of a young dentist who, along with his wife, was killed in a small plane crash. On top of all the trauma facing his family and four young children, his relatives were left to dig through piles of letters, office drawers, and emails trying to determine what and where he had coverage.
“I’m sure to this day they’re still wondering if they found everything or if there’s something out there that the family didn’t collect,” Rob says.
Death and loss can come abruptly, unexpectedly, leaving a dentist’s practice and family life in chaos—and often, financial ruin. For prudent dentists, however, it needn’t end that way.
For more information on Eagleston Financial Group and how Rob and his colleagues can help secure your financial future and peace of mind, visit www.EaglestonFinancialGroup.com or phone them at 877-409-1160.