Medical Liability Monitor Annual Survey of Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates Shows Medical Liability Insurance Market Remains Soft

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Medical Liability Monitor publishes medical malpractice insurance premium rates for every major insurer in every county in every state. This year's survey indicates that medical malpractice insurance rates changed little from last year; declined in some instances

Rates in 2009 remain remarkably stable, with very few moving upward from last year

Rates for physicians' 2009-2010 liability insurance premiums decreased or remained stable for the large majority of doctors, according to Medical Liability Monitor's annual nationwide Rate Survey released this month.

This year's study found 58 percent of rates did not change between 2008 and 2009; in fact, 19 percent of rates experienced a 0.1- to 9.9-percent rate decrease, while less than 10 percent of all rates experienced an increase. This continues the stabilizing trend found in the 2007 and 2008 Rate Surveys.

"Rates in 2009 remain remarkably stable, with very few moving upward from last year," said Michael Matray, Medical Liability Monitor editor. "And according to our survey, more than 70 percent of responding companies reported filing at least some rate reductions in 2009. Overall, the majority of rates did not change at all from last year."

Since 1991 Medical Liability Monitor, an independent newsletter, has been surveying the leading providers of medical professional liability insurance for its annual rate report. This year's survey reports rates from 40 companies that represent as much as 75 percent of the physician's malpractice insurance market. It is the most comprehensive report on physicians' liability insurance rates available.

"While there were a few companies that reported rate increases, they appear to be multi-state insurers adjusting pricing to the levels of existing competitors," Matray said. "Six of the industry's larger insurers did report isolated rate reductions, and a number of these insurers have been active purchasers of other insurance organizations in recent years."

In this year's Rate Survey, Medical Liability Monitor added questions regarding the potential impact of electronic medical records and "never event reporting" on the industry. While about a third of respondents agree that never event reporting is likely to increase the frequency of future claims, the majority had no opinion or were unaware of these issues. It is possible that--during a period where companies are focused on maintaining or growing top-line revenue--insurers are not searching out factors suggesting the need to raise pricing or issue declinations.

With one exception, each responding company felt that Congress would not enact tort reform as part of the current healthcare debate on Capitol Hill. About two-thirds responded to a question in regard to whether any healthcare reform would have an impact on the frequency or severity of claims. One independent respondent opined that it would decrease frequency or severity, while the remainder almost evenly indicated either an increase or no change.

Medical Liability Monitor is the only independent publication reporting exclusively on medical professional liability insurance, The monthly newsletter, founded in 1975, has conducted the annual rate survey since 1991. To order the rate survey or to subscribe, go to http://www.mlmonitor.com or call 312-944-7900.

Complete Rate Survey available to the press upon request

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