New study says malpractice insurers’ claims false

Friday, July 8, 2005

Calls for reform in medical malpractice law may be aimed in the wrong direction, according to a study released yesterday which found that the leading malpractice insurers raised their rates dramatically over the last four years even though the amount they had to pay in lawsuits remained virtually flat.
While medical malpractice reform enthusiasts have blamed rising insurance premiums on the prevalence of lawsuits against doctors and medical providers, industry watchdogs have frequently pointed to studies showing that lawsuits have little do with the price of malpractice insurance.
The most recent study, "Falling Claims and Rising Premiums in the Medical Malpractice Insurance Industry," conducted for the Center for Justice and Democracy by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff, found that the fifteen largest insurers are taking in more than double the amount in premiums that they accrued in 2000. Meanwhile, the report says, payouts have risen slightly more than 5 percent in aggregate during the same period.

But Angoff's study determined that insurers had regularly increased premiums at rates far exceeding the projected losses in each of the past four years, while trends in the study suggest no attendant future rise in claims. In addition to increasing premiums dramatically since 2000, the 15 companies studied expect to raise rates higher even as they project a drop in future claims payouts, the study found.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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