News study hits insurers over med mal rates, claims paid

Liability & Insurance Week
Monday, July 11, 2005

Medical malpractice insurers should be subject to prior-approval rating and required to refund excess premium to physicians in light of a new study suggesting that over the past five years, insurers raised rates more than 125% while claim payments, when adjusted for inflation, remained essentially flat, some state insurance commissioners, attorneys general and consumer advocates say.
The study, which was conducted by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff and commissioned by the Center for Justice & Democracy, accuses insurance companies of price gouging and says there is no excuse for the substantial rate increases.

He noted that his study is based on data contained in the annual statements filed by insurance companies with state insurance departments, statements that are filed under oath.
The statements, Angoff said, prove that doctors have been overcharged during the last several years.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the press briefing that the report has enormous potential to recast the debate on medical malpractice reform.

In addition to Blumenthal, at least two other state government officials raised questions about medical malpractice insurers in the wake of the report. Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said the report calls into question much of what the medical malpractice insurance industry has been saying publicly during the past several years.
“There is no excuse for malpractice insurers doubling their rates while their claims payments decrease,” he said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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