A recent report stated that premiums for medical professional liability insurance increased in the state of Maryland, but it appears that physicians in most states still enjoy reasonable rates. In fact, we’ve seen MedMal insurance companies reduce rates in many states. The stabilization of rates creates opportunities for physicians to save money if they take time to do some comparing.
Why Have MedMal Rates Dropped?
Many factors have contributed to the drop in premiums. Depending on the state, it appears that malpractice claims against physicians have leveled off or even gone down in recent history. Lower numbers of claims and lower payouts have helped insurance companies hold the line on premiums. The lower frequency and severity of claims creates an environment where companies are willing to do business. In addition to this, many states have passed tort reform laws that limit the amount of money a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice claim. Some states have not only put caps on non-economic damages, but they’ve added other restrictions such as eliminating “venue shopping,” which is where claims are filed in courts that are typically known for large payouts. Many experts claim that these laws will be overturned eventually, but for now it seems they are helping. Another factor in bringing rates down has been the reintroduction of mutual insurance companies. Many of these are physician-owned mutuals that are giving dividends back to their insureds. What we’ve seen in multiple states is that once claim frequency and severity level off and the MedMal rates stabilize, insurance companies see an opportunity. In states that are favorable places to do business, more and more companies enter the market and this creates an atmosphere of competition. Believe it or not, there are states where malpractice insurance companies are fighting for more market share and physician business, and that means lower rates!
How Do Physicians Take Advantage of the Market Share Battle?
If you are a physician paying your own malpractice premiums, whether as an individual or as part of a group, you need to contact a MedMal broker to find out what the options are in your state. Many physicians assume they are getting a good deal, but if you haven’t checked around in a couple of years you could be missing out on some big savings. A lot has changed in the medical malpractice insurance market in the last 2 — 3 years. If you’re an employed physician looking to start a private practice, you also need a MedMal broker. Why a broker and not an agent? Brokers have access to multiple companies, agents typically only represent one. Why a MedMal broker and not a friend that sells commercial and business insurance? MedMal brokers are experts in one thing. A professional liability insurance policy is a totally different animal from a business policy. You need to talk to a broker that knows the details of policy language, liability limits, Tail provisions, Retroactive Coverage, deductibles, exclusions, and all the other unique features.
No matter what your situation or what state you’re in, give us a call or fill out our Quick Quote form to get a no obligation check up on your insurance. As one of the largest medical malpractice brokers in the country, our brokers are the experts.