In a recently released survey of more than 35 medical malpractice insurance companies that represent about 75% of the medical malpractice insurance market for physicians in the United States, the results showed that medical malpractice insurance companies continue to enjoy huge profits, with premium revenues continuing to outpace claims expenses,. The medical malpractice insurance industry was the only sector of the property and casualty lines of insurance that showed a profit in 2012.
While 57.6% of medical malpractice insurance rates did not change (the trend of flat medical malpractice insurance rates has continued since 2006), medical malpractice insurance rate decreases significantly outnumbered malpractice insurance rate increases, and were generally more substantial: in 2013, 28.8% of medical malpractice insurance rates decreased (an increase from 25.7% in 2012) while 13.7% of the medical malpractice insurance rates increased in 2013 (compared to 15.1% in 2012).
The only region in the United States that experienced medical malpractice insurance rate increases in 2013 was the Northeast, but the average increase was only 0.7% (it was 1.19% in 2012). The two states experiencing the highest rate increases in the Northeast were New York (4.8%) and New Hampshire (4.2%).
The region with the largest decrease in medical malpractice insurance rates in the United States in 2013 was the Midwest, which experienced a 3.6% decrease (the decrease was 3.5% in 2012). North Dakota and Nebraska had the largest decreases – 12.2% for North Dakota and 10% for Nebraska. Michigan experienced a 5.1% decrease in rates, Wisconsin had a 4.2% decrease, Indiana also had a 4.2% decrease, South Dakota had a 3.35% decrease, Illinois had a 1.6% decrease, Ohio also had a 1.6% decrease, and Kansas had a 1.2% decrease. Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri experienced no change in medical malpractice insurance rates in 2013 while no Midwest states experienced an increase in medical malpractice insurance rates from 2012 to 2013.
An author of the survey observed, “Since 2006, the U.S. medical professional liability insurance sector has seen direct written premium fall by roughly 20 percent, suggesting a soft market. At the same time this traditional soft market indicator has been in free-fall, however, the industry’s premium revenue has continued to outpace its claims expenses, with annual combined ratios for the sector coming in at well below 100 percent every year since 2006. To put this record into historical perspective, consider that for the 28 years between 1978 and 2005, the sector enjoyed a combined ratio under 100 percent only twice, once in 1989 and once again in 1994. To put this sector’s recent financial results into a current perspective, all other property and casualty lines of insurance had combined ratios of 100 percent, or well above, in 2012. Only medical professional liability managed an underwriting profit last year.”
The editor of the survey publication stated, “While it’s not surprising that this year’s Annual Rate Survey indicates the continuation of a multi-year downward trend in rates and written-premium, it’s still confounding. The medical professional liability insurance industry has been slogging through the longest soft market in its history, and there’s no solid indication as to when that’s going to change.”
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries or other harms as a result of medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf, if appropriate.
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