TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Still More Med Mal Insurance Conclusions

It's beginning (or continuing) to feel a bit like a tennis match.  Today we've got a study saying that the medical malpractice insurance crisis is over, and tying that to stabilization of insurance investments rather than tort reform or anything similar.

Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR) released a new study today confirming the wholesale decline of medical malpractice insurance rates nationwide.  The AIR study also shows that this phenomenon is occurring whether or not states enacted restrictions on patients’ legal rights, such as “caps” on compensation.  The medical malpractice insurance “crisis” is over, according to the study.

AIR’s study is based on the most recent Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers survey of market conditions, showing that the average rate hike for doctors over the past six months has been 0 percent.  This is following similar results for the last quarter of 2004, which saw rates rising only 3 percent at the end of that year.  By comparison, rates jumped 63 percent during the same quarter of 2002.

* * *

According to Joanne Doroshow, AIR spokesperson and Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, “Consumer rights organizations have long maintained that the ‘crisis’ of skyrocketing insurance rates for doctors and other policyholders would end when the insurance investment cycle stabilized, and that this would occur whether or not so-called tort ‘reform’ laws were enacted.  Insurance industry data now unmistakably confirms this prediction.”

The full report is available here [PDF].

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Rates didn't jump 63% in the fourth quarter of 2002. 63% of insurers increased their rate. This sort of amateurish mistake makes me doubt the rest of the study, which makes no account for the effect of tort reform and new entry on lowering rates.

Posted by: Ted | Feb 28, 2006 9:36:27 PM

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