As the industry moves into another year of flat and reducing rates for medical malpractice insurance, our agency focuses on continuing to advocate for the broadest, malpractice insurance coverage possible. Industry analysts predict that the cost of defense and the cost of settlement will continue to rise even as the frequency of claims may decrease. It may seem like the low rates and competitive nature of the medical malpractice insurance industry are here for years to come, mimicking a sort of permanence, but there are indications that it is time to be vigilant.
There are some signs in Pennsylvania that this is the case already. Some insurance carriers are applying to increase premiums even while the number of claims hovers lower than the year 2000. In 2010, Pennsylvania reported 1,491 claims compared to the years 2000 – 2002 when the state experienced over 2,000 filings. In some jurisdictions, cases regularly settled for more than $ 5,000,000; while in others defense verdicts overwhelmingly ‘won the day’. The large multimillon dollar settlements can significantly impact a carrier’s stability. Hence a move towards rate increases is on the horizon.
Ob/Gyn’s are seeing some of the ancillary healthcare providers (PA’s, NP’s, CNM’s) cut into their ‘scope of practice’, and as such Ob’s are turning to MediSpa procedures in order to increase revenue. The Doctors’ Insurance Agency has a specialized Professional Liability Insurance Program which provides coverage to the Ob, MD owner, the physicians providing the injections, the nurses or aestheticians doing the laser work and the entire MediSpa staff, as well as the corporate name. Having one policy to cover the professional, medical malpractice insurance as well as the general liability (slip and fall coverage), plus the property insurance, is convenient and important. These insurance programs are affordable and underwritten efficiently.
The expansion of MediSpas in our country, run by every specialty brings new challenges and risks to the physician owners. Ob/Gyn’s especially can find themselves delegating the office consults and wellness check ups and performing mainly higher risk deliveries. They are still the specialist in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While the office midlevel staff may help to tend to a busy office, the riskier prenatal and obstetrics still falls on the doctor. Liability policies and insurance carriers should take the time to do the ‘on site’ Risk Management to mitigate this increased higher risk focus.
Additionally, a trend to watch is the increase of patients presenting in the system as a result of national healthcare reform. There is a likelihood of higher frequency of claims due to more people present in the system. On site, online and real time patient safety strategies and specialists will help our Ob/GYN-insured physicians to reduce their exposure. And if they implement our peri-natal bundle of patient safety online exams, they can reduce their premium.
The Doctors’ Insurance Agency specializes in the healthcare liability insurance. If you are concerned about your liability insurance costs, contact us 800-553-92 email here