Austin, Texas-based Medicus Insurance Co. recently announced its entry into the professional medical liability insurance market in Illinois.
Supporters of more companies entering the Illinois market credit the passage of the Illinois Tort Reform Act, signed by Gov. Blagojevich in August 2005, (that places a cap of $500,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases) as a major incentive for more companies to enter the Illinois market.
Tort reform advocates in Illinois, like Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, believe that tort reforms are the spark that will drive down the number of frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant jury awards, allowing emerging companies like Medicus to enter the Illinois market, the Medicus statement said.
“Medicus and other companies who begin providing medical malpractice insurance in Illinois will create a more competitive environment that will be good for consumers, doctors and our overburdened courts,” Murnane said.
Illinois State Sen. Kirk Dillard, who helped lead the tort reform effort, said with Medicus entering the Illinois market it proves that the Illinois General Assembly did the right thing.
“Medicus coming to Illinois proves that our medical malpractice reform legislation works,” Sen. Dillard said. “Competition lowers prices and gives doctors and hospitals a choice, and that is a good thing.”
“Helping Illinois doctors is a personal mission for me because of my tort reform background,” said Dr. Bill Bailey, vice president of Medical Relations for Medicus. Bailey led the successful tort reform fight as president of the Texas Medical Association and nationally as a delegate to the American Medical Association.
“No one knows like another doctor the wound that medical malpractice issues can create. I joined Medicus to provide personal attention to our insured doctors as well as to help them lower their rates and practice better medicine,” Bailey said.
Initial underwriting by Medicus in Illinois has found Illinois doctors hungry for professional liability insurance. The company has already insured close to 200 physicians in Illinois. Meanwhile, leading hospitals across the state have already approved Medicus as an accepted insurance provider for their doctors.
As the cost of medical malpractice insurance skyrocketed in Illinois over the past decade, some communities found themselves without specialty physicians or in some cases with no doctors at all. In fact the doctor who delivered Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s second child left Illinois because of the malpractice crisis here, the statement said.
In 2001, there were 17 malpractice insurance providers in Illinois. The crisis drove most malpractice carriers out of the state. Now, five fully licensed insurers remain.
Based in Austin, Texas, Medicus offers coverage in Texas, Illinois, Missouri and Nevada, with the addition of more states pending, the company said.
Source: Medicus Insurance Co.