PA Trial Lawyers Attack Medical Society Links with Med Mal Insurer

March 13, 2002

As the battle over medical malpractice insurance reform resumes in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association (PTLA) issued a press release which revealed that the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PMS) controlled the Pennsylvania Medical Society Liability Insurance Company (PMSLIC), a major writer of med mal coverage in the state, between 1976 and 1998, and still retains a 17.4 percent interest.

The PTLA’s announcement gives details of the financial arrangements and the use of various holding companies, including one offshore in the Cayman Islands, and alleges that the PMS “invested $150,000 in 1976 and has realized profits of nearly $122 million in the last six years alone. An additional $16.6 million is due, pro rata, over the next seven years.”

The timing of the revelations, if in fact they weren’t already known, puts additional pressure on the Pennsylvania legislature’s attempts to deal with soaring med mal premiums in the State, which have led many doctors to leave, and threatens the health care system.

While it would seem that the PMS, like many other professional societies, including lawyers associations, simply established a captive, to look after its members insurance needs, the link does raise issues of conflict of interest, which could weaken the PMS’ efforts to obtain meaningful med mal reforms.

So far the organization has not responded to the PTLA’s charges.

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