N.J. Department Approves NIP’s Plan to Form a New Medical Professional Liability Exchange

September 12, 2002

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has approved National Insurance Programs’ (NIP) plan to form the Conventus Inter-Insurance Exchange, a physician owned and governed medical professional liability insurance company, and granted permission for Conventus to solicit applications and capital for its formation.

“With the approval of Conventus’ business plan, New Jersey physicians and surgeons are now one step away from having their own company to provide quality and affordable coverage, and to regaining control over their escalating medical professional liability insurance costs,” Conventus founding member Steven P. Shikiar, MD, FACS, remarked.

“Most commercial insurance companies have responded to the ‘New Jersey malpractice insurance crisis’ by either pulling out of the state or seeking large rate increases. I am seeing too many colleagues, all excellent physicians, being declined for coverage or watching their premiums increase by 50 percent or more,” Shikiar continued. “Unlike a stockholder-owned company, Conventus will be a non-profit venture, enabling it to keep rates below those now commonplace in the commercial market.”

An initial membership offering commences immediately and closes on Nov. 15. Physicians and surgeons who join during this period will be offered two-year policies, guaranteeing coverage and locking in capital contribution amounts. Premium rates and capital contribution requirements may be higher in subsequent offerings. Commitments to join must be received by Nov. 15 to qualify for the initial offering rates.

“The plan is to raise sufficient funds to finance operations and begin to issue policies no later than January 1, 2003,” Richard Augustyn, CEO, NIP, added. “We plan to offer membership to all primary care physicians and specialists. We are committed to disciplined underwriting while offering membership to physicians and surgeons who have experienced claims while providing quality care.”

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