N.Y. Med-Mal Rates to Increase 7%

July 1, 2004

New York State
Insurance Department
Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today announced that the majority of New York State’s 50,000 actively practicing physicians will see a seven percent rate increase in their medical malpractice insurance premiums for the policy year beginning July 1. Serio rejected recommendations from insurers that rates be increased as high as 25.7 percent.

“New York is home to the nation’s best health care system and while much of the country struggles with medical malpractice crises, New York’s efficient regulatory oversight has stabilized rates while protecting physicians and patients alike,” Serio said. “Today’s rate changes continue to ensure that medical malpractice rates remain stable while malpractice victims are adequately compensated and doctors adequately protected”

“Considering that health care costs are impacted by medical malpractice rates, our efforts to stabilize rates are going a long way to control health care expenses for New Yorkers.” Serio added.

For the new policy year, th department has established a seven percent increase for all insurers other than the Medical Malpractice Insurance Plan (MMIP). MMIP, which covers approximately 500 physicians unable to obtain insurance coverage from other carriers, will receive a rate increase of 20 percent.

The major medical malpractice insurers doing business in New York, and their approximate market share are: Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (53 percent), Physicians Reciprocal Insurers (30 percent), HANYS Insurance Company (4 percent) and Academic Health Professionals (4 percent).

Legislation was enacted in 1986 giving the superintendent the authority to establish stabilized malpractice rates for doctors in order to moderate medical malpractice rate increases. The following table illustrates the average medical malpractice rate changes for physicians during the past five years.

Year Rate Chage
1999-2000 0.0%
2000-2001 1.8%
2001-2002 0.8%
2002-2003 1.0%
2003-2004 8.5%

In addition, the department will set rates for the excess medical malpractice coverage. The department is finalizing the rate for this excess layer, and said those those rates will be announced shortly.

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