Conn. Trial Lawyers Again Call for Review of Med-Mal Rates

October 17, 2006

The Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association has asked Insurance Commissioner Susan F. Cogswell to again review the medical malpractice insurance rates charged doctors by Connecticut Medical Insurance Co.

“We have asked this of Commissioner Cogswell, as it appears through our actuarial analysis, that the rates currently charged doctors by CMIC are indeed overly excessive in relation to CMIC’s profits and surplus,” said CTLA President Carl D. Anderson.

CTLA claims that has reported “excessive profits” and shown a “pattern of reporting excessive insurance reserves.”

“The market for medical malpractice insurance has turned around in recent years and insurance companies are doing very well.” The doctors have a right to expect their rates to reflect those improvements by seeing them reduced,” he added.

Connecticut Medical Insurance Co., one of the state’s largest writers of medical malpractice insurance, did not change its rates for 2006 after raising them each of the previous five years. The Glastonbury insurer, which is rated B++ by A.M. Best, serves more than 2,300 physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers.

In September, 2005, the doctor-owned insurer said its premiums were adequate to cover projected claims, which it estimated would average more than $21,600 each next year. That’s about double what the average was 10 years ago.

If Cogswell grants CLTA’s request, it would not be the first time the trial lawyers have played a role in getting medical malpractice rates reviewed.

In January, the Connecticut Department of Insurance reaffirmed an October decision denying a 12 percent increase in medical malpractice insurance rates requested by ProSelect. CTLA was an intervenor in those rate proceedings.

Malpractice rates made headlines in early 2005 when an 89.6 percent rate hike by GE Medical Protective Co. (MedPro) began being felt in the marketplace. Cogswell had approved the fling six months earlier and the increase touched off protests. The state’s trial lawyers, joined by consumer groups, asked Cogswell to halt the increase and review what they maintained was an “excessive” and “unconscionable” increase.

In response, Cogswell agreed to hire an independent actuary to take a second look at the 89.6 percent rate filing. According to the department, that outside analysis confirmed its own earlier assessment that the rates were not excessive.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal blasted the state insurance over the 89.6 percent hike. Blumenthal said the episode pointed out a need for the state to adopt a system of prior approval of rates. “As a condition for approval, there must be searching scrutiny, and an opportunity for the public to participate in providing information and raising questions,” he said.

Topics Medical Professional Liability Connecticut

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