Medical Malpractice Rates Lowered For Three Companies in California

March 8, 2012

Rates have been lower for medical malpractice insurance offered by NORCAL Mutual Insurance, The Dentists Insurance Company, and the Medical Insurance Exchange of California’s Physicians and Surgeons program, saving doctors, dentists and other medical providers nearly $19 million annually in premiums, according to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Last year, Jones required the top six medical malpractice insurance companies in California to submit rate filings to the Department of Insurance to justify their current rates. After reviewing the filings, Jones called for rate reductions. Three of the companies decreased their medical malpractice rates, and three remaining companies’ rates are still under review by the Department of Insurance, according to Jones.

According to DOI: Rates for NORCAL Mutual are being reduced by 7.07 percent. The company also decided to retroactively apply the lower rate to Jan. 1; rates for The Dentists Insurance Company are being reduced by 13.42 percent; and rates for the Medical Insurance Exchange of California’s Physicians and Surgeons program are being reduced by 19 percent.

“These medical malpractice insurance rate reductions demonstrate once again that giving the insurance commissioner the authority to reject excessive rates can result in major savings for policyholders, in this case for doctors, dentists and other medical providers,” Jones said in a statement. “It simply defies reason that the Insurance Commissioner has the authority to reject excessive medical malpractice rates for doctors and dentists, but does not have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rates for families, individuals and businesses.”

Jones said he’s urging the State Senate to pass Assembly Bill 52 to give him the authority to reject “excessive health insurance rates,” and he wants voters to be given a chance to reject excessive rate hikes by qualifying the Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act for the November ballot.

“These medical malpractice rate reductions also demonstrate, once again, the important role that Proposition 103, which authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to reject excessive rate hikes for property and casualty insurance including medical malpractice insurance, has played in reining in medical malpractice rates since its passage in 1988,” Jones added.

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