Liability premiums leveling off

January 1, 2006

The 15th annual rate survey by Medical Liability Monitor (10/2005) shows that, although medical malpractice premiums continued to increase in 2005, the increases were lower than in recent years. The survey found that the majority of rate changes this year were between 0% and 14.8%, whereas half of the rate changes in 2004 were between 6.9% and 24.9%. In addition, about 64% of insurers dropped their rates, made no change to rates, or increased rates less than 10%. These figures may demonstrate that insurance premiums are leveling off.

The 15th annual rate survey by Medical Liability Monitor (10/2005) shows that, although medical malpractice premiums continued to increase in 2005, the increases were lower than in recent years. The survey found that the majority of rate changes this year were between 0% and 14.8%, whereas half of the rate changes in 2004 were between 6.9% and 24.9%. In addition, about 64% of insurers dropped their rates, made no change to rates, or increased rates less than 10%. These figures may demonstrate that insurance premiums are leveling off.

Still, premiums range widely from area to area. For example, ob/gyns in Dade County, Fla., paid the highest premiums this year-about $299,420, representing an 8% hike from last year. In contrast, those in Nebraska paid the lowest premium of $17,144, a 13.7% drop from the $19,865 they paid in 2004.

The survey also revealed reasons for physician optimism. More insurers reported they were expanding into new states and territories, accepting new business, and the range of increases were tighter this year, according to American Medical News (11/7/05). 2004 rates ranged from a 16.8% decrease to a 132.8% increase; in contrast, 2005 rates ranged from a 19.4% decrease to a 78% increase.