News: Liability insurance premiums soften once again

March 1, 2009

Though medical liability insurance still isn't cheap, the market improved in 2008 for the third year in a row.

Though medical liability insurance still isn't cheap, the market improved in 2008 for the third year in a row, according to a report in American Medical News (12/29/08) on the annual Medical Liability Monitor Survey.

The survey reports the medical liability insurance rates of all major physician insurers for three specialties: internal medicine, general surgery, and ob/gyn. It found that 93% of insurers reported stable or reduced rates in 2008. Premiums fell for 43% of insurers (12% more than in 2007), while rates did not change for another 50% of insurers (3% fewer than in 2007). The 7% of carriers that raised rates in 2008 generally put in hikes of less than 10% compared with premium decreases ranging up to 30% among those that dropped rates. Overall, carriers registered an average 4.3% drop in premiums nationwide, compared with generally stable rates in the past 2 years and significant upswings from 2003 to 2005. Florida had the highest rates among all three surveyed specialties. Ob/gyns in Miami-Dade County paid as much as $238,728 in 2008 and internists and general surgeons $54,710 and $214,893, respectively. Doctors in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Ohio had the next most expensive premiums.