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California Medical Malpractice Insurance

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Cunningham Group is here for California Physicians & Medical Professionals

We are Medical Malpractice Insurance Specialists helping physicians, medical professionals and medical groups across specialties get medical malpractice coverage at cost-effective rates – as well as providing valuable tools and resources.

Founded in 1947, our experienced liability specialists will customize a policy to the specific needs of you and your practice.
Get all the physician discounts you are entitled to, including: Risk Management, Claims-free and New to Practice.
We ensure you receive Prior Acts, so you avoid purchasing separate tail malpractice coverage.
We publish historic rate data for every county in the State, in partnership with the Medical Liability Monitor – the nation’s leading independent source of Medical Liability Insurance and healthcare industry news.
Access to ALL MD, our network of Connecticut healthcare defense lawyers. Free Practice Tools, including Online Patient Satisfaction Survey System and Risk Management tools.
Experience excellent customer service with our dedicated account team.

Cunningham Group Has You Covered

On average, Cunningham Group saves Physicians and Medical Professionals 20% on their medical malpractice insurance.

2021 California Malpractice Insurance Marketplace Guide

California Med-Mal Fast Facts

  • Most Common Limits of Liability: $1 million/$3 million
  • Major Malpractice Insurers:
    • The Doctors Company
    • NORCAL Mutual Insurance Co.
    • Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP)
    • Lexington Insurance Co.
    • Medical Ins. Exchange of CA
  • Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance: Moderate
  • Pending State Legislation in 2021 that could affect your rates?: No

The California Malpractice Landscape

California has a large medical malpractice insurance market with many players. California has the largest population of active physicians in the country at nearly 102,000 and there are a wide variety of insurance options available, including traditional carriers and risk retention groups. Rates for California physicians have long been kept under control due to the success of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which was passed in 1975.

MICRA was the first major state tort reform legislation to arise from the medical malpractice insurance crisis of the early 1970s. Prior to the passing of MICRA, physicians throughout the Golden State had threatened to go on strike due to the prohibitively expensive cost of medical malpractice insurance. MICRA instituted several reforms that stabilized this trend and have helped keep rates for liability insurance reasonable. MICRA has frequently served as a model for other states seeking to reform their medical liability systems. MICRA’s provisions include:

  • $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages.
  • Caps on attorney’s fees.
  • Use of collateral source, meaning that other sources of payments, such as health insurance, are taken into account when determining damage awards.
  • Periodic payments.

Legislation requiring California prescribers to consult a state prescription drug database before prescribing addictive painkillers and other controlled substances took effect on Oct. 2, 2018. With its implementation, California is the 28th state to require doctors to check the state prescription drug database, the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), before prescribing. Research in states with similar laws has demonstrated that they reduce opioid overprescribing and doctor shopping. For example, New York saw a 75-percent reduction in doctor shopping after its first year of mandatory use. This new legislation is expected to lower the amount of opioid-related medical malpractice claims.

Tort Reform in California

With MICRA in place, California physicians already have one of the better medical liability situations in the United States. However, challenges to MICRA have been frequent, most recently in 2014 with Proposition 46. Proposition 46 would have increased the noneconomic damages cap from $250,000 to more than $1 million (to reflect inflation since 1975); required drug and alcohol testing of physicians and reporting of positive results to the California Medical Board; required the California Medical Board to suspend the license of any physician with a positive test; required healthcare providers to report any other healthcare worker suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and required healthcare providers to use a prescription drug database prior to issuing prescriptions for controlled substances. Proposition 46 was easily defeated, with more than 2/3 of Californians voting against it.

Does California have...

  • Damage Caps? Yes, noneconomic damages are capped at $250,000. There is no cap on other types of damages or on total damages.
  • Patient Compensation Fund? No
  • Apology Law? Yes, statements, writings and benevolent gestures for pain, suffering or death can be made to the patient or the patient’s family.
  • Collateral Source Reform? Yes, defendants can show evidence of collateral payment sources and claimants can show evidence of the amount paid to secure these benefits.
  • Periodic Payments? Yes, if damages are in excess of $50,000 any party can elect periodic payments.
  • Joint Liability Reform? Yes, defendants are proportionally liable for noneconomic damages only; defendants are jointly and severally liable for economic damages.
  • Limits on Plaintiff Attorney’s Fees? Yes, fees are limited to 40 percent of the first $50,000 in a judgement; 33 percent of the second $50,000; 25 percent of the next $500,000; and 15 percent for any amount exceeding $600,000.

Medical Malpractice Rates in California


Medical malpractice rates in the Golden State tend to be moderate. Rates for specialists like obstetricians top out at under $75,000, and are frequently much less, depending on practice location. General practitioners may be able to find policies for under $10,000 per year, depending on their location.

Get Historic Rates

By combining our efforts with those of the Medical Liability Monitor – the nation’s leading independent source of Medical Liability Insurance news, as well as the political, legal and risk management issues that affect the healthcare industry – we’ve published historic rate data for every county in the Golden State. You can view all the rates by completing the three simple steps on the left of this page. You’ll find the insights offered by this information invaluable when making your decision on your medical malpractice insurance coverage and carriers. This is only one of the many reasons that Cunningham Group Insurance has become the preferred online source for California physicians, healthcare professionals and medical groups looking to find the best coverage and lower their medical malpractice insurance rates.

Coverage by California County

California rates do not vary as much by county as in some states. Higher rates are found in Riverside and San Bernadino counties, as well as Los Angeles. Otherwise, California rates tend to be both reasonable and relatively uniform across the rest of the state.

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