Medical malpractice insurance costs drop along with claims

by Brian Bandell

Medical malpractice insurance has become a soft market that benefits Florida doctors seeking lower rates.

Rates in the primary medical malpractice insurance market fell 8.6 percent in 2007, according to a study released in October by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. That’s a welcome relief from the early part of the decade, when rates shot up by double digits in consecutive years.

A big factor is the declining numbers of closed medical malpractice claims, including a 14.5 percent dip in South Florida from 2006 to 2007.

Statewide, 3,553 medical malpractice claims were closed in 2007, down from 3,811 in 2006. The 2007 claims led to $523.6 million in indemnity payments and $174.7 million in insurance company fees to defense counsel. The indemnity payments declined 1.4 percent, while defense attorneys collected 5.2 percent more in fees.

The name of Stuart Grossman’s law firm, Grossman Roth, was incorrect in an earlier version of this article.

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