California Medical Liability Insurance Rates Reduced Again

On June 11, the California Department of Insurance announced that it was flexing its rate regulation authority by mandating the state’s largest insurer of medical liability decrease its California medical malpractice insurance rates by an average of 10 percent. The Doctors Company now joins MIEC, MedPro, NORCAL Mutual, The Dentists Insurance Company and NCMIC in having its rates cut by Commissioner Dave Jones.

According to the California Department of Insurance, the forced rate reduction will save doctors insured by the The Doctors Company a total of $21 million. Combined with the rate reductions imposed on the other five professional liability insurance companies, the total savings will amount to $44 million.

Last year, California Insurance Commissioner Jones required the top six medical liability insurance companies in the state to submit and justify rate filings.

The Commissioner Jones has gone about the business of reigning in California medical liability insurance rates in dramatic fashion, dripping the results of its rate inquiry – and the resulting rate reductions – in three phases. The first rate reductions were announced in early March; the second round in April; and the announcement on The Doctors Company came this week (June 11).

The “drumroll please” method of announcing medical liability insurance rate reductions has been played for maximum political effect, and the press releases announcing the rate reductions have barely concealed what many in the industry believe to be California Insurance Commissioner Jones’s endgame, which is to get similar rate regulating authority over California’s healthcare insurance companies.

Each press release has lamented the fact that Jones does not have similar authority to regulate California’s healthcare insurance rates, and each press release announces that Proposition 103 will be a ballot initiative come the November elections. Proposition 103, if passed, will give Jones the authority to regulate California’s healthcare insurance rates.

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