Maryland Puts Hold on $68 Million Medical Mutual Dividend

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler wants to review a large medical malpractice insurance dividend payment before it goes out.

Newly-appointed Tyler said he will hold a hearing next month to review a plan by Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland to pay a $68 million dividend, a portion of which is owed to the state.

Medical Mutual declared the dividend on Sept. 12.

“I need a greater opportunity to review and digest this proposal,” said Tyler. “With this amount of money at stake, I want to be sure that it is handled appropriately.”

He scheduled a hearing for Oct. 5 and ordered Medical Mutual to take no action with respect to the dividend in the meantime.

The insurer is the state’s largest medical malpractice writer. The dividend plan comes after it lowered premiums by an avergae of 8 percent for this year, its first rate reduction in years.

The rate cut and dividend mark a change the medical malpractice insurance marketplace from 2004 and 2005, when premium increases by insurers sparked protests by doctors and calls in the General Assembly for tort reform to lower rates.
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