Medical Malpractice Risk Retention Group Launched in New York


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J. M. Woodworth Risk Retention Group (RRG) has registered with the New York Insurance Department to offer medical malpractice insurance to physicians and surgeons in the State, Sanford D. Elsass, President and CEO of The Uni-Ter Group, announced. Uni-Ter manages the Company under contract to the Board of Directors, which is composed of prominent physicians along with business and academic leaders.

“The RRG provides New York doctors the first new capacity for medical malpractice insurance in many years,” Elsass said. “The profession has been facing a medical malpractice insurance crisis. Rates have escalated to the point physicians and surgeons are retiring or leaving the State. Young doctors are choosing not to practice in New York. The State Fund and the few remaining insurance carriers are in financial distress.”

The RRG was formed in partnership with Paris-Kirwan Associates, Inc., Rochester, NY, a leading provider of insurance to the healthcare industry. J.M. Woodworth works exclusively through independent insurance agents with Paris-Kirwan acting as wholesale broker.

“The medical malpractice insurance crisis is a serious threat to the availability of healthcare in New York,” said Louis (Skip) Pleninger, Vice President-Medical Insurance Division, Paris-Kirwan. “I’m pleased to join with Sandy Elsass and his team who have proved that Risk Retention Groups can provide competitive, reliable liability insurance where the traditional carriers have failed. At last, our New York doctors have a viable alternative to the State Fund and traditional insurers.”

J. M. Woodworth RRG, Inc. will provide medical malpractice insurance to doctors who become shareholders in the Company. As part of its contract, The Uni-Ter Group provides professional risk management services to help physicians and surgeons insured by the RRG avoid claims. The Company is domiciled in Nevada and registered with the New York Insurance Department to do business in the State. It was organized under the Federal Liability Risk Retention Act of 1981, amended in 1986, which allows RRGs licensed in one state to do business in other states without additional licenses.

J. M. Woodworth was launched recently with a Surplus Note provided by Oneida Savings Bank, Oneida, NY, and capital contributed by subscribing doctors as founding shareholders. Medical Malpractice insurance policies written by the RRG will be on a “paid claims form” under which liability for the indemnity shifts to the insurers when the claim is paid rather than at the time of occurrence. This allows premiums to be set on the basis of actual costs when incidents are incurred instead of reserved estimates. The Company offers limits of $1 million/$3 million, up to and including $2 million/$6 million.

Speaking for Uni-Ter, Elsass said, “We will provide J. M. Woodworth with professional risk management services to help prevent claims and retain top-rated lawyers to defend physicians and surgeons when claims occur. This is a crucial part of our mission. Requiring members to work with our professional risk managers and providing aggressive defense against unfair claims have been keys to our success in nursing home liability insurance. We apply these same principles at J. M. Woodworth,” Elsass explained.

Membership in J. M. Woodworth RRG, Inc. is:

— Open to qualified physicians and surgeons in New York — Stock purchase required (can be amortized over four years) — Member shareholders must accept risk management and claims protocols — More details available from Skip Pleninger at Paris-Kirwan Associates, Inc. (585-461-6427; and Nadeene Wood-Clater at The Uni-Ter Group (678-781-2435

Mechlin Moore
MDM Communications
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