Report: Medical malpractice market stabilizes

By SBJ Staff

The medical malpractice insurance market in Missouri has stabilized, according to a report announced Sept. 27 by the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration.

Escalating medical malpractice costs caused a market downturn 1999–2003, according to the report. In 2005, legislators enacted lawsuit reform to address the health care crisis that was driving doctors out of the state. Those reforms have brought improved medical malpractice operations for the third consecutive year, the report said.

According to the report:

• Newly reported claims in Missouri have declined 61 percent to 1,113 in 2006, down from 2,822 in 2005.

• Total closed claims increased to 2,292 in 2006 from 1,799 in 2005, an increase of 27 percent.

• Average tort claim settlements declined for a second consecutive year, down 13 percent in 2006 to $212,658, from $246,775 in 2005.

The report includes sections regarding the nature and substance of malpractice occurrences and allegations.
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