Ohio: Insurance Department Issues Second Annual Ohio Medical Liability Closed Claim Report

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The Ohio Department of Insurance has issued its second annual Ohio Medical Liability Closed Claim Report, Director Mary Jo Hudson announced. Data collected from entities providing medical malpractice coverage to Ohio health care providers and health care facilities shows a total of 4,004 medical malpractice claims were closed in 2006. Claims that generated an indemnity payment, which is the amount of compensation paid on behalf of each defendant to a claimant, averaged $288,080 per claim.

“After many recent years of volatility in the medical malpractice market, we certainly appreciate this downward trend,� said Hudson. “Higher regulatory standards on setting reserves, implemented nationally, have served as a stabilizing force in the market.�

Ohio law requires all entities that provide medical malpractice insurance in Ohio – including authorized insurers, surplus lines insurers, risk retention groups, and self-insurers – to report closed claim data to the department. The specific data filed by each reporting entity is confidential and is not subject to public record requests. The department is required to prepare an annual report summarizing the closed claim on a statewide basis.

Some key findings in the report include:

* Total Claims: A total of 4,004 claims were reported for 2006 by 93 entities. Authorized insurers reported the majority of the claims – 2,495. Self-insured entities reported 1,283 claims, surplus lines insurers reported 169 claims, and risk retention groups reported 57 claims. For 2005, a total of 5,051 claims were reported by 91 entities.
* Indemnity Payments: Almost 80 percent of medical malpractice claims resulted in no payment to a claimant. While a total of 3,210 claims had no indemnity payments, 794 – or 20 percent – closed with an indemnity payment. The total amount paid to claimants was $228,735,572, an average of $288,080 per claim for those claims that generated an indemnity payment. Similarly, in 2005, 20 percent of the claims closed with an indemnity payment, averaging $269,374 per paid claim.
* Claim Expenses: While most medical malpractice claims closed with no payments to claimants, almost all claims generated expenses for investigation and defense. These expenses totaled $88,131,139, an average of $25,672 per claim. In 2005, the average expenses per claim were $24,443.

Source: Ohio Department of Insurance
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