Medical Liability Monitor August 2022 Issue Highlights

August 5, 2022 by matray

Pennsylvania General Assembly Debating Bill to Consider Constitutional Amendment Empowering it to Establish Venue Rules
Certain members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly want unambiguous authority to set venue policy in the area of medical professional liability (MPL) lawsuit filings. To that end, state Rep. Rob W. Kaufmann recently introduced a joint resolution to consider a constitutional amendment empowering the General Assembly to establish venue in civil cases. The General Assembly’s interest in setting venue policy stems from a recently proposed change to venue rules by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee. The proposal would revise a 2002 rule requiring plaintiffs to file MPL claims in the county where the alleged injury occurred …

Maryland High Court Rules Loss of Years Claim Not Available via Wrongful Death Statutes
A patient’s terminal illness does not give rise to a wrongful death claim based on the argument that the person would have lived longer had the diagnosis been correctly made and life-extending treatment started earlier, a divided Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last month in a 5-2 decision. The Court of Appeals is the highest court in the state of Maryland ...

The Autonomy of Hospital Ethics Committees Post-Dobbs: It’s Unclear How Restrictive State Laws Will Be Applied to Complex Medical Situations
Since the United States Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health decision, there’s been significant discussion by lawyers, philosophers, healthcare providers and political leaders. The ruling has created uncertainty and confusion for those working in the healthcare space, and as lawyers, we are now being asked to advise our clients on myriad issues ranging from criminal culpability to the tax consequences of providing or paying for reproductive care. At the provider level, the questions we’re being asked are founded on the principle of autonomy. How can I provide appropriate care for my patient? Does my patient have the autonomy to make reproductive healthcare decisions? Is my autonomy as a provider different than it was two weeks ago? …

NM Appeals Court Holds Patient to Signed Arbitration Agreement
The New Mexico Court of Appeals recently reversed a ruling by a district court judge that denied a motion by Sunset Villa Care Center to compel arbitration for a medical liability lawsuit in which the patient signed an arbitration agreement. The appellate court determined that the district court erred in denying the motion to compel arbitration on contract validity grounds because the arbitration agreement was supported by alternative consideration and that the language of the delegation clause requires questions regarding enforceability and unconscionability be submitted to the arbitrator, not to a judge or jury …

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AM Best Affirms ‘Superior’ Credit Ratings of Members of MedPro Group

July 15, 2022 by matray

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “aa+” (Superior) of the members of MedPro Group. These Credit Ratings apply to The Medical Protective Co. and its affiliates: Princeton Insurance Co., PLICO Inc., Wellfleet Insurance Co, and Wellfleet New York Insurance Co; as well as MedPro’s two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group. The outlook of these Credit Ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect MedPro’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings also acknowledge MedPro’s risk-adjusted capitalization being at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), long-term profitable operating performance and the leading market position it maintains in the medical professional liability (MPL) sector. Additionally, the ratings consider the group’s substantial distribution capabilities, prudent claims-handling philosophy and culture of holistic risk management. The group consistently outperforms peers by most metrics, illustrated by substantial returns on equity, low operating ratios and solid net underwriting income. Furthermore, the ratings benefit from the explicit and implicit financial support provided by its affiliate, National Indemnity Co., and MedPro’s ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which includes reinsurance programs, investment opportunities and capital support.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the inherent challenges associated with the MPL line of business, particularly as it relates to price competition, changing market dynamics, potential changes in legislation (i.e., tort reform), increasing loss cost trends and regulatory risk. At the same time, AM Best recognizes the organization’s strong management team, diversified premium base and jurisdictional diversity, which have contributed to MedPro outperforming its peers over the longer term.

The group’s large allocation to common stocks exposes it to significant volatility during periods when the equity markets experience sharp declines. The group has historically demonstrated its ability to absorb this occasional volatility due to its low underwriting leverage and the investment managers’ historical trend of success in turbulent markets.

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Curi Named to Ward’s 50 List of Top-Performing Property & Casualty Insurance Companies

July 12, 2022 by matray

Curi announced that its insurance arm, Curi Insurance, has been named to the Ward's 50 list of top-performing property and casualty insurance companies for 2022. Curi Insurance is the only company that specializes in physician professional liability to make the Ward's 50 list for the third year in a row.

"We're extremely proud to be recognized as a top-50 property-casualty insurer by The Ward Group," said Brad Diericx, Curi Insurance's CEO. "We remain deeply committed to the physicians and practices we serve, and our strong financial foundation and underwriting discipline will continue to be critical as we help them navigate and protect their businesses from the many challenges facing healthcare right now."

Ward Benchmarking, part of Aon, is a provider of benchmarking and best practices for the insurance industry. The group analyzes the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty companies in the U.S. every year to identify top performers. Each company on the list must pass primary safety and consistency tests and also achieve superior performance in areas such as revenue growth, surplus growth, and average combined ratio over a five-year analysis period to be included on the Ward's 50 list.

The 2022 list recognizes outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance from 2017 to 2021.

"It's rewarding to see the exceptional work of our Curi Insurance team recognized by Ward again this year," said Jason Sandner, Curi CEO. "The trust they've established with our policyholders and our steady insurance results have enabled Curi's continued growth—all in pursuit of our mission to help physicians in medicine, business, and life. We now reach more physicians across a broader geography than ever before, with new service lines and offerings from our Curi Advisory and Curi Capital businesses as well."

For more information on the 2022 Ward's 50 list, visit https://ward.aon.com/ward-benchmarking/wards50/.

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Victoria Reyes, MD, Elected to the Integris Group Board of Directors

June 30, 2022 by matray

Integris Group announced the election of Victoria Reyes, MD, to a three-year term on its board of directors. The election became official at the Integris Group Incorporated Annual Meeting on June 11.



“We were pleased to see that membership recognized the wealth of knowledge and experience that Dr. Reyes brings to the board of directors,” said Stephen J. Gallant, Integris Group chief executive officer. “Her presence on the board will prove to be an asset to the entire company as we continue to expand our footprint and offerings to members.”



Reyes is board-certified in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology. Throughout her career, she has served on numerous committees that focus on safety and quality in the laboratory and patient care setting. She has been the chair of the Pathology Department and the laboratory medical director at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital since 2009 and Westerly Hospital since 2013. She is currently in private practice at Pathology Consultants of New London.

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Bill Burns to Join MPL Association as Vice President of Research

June 30, 2022 by matray

The MPL Association announced Bill Burns will join its ranks as vice president of research on Sept. 6, 2022. Burns comes to the Association from Conning where he spent five years as a director on the insurance research team with a specific focus on the MPL industry. Prior to joining Conning, Burns was the head of reinsurance loss reserving at Everest Re. He also has served as the chief actuary at two medical professional liability companies and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He also served as guest editor of the Medical Liability Monitor's Annual Rate Survey from 2019-2022.

“Bill will join the Association to create, oversee and operationalize research strategies. In this role, he also will direct the Data Sharing Project,” said Brian Atchinson, MPL Association president and CEO. “Bill brings with him a wealth of expertise in the MPL community. We are pleased to welcome him to the Association.”

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The Doctors Company Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary of the Tribute Plan

June 14, 2022 by matray

The Doctors Company announced today that it has paid more than $140 million in Tribute Plan awards during the past 15 years to its members. Tribute was the first national plan to recognize retiring doctors for their loyalty and commitment to superior patient care, according to the medical professional liability insurer, and the largest such benefit in the industry.

According to The Doctors Comapny, more than 11,500 Tribute awards have been paid during the last 15 years — the largest award being $264,808.

“The Tribute Plan is tangible proof of our mission to advance, protect and reward the practice of good medicine,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company and TDC Group. “I'm pleased that in our recent survey of members, 92% recognized the importance of Tribute and 90% expressed satisfaction with our unmatched benefits.”

According to The Doctors Company, its financial strength — with more than $6.5 billion in assets and $2.5 billion in member surplus — empowers the company to offer these rewards without compromising its ability to protect its members’ livelihoods or pay claims. The millions of dollars that are in Tribute accounts today come from the capital of the company, not from premiums, and Tribute payments do not affect The Doctors Company’s ongoing dividend program.

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Medical Liability Monitor June 2022 Issue Highlights

June 9, 2022 by matray

The June 2022 issue of Medical Liability Monitor features the following articles and more. Click here to subscribe today.

MPL Industry Losses Narrow, Barriers to Underwriting Profit Remain The U.S. medical professional liability insurance (MPLI) market posted an underwriting loss for the sixth consecutive year, with a 108% combined ratio in 2021. This result represents a significant improvement from 113% in 2020, and reverses a trend of four consecutive years of weakening performance. Strong written premium growth, driven by a level of premium rate increases unseen in many years, provides a basis for further performance improvement in 2022. However, the segment’s return to a future underwriting profit is tempered by uncertainty about the durability of pricing momentum and the effects on incurred losses from economic volatility, higher inflation and any post-pandemic revival of heightened litigation activity …

AM Best Report, Webinar Examine the Difficult Environment for MPL Despite improving its profitability last year, AM Best maintained a negative outlook for the medical professional liability (MPL) insurance segment in 2022. In correlation with the publication of this year’s MPL market segment report, Difficult Environment for U.S. Medical Professional Liability, Best hosted a roundtable-style webinar on the state of the MPL market, where industry leaders discussed the data underlying the report. The following consists of data from the special report and commentary from its corresponding webinar ...

COVID Still a Concern as Medical Professional Liability Association Annual Conference Looks Toward the Future The Medical Professional Liability (MPL) Association hosted its annual conference at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City from May 16 - 18. With two-thirds of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and a majority of states having lifted health-related restrictions, an optimism that the U.S. healthcare delivery system is settling into a new normal permeated the three days of in-person educational sessions and networking events. Following are some highlights from the educational sessions at this year’s MPL Association Conference …

Ripple Effects of Abortion Restrictions Confuse Care for Miscarriages As the Supreme Court appears poised to return abortion regulation to the states, recent experience in Texas illustrates that medical care for miscarriages and dangerous ectopic pregnancies would also be threatened if restrictions become more widespread. The laws in Texas — and perhaps elsewhere soon — could boost physicians’ vulnerability to medical malpractice lawsuits. Consider the patient whose miscarriage care is delayed and who develops a serious infection …

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The Doctors Company Names Megan Mahoney, MD, MBA, to Board of Governors

May 27, 2022 by matray

The Doctors Company announced the appointment of Megan Mahoney, MD, MBA, to its Board of

Megan Mahoney, MD, MBA, has been appointed to the Board of Governors of The Doctors Company.



Governors. Mahoney is chief of staff for Stanford Health Care and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she oversees the quality, safety and professionalism activities of the 3,000 physicians within Stanford Health Care.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mahoney to our board,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, Chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company and TDC Group. “Her background is extraordinary, and her expertise in precision health and practice transformation, in large healthcare systems, further strengthens The Doctors Company on our mission to advance the practice of good medicine.”

Prior to joining Stanford, Mahoney served in leadership capacities in clinic operations, medical education and research as a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, for 10 years. She was a visiting professor at Aga Khan Medical College of East Africa and served on the family medicine committee of the Kenya Ministry of Health. She was selected as one of The Top 100 Women Leaders in Medicine of 2021 by Women We Admire.

“I am excited to bring my background in developing transformative approaches to proactive and personalized team-based care that empowers patients, healthcare providers, and communities to this organization dedicated to innovation,” said Dr. Mahoney. “I see my work throughout my career as an ideal complement to The Doctors Company and look forward to helping build upon TDC Group's position as the preeminent organization for service to healthcare.”

Mahoney earned her MD at the University of California, San Francisco, and her MBA at Brandeis University. She received her undergraduate degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Gregg Hanson Receives 2022 MPL Association Award of Excellence in Honor of Peter Sweetland

May 16, 2022 by matray

The Medical Professional Liability (MPL) Association awarded Gregg L. Hanson the 2022 Award of Excellence in Honor of Peter Sweetland at its annual conference last week in Salt Lake City. Hanson is being honored for his outstanding contributions and longtime dedication to the MPL insurance community, the MPL Association and healthcare  professionals.

Hanson served as the chief executive officer and president of Coverys from January 2012 until April 2021, where he was responsible for the strategic leadership of the organization, expanding its presence nationwide and establishing an international footprint.

He started his career at Coverys as vice president of underwriting in 2000. He was promoted to senior vice president of underwriting in 2006 and also assumed management responsibility of the Marketing, Risk Management and Healthcare Provider Education departments. Hanson was named the company’s chief operating officer in 2009 and added oversight of the Claims, Human Resources, and IT departments to his responsibilities.

Hanson previously served as senior vice president of southern operations and underwriting for ProNational Insurance Co. Other past positions included numerous executive roles with the St. Paul Insurance Co., encompassing underwriting, marketing and operational management throughout the Midwest and Florida.

Over the years, Hanson has served in various leadership roles within the MPL Association, including as a member of the Board of Directors, the MPL Association PAC Committee, Nominating Committee and Strategic Planning Committee as well as Section Chair of the CEO/COO Meeting.

“Gregg has made a significant positive impact on the Association and the industry as whole,” said James Q. Swift, MD, chair of the MPL Association Board of Directors and director and chair of OMSNIC. “We are extremely appreciative of his service. In particular, his innovative, thoughtful input on our recent strategic planning efforts will serve the Association for years to come. We are pleased to honor him with this well-deserved award.”

“Throughout his career, Gregg demonstrated great dedication to the MPL industry with his work at Coverys and his service to the Association,” said Brian K. Atchinson, president and CEO of the MPL Association. “He has long been a tireless champion of professional development for all those with whom he worked and consistently promoted the importance and value of MPL companies and all those whom they insure.”

The MPL Association Award of Excellence in Honor of Peter Sweetland, established in 1993 by the MPL Association’s Board of Directors, was created in honor of the late Peter Sweetland, one of the Association’s chief architects and most fervent supporters. The award recognizes an individual who has provided exemplary service to the industry and to the MPL Association, and who epitomizes the high ideals and ethics for which Peter Sweetland stood.

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Medical Liability Monitor May 2022 Issue Highlights

May 16, 2022 by matray

The May 2022 issue of Medical Liability Monitor features the following articles and more. Click here to subscribe today.

Corporate Acquisitions Accelerating Surge in Employed Physicians
New research from the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI), a nonprofit physician advocacy organization, in conjunction with the healthcare consultancy Avalere Health, indicates almost three quarters (73.9%) of all U.S. physicians were employed by a hospital, health system or other corporate entity as of Jan. 1, 2022, up from 69% at the same point last year. And researchers noted the employed-physician trend accelerated drastically after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — with 83,000 physicians having transitioned from independent practice since March 2020. …

California Healthcare Providers, Trial Attorneys, Legislators Reach Deal to Increase MICRA Cap
Stakeholders in the decades-long battle over California’s noneconomic damages cap for medical liability jury verdicts announced they have reached a compromise between healthcare, legal and consumer advocates on legislation to modernize the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). Signed into law in 1975, MICRA established a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards for things like pain and suffering, which proponents argued was necessary to balance compensatory justice for injured patients with important legal and financial protections for healthcare providers. The cap has never been adjusted for inflation ...

Virtual or Hybrid Trials, Arbitration Expected to Continue Post-Pandemic
The national law firm Wilson Elser LLP expects virtual and hybrid jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations to continue as the nation and its court systems transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prediction came during the 42-location firm’s recent National Mock Trial Training Program, where senior partners train Wilson Elser’s next generation of trial attorneys …

New York High Court to Determine Who Gets MLMIC Demutualization Money
The New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the Unified Court System of the State of New York, heard oral arguments last month for a set of related cases questioning who is the rightful beneficiary of monies generated by the demutualization of Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. (MLMIC). What’s the question at hand? While the healthcare providers were listed as the policyholders on paper, their employers argue that because the medical practice paid the premium, they are, in fact, the policyholders and are entitled to the demutualization proceeds. The employed healthcare providers counter that the medical liability insurance coverage was part of their work compensation and they deserve the proceeds. …

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