MagMutual Announces 6.5% Dividend
January 31, 2023
MagMutual Insurance Co. announced it will return a 6.5% dividend to its policyholders this year.
According to the Atlanta-headquartered insurer of medical liability, the payment marks 24 years of dividends and more than $370 million in financial rewards MagMutual has returned to policyholders since its inception — with more than half of those rewards being paid in the past six years.
“Paying dividends reflects our commitment to our PolicyOwners, who we put first in everything we do,” said William S. Kanich, MD, JD, MagMutual executive chairperson. “We are proud of our record of consistent payments to them, which is an important part of the overall support we offer as a mutual insurer of long standing.”
“The fact that we have increased dividends while most companies are taking them away is a sign of our ongoing financial strength, which our team has worked hard to achieve,” said Neil Morrell, MagMutual CEO. “The successful management of our company means we can support policyholders both financially and with innovative insurance products for years to come.”
AM Best Assigns “A” Credit Ratings to MMIC Risk Retention Group, Inc.
January 25, 2023
AM Best has assigned a Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” to MMIC Risk Retention Group, Inc. (MMIC RRG). The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings is stable. MMIC RRG is a sponsored risk retention group of Constellation, Inc., the parent company of MMIC Insurance, Inc., which is the lead member of Constellation Insurance Group.
The ratings of MMIC RRG reflect the consolidated balance sheet strength of Constellation, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The rating assignment level reflects MMIC RRG’s role as a member of Constellation. Explicit support is provided to MMIC RRG through participation in a quota share reinsurance program with MMIC Insurance, Inc. In addition, MMIC RRG is fully integrated into Constellation’s operations and strategic plans, including a centralized management structure.
Constellation sponsored the formation of MMIC RRG in 2011 to meet the geographic expansions needs beyond its licensed territories. Constellation specializes in providing medical professional liability insurance to physicians, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, ancillary healthcare providers, long term care facilities and also offers self-insured retention options.
AM Best Removes From Under Review with Positive Implications, Upgrades Credit Ratings of MDAdvantage Insurance Co. of New Jersey
January 24, 2023
AM Best has removed from under review with positive implications and upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A (Excellent) from A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to “a+” (Excellent) from “a-” (Excellent) of MDAdvantage Insurance Co. of New Jersey (MDAdvantage) (Lawrenceville, NJ).
The outlook assigned to these Credit Ratings is stable.
The ratings of MDAdvantage were previously placed under review with positive implications in August 2022, following the announcement that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by MAG Mutual Insurance Co. The ratings action reflects the completed acquisition effective Jan. 1, 2023, and MDAdvantage’s inclusion as a member company under the MAG Mutual Holding Co. rating unit, which has a consolidated balance sheet strength level of strongest, as well as adequate operating performance, a neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
MDAdvantage is considered part of the MAG Mutual rating unit based on operational support, strategic importance to the group’s strategy and explicit support provided through an intercompany reinsurance pooling agreement. MDAdvantage is fully owned by MAG Mutual and the parent maintains full management control for the company.
Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona Declares $15 Million Dividend
January 17, 2023
The Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA) recently announced that its Board of Trustees has declared a policyholder dividend of $15 million to be allocated among current members as of Dec. 31, 2022, the record date. The dividend will be distributed in February 2023.
For policyholders insured by MICA for a full three-year period ending on the Dec. 31, 2022 record date, the dividend represents approximately 18% of their 2022 annual earned premium. Members current as of the record date who were consecutively insured less than the full three-year period will receive a pro-rated amount. Additional information regarding the policyholder dividend distribution for each member will be available on the member portal at www.mica-insurance.com
in early February 2023.
“We’re proud to be able to reward our policyholders who share in MICA’s mission and entrust us to protect them in the practice of medicine,” said Edward G. Marley, MICA president and CEO. “MICA was organized as a mutual insurer in 1976, a specialized structure that offers us the ongoing ability to share the company’s financial success with our members.”
Following the February 2023 dividend distribution, MICA will have returned $715 million in dividends to its policyholders since inception, including $115 million in the last five years.
The MICA Board of Trustees has awarded policyholder dividends each year since 2005, however, because they are based on past performance they are not guaranteed for future periods.
Integris Group Appoints New Board Member
January 10, 2023
Integris Group recently announced the appointment of Gary DiDato, MD, to its board of directors.
“Dr. DiDato’s extensive and impressive professional background will bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to our Board of Directors,” said Stephen J. Gallant, Integris Group chief executive officer. “We look forward to working with him in the coming years and are confident his contributions will benefit our growing population of members and the company as a whole.”
DiDato is an anesthesiologist serving as a senior attending at Middlesex Health and as an attending anesthesiologist at Middlesex Endoscopy Center, Shoreline Colonoscopy Suites, Middlesex Center for Advanced Orthopedic Surgery and Guilford Surgery Center. DiDato is the vice president of anesthesiologists at Middletown, PC, located in Middletown, Conn., where he has been practicing since 2005. He is also the Department of Anesthesia chairman at Middlesex Hospital.
Medical Liability Monitor January 2023 issue highlights
January 9, 2023
Below are headlines and article synopses from the January 2023 issue of Medical Liability Monitor. To read the articles in entirety, please subscribe today.
Medical Professional Liability Premium Growth Slowed in 2022
The medical professional liability insurance industry experienced double-digit premium growth in 2021, driven by firmer pricing and a return to pre-pandemic levels of healthcare utilization, but those gains waned last year, according to a new report published by the Medical Professional Liability (MPL) Association. The industry’s premium growth finished strong in 2021 at 11%. It had averaged only 7% during the previous five years due to a combination of factors that included “a soft pricing environment that lasted for the better part of a decade, shrinkage in the number of independent physicians that purchase MPL insurance and a movement towards alternative insurance mechanisms such as captives.” The premium growth was driven by firmer prices in all sectors of the MPL market, the gradual return to pre-pandemic levels of healthcare utilization and a consumer price index that was running close to 7% — the highest rate of inflation since the early 1980s — while large-dollar “nuclear” verdicts continued to make headlines …
New Jersey Senator Introduces Medical Liability Noneconomic Damage Cap Legislation
State Sen. Nicholas Sacco last month introduced the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Fees & Civil Damage Act, a bill seeking to limit both noneconomic damages and attorney contingency fees in medical liability lawsuits. The proposed bill, S3343, would establish a $250,000 limit for recoverable noneconomic damages in medical liability personal injury actions, regardless of the number of healthcare providers involved. Recoverable noneconomic damages for medical liability actions resulting in a wrongful death, regardless of the number of healthcare providers involved, would be limited to $500,000. Similarly, civil liability for noneconomic losses in a personal injury claim against one or more healthcare facilities, collectively, would be capped at $250,000, while recoverable noneconomic damages for wrongful death claims would be limited to $500,000, regardless of the number of healthcare facilities involved …
Grieving Families Act Sent to New York Governor
A bill that would expand the amount of recoverable damages in wrongful death actions was delivered to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Dec. 28, 2022. The governor has 30 days to sign, amend or veto the measure. The Grieving Families Act passed both houses of the state legislature in June 2022. The bill would extend New York’s statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits from two years to three and a half, permit surviving family members to collect noneconomic damages for the loss of affection and let nontraditional family members seek compensation. Under the state’s current law, compensable damages in wrongful death actions are limited to economic loss only …
Emergency Dept. Misdiagnosis Accounts for 2.6 Million Patient Harms
A new report from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality discovered that about 5.7% of patients seen in the emergency department (ED) are misdiagnosed. Some of these patients suffer an adverse event due to the incorrect diagnosis (~2%), and some of these adverse events are serious (~0.3%). This translates to about 1 in 18 ED patients being misdiagnosed, 1 in 50 suffering an adverse event and 1 in 350 suffering permanent disability or death. These rates are comparable to those seen in primary care and hospital inpatient care ...
ATRF Publishes Annual ‘Judicial Hellholes’ Report, Medical Professional Liability Again Plays Determining Role
The American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF) issued its 2022/2023 Judicial Hellholes report last month. The annual release documents abuses of the civil justice system in jurisdictions the pro-tort reform group says are among the most unfair and out of balance in the nation. The ATRF is a branch of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), an umbrella organization exclusively dedicated to reforming the nation’s court system via a network of state-based liability-reform coalitions. As every year, medical professional liability issues played a significant role in which regions received mention in the Judicial Hellholes report. Following is a summation of the medical liability portions of the annual report ...
Association Forms to Help Physicians Maintain Independent Practice
Recognizing the adverse impact private equity’s accelerating investment in physician practices has had on the cost and quality of patient care, a group of nearly 400 anesthesiologists from three states united last year to establish the nonprofit Association for Independent Medicine (AIM). The partnership intends to support physician-owned groups choosing to maintain their independent practice by providing them with resources, education and political advocacy tools ...
Clinicians Reluctant to Provide Telehealth Care to Older Adults
A national survey of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers reveals that nearly 60% believe it’s “dangerous” to provide telehealth to older adults due to the age group’s medical complexities, while another 60% say telehealth is an unrealistic option for seniors with physical or cognitive challenges ...
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Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona Announces Executive Leadership Changes
January 9, 2023
Mutual Insurance Co. of Arizona (MICA) recently announced the following leadership changes in anticipation of retirements at key positions.
Effective Jan. 16, 2023, Sherry Haworth joins MICA as its senior vice president and chief operating officer. Haworth was most recently at PLICO, a MedPro Group/Berkshire Hathaway Co. that specializes in medical professional liability insurance, where she has served as president of its PLICO SW Division for the past seven years. Prior to her promotion to president, she held the position of senior vice president of operations at PLICO for three years.
“Sherry brings leadership talent in key operational areas, as well as a reputation for delivering exceptional policyholder service,” said Edward G. Marley, MICA president and CEO. “She will be working closely with Mr. Malpiedi during the first quarter of 2023 as she transitions to the role and as he prepares for retirement.”
Effective Jan. 23, Kristin Kenny joins MICA as its senior vice president and chief financial officer, a role vacated by Marley when he succeeded James Carland, MD, as MICA’s president and CEO in September 2022. Dr. Carland officially steps down from his position on February 3, and will continue as chairman of MICA’s Board of Trustees. Kenny comes from Physicians Insurance A Mutual where she has led its financial operations as senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Prior to assuming this role in 2017, she was vice president and controller at the Seattle-based insurer.
Erica Krobot, JD, joins MICA as its vice president of claims, effective January 16. Her most recent role was executive director, litigation counsel/risk at Banner Health, where she was responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership to the Claims/Litigation and Clinical Risk Management departments systemwide. Krobot will work with Phil Smith during this transition as he prepares to retire in March 2023.
Effective January 1, 2023, Holiday St. Andre has been promoted to vice president of human resources. She will work with Leon Kochan during this transition as he retires in March 2023. St. Andre joined MICA in 2016 and her most recent role was senior human resources generalist.
“On behalf of MICA, I welcome the newest members of our executive leadership team. Both Ms. Haworth and Ms. Kenny bring considerable experience in mission-based, physician-centric, professional liability organizations to these senior roles at MICA,” Marley said. “The MICA claim operation will continue to provide exemplary service under Ms. Krobot, who brings specialized MPL litigation knowledge, including earlier experience as a defense attorney representing physicians and other health care practitioners throughout Arizona, and we look to furthering our talent and administrative operations under the leadership of Ms. St. Andre. As we advance the mission that has served MICA’s members for decades, I look forward to working with the accomplished professionals at MICA as we embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead in our industry."
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of MLMIC Insurance Company
January 6, 2023
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “aa-” (Superior) of MLMIC Insurance Company (MLMIC) (Albany, NY). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect MLMIC’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The ratings benefit from the financial support provided by MLMIC’s direct parent company, National Indemnity Company, which is ultimately owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
MLMIC has a long track record of favorable reserve development and adequate underwriting returns. In the past four years, net operating results have been skewed somewhat by a 100% loss portfolio transfer (LPT) and an 85% quota share agreement with National Indemnity Company, which were executed in 2018. As a result, favorable reserve development related to accident years covered by the LPT (for all business written prior to the acquisition by National Indemnity Company in 2018) no longer benefits MLMIC’s underwriting results. The pace of favorable reserve development was likely further slowed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the New York court system, which reduced the speed with which claims were closed and delayed the recognition of possible favorable reserve development on more recent accident years that are not covered under the LPT. As a result, the company’s net underwriting results in the most recent years have not yet benefited from the same degree of reserve releases seen in previous years. The gross underwriting results remain in line with historical trends, however, and further support the current operating performance assessment of adequate. Over time, AM Best expects that MLMIC’s calendar year underwriting results will continue to improve and approximate the company’s historically stronger results.
MLMIC’s insurance portfolio is concentrated in the medical professional liability line of business. The company underwrites risks only within New York, which is one of the nation’s most challenging and litigious markets for medical professional liability. However, management has been able to operate successfully through underwriting cycles while maintaining MLMIC’s leading market position within New York. In addition, risk management capabilities have proven appropriate for the company’s risk profile.
Medical Liability Monitor December 2022 issue highlights
December 12, 2022
Study Shows Wide Variance Among States’ Malpractice Costs
Physicians, nurses and healthcare workers in the state of New York suffered the largest number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed between 2012 and 2022, while those in Wisconsin experienced the fewest filings during the same period, according to a study published online last month. Ohio incurred the most expensive medical liability reports during the 10-year period with 2,325 medical liability filings costing its healthcare industry more than $853 million, while New York ranked No. 40 with a total costs to its industry at $6.85 million …
Alaska Supreme Court Overturns Law Limiting Awards in Some Medical Malpractice Cases
The Alaska Supreme Court determined last month that a 1976 law limiting financial awards in medical liability lawsuits for Alaskans with health insurance is unconstitutional. The statute at issue, AS 09.55.548(b), provided that when a medical malpractice claimant’s losses have already been compensated in part by a collateral source, such as a health insurer, the claimant’s damages award will be reduced by the value of the collateral source compensation, except when the collateral source is a “federal program that by law must seek subrogation” …
Favorable Reserve Development for MPL Specialty Insurers During Third Quarter
Medical Liability Monitor’s quarterly analysis conducted by Milliman Inc. indicates the MPL industry reported a cumulative favorable development through the third quarter of approximately $22 million on reserves related to prior years. This reflects an improvement relative to the same point in 2021 and 2020 through the third quarter. Third-quarter 2021 saw $200,000 of adverse reserve development, while third-quarter 2020 saw adverse reserve development of nearly $40 million. This favorable reserve development further supports our anticipation that the 2022 annual financial results will also reflect some reserve redundancy. However, how much reserve redundancy remains uncertain …
Ohio Supreme Court Chips Away at Vicarious Liability Claims
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled last month in Clawson v. Hts. Chiropractic Physicians that if a physician cannot be held directly liable for malpractice, then a lawsuit seeking to hold the physician’s employer vicariously liable must be dismissed. In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court dismissed a medical liability lawsuit filed by a patient of a Montgomery County chiropractic firm. The decision reversed a ruling by the Second District Court of Appeals, which held that Cynthia Clawson could sue Heights Chiropractic Physicians despite her malpractice claim against the chiropractor who allegedly harmed her having been dismissed as untimely ...
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Positive Physicians Insurance Co., Coalition Announce Partnership to Offer Cyber Insurance Coverage
December 9, 2022
Positive Physicians Insurance Co. announced today that it has partnered with Coalition, an “Active Insurance” provider designed to prevent digital risk before it strikes, to provide Positive Physician’s insured physicians and healthcare providers with competitively priced and broader coverage options.
“Coalition is a globally recognized provider of cyber insurance that delivers a progressive platform that uses Active Risk Assessment, Active Protection and Active Response to alter how healthcare professionals manage cyber threats,” said Michael Roque, Positive Physicians chief executive officer. “Coalition's advanced technology allows businesses to reduce digital risk by monitoring and responding to digital risks 24/7, making cyber insurance in the MPL industry no longer a reactive coverage. This is yet another partnership cementing our vow to identify and incorporate Insurtech solutions that will reshape how the MPL Industry transacts business.
“Cyber Insurance is often an afterthought in the MPL space, with coverage only triggering when an adverse event occurs,” Roque continued. “But as digital risk increases and evolves, so must the coverage available for healthcare providers. Coalition actively provides ongoing protection and services. This partnership gives our insureds access to affordable enhanced coverage options that will significantly help mitigate the digital risks they face daily.”
Founded in 2017, Coalition provides an integrated approach for companies to manage cyber risk. Coalition’s Active Insurance offering provides small and midsize companies with cyber security tools, active monitoring, and anytime access to digital forensics and incident response services, combined with insurance coverage provided by well-known insurance carriers.