Sens. Cassidy, King Reintroduce Bill to Protect Disaster Relief Health Professional Volunteers

October 7, 2021 by matray

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD, and Angus King reintroduced the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act to provide medical professionals with a limited, but consistent, level of legal protection while volunteering during federally-declared disasters. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker, John Boozman, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Jeanne Shaheen and Joe Manchin co-sponsored the bill.

The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 sought to protect those volunteering through non-profit agencies or government entities from litigation over possible economic damages they may cause while volunteering. However, this act fails to protect persons who volunteer independently of a formally recognized organization, or that cross state lines to volunteer. The combination of federal and state efforts to protect and encourage volunteering, specifically by health care professionals, can be unclear and insufficient in the event of a large-scale disaster. This bill only applies to licensed medical providers and will not protect against litigation if the damage was done in a deliberate or criminal manner.

“After disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Laura and Ida, recovery depends on the volunteers and medical professionals who selflessly come to Louisiana to help those in need,” said Sen. Cassidy. “The least we can do in return is provide needed legal protections while they aid disaster victims.” “Amidst the chaos and sorrow of the last 18 months, the selflessness and caring of the American people has been on full display,” said Sen. King. “Time and time again, Americans have volunteered to help their fellow citizens in the face of a deadly pandemic and a series of natural disasters – especially our healthcare professionals, who have put their skills and training to use to save lives. These Good Samaritans can make all the difference in times of crisis, and should be celebrated and encouraged – not punished. Our legislation will permanently ensure that volunteers working to confront emergencies will have reasonable legal protections, allowing them to carry out their work and help Americans in need.”

“When disaster strikes, volunteers regularly step into action to help those in need. In Alaska, disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis can strike at any time – reminding us of the importance of help from volunteers, especially health professionals. Obstacles like a lack of civil liability protections are the last thing providers volunteering to respond need to worry about,” said Sen. Murkowski. “This bill protects physicians who step into action and help those in need during times of disaster.”

“Tennesseans are no stranger to natural disasters, but the quick recovery of the Volunteer State is the result of servant-hearted leaders supporting their neighbors in need,” said Sen. Blackburn. “This legislation is critical to protecting our volunteer community in Tennessee and across the nation.”

“Mississippians have a long history of standing with their fellow citizens in times of crisis,” said Sen. Wicker. “This bill would extend legal protections to health care professionals who volunteer and help our nation be more resilient in the face of natural disasters.”

“Stepping up during a crisis to provide medical care to Americans in need is a high calling. It should not open up selfless volunteers to legal jeopardy,” said Sen. Boozman. “Ensuring they have a basic level of liability protection is just common sense, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to empower these men and women to keep using their skills and training for good in times of disaster.”

“Mississippi is no stranger to disasters or to the blessings of people who bravely volunteer to begin the rescue and recovery process. At the same time, we are also willing and ready to volunteer in other states where needed,” said Sen. Hyde-Smith. “This legislation would serve to encourage more health professionals to volunteer by ensuring proper legal protections are in place for them.”

“Communities impacted by disasters rely on volunteer medical professionals to care for those in need. As West Virginians, we know this all too well after experiencing major flooding over the past decade that required volunteers to help administer vital care near disaster sites. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to protect the medical volunteers who work to help our communities recover,” said Sen. Manchin.

“The Health Coalition on Liability and Access applauds Senators Cassidy and King for introducing the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Protection Act. Thanks to their earlier efforts, Congress wisely saw fit to prevent unwarranted liability lawsuits from being filed against volunteers treating victims of the coronavirus pandemic. It is now time for Congress to ensure similar protections for volunteer health professionals who will sacrifice their time and talents to aid those affected by future federal disasters and public health emergencies. The time to act is now, before the next calamity strikes,” said Mike Stinson, chair of the Health Coalition on Liability and Access (HCLA).

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AM Best affirms ratings of Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona

September 21, 2021 by matray

Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA) announced yesterday that AM Best affirmed its Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) with a stable outlook. AM Best also affirmed the FSR rating of the MICA Risk Retention Group, Inc., as A (Excellent), also with a stable outlook.

“As a mutual insurance company, MICA is committed to providing value to our owners,” said MICA CEO James Carland, MD. “In periods of change and uncertainty, our physicians, physician groups and other insureds can remain confident in having a medical professional liability insurer with MICA’s financial strength, resources and mission-driven focus.”

In its rating report, AM Best acknowledged MICA’s financial status as the strongest level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio. Best also recognized MICA’s longterm history of organic surplus growth — despite significant policyholder dividends paid out annually over the last five years.

MICA’s operating performance remained strong with return metrics and operating ratios that outperform the medical professional liability composite and the overall property/casualty industry over the prior five-year period.

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AM Best Removes Under Review with Developing Implications, Affirms Credit Ratings of NORCAL Group’s Members

September 10, 2021 by matray

AM Best has removed the under review with developing implications and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a-” (Excellent) for the members of NORCAL Group (NORCAL). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (See below for a detailed listing of the companies.)

The ratings reflect NORCAL’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as very strong, as well as its marginal operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings also reflect rating enhancement provided by the ProAssurance Group.

The ratings receive support from the group’s relationship with its new ultimate parent, ProAssurance Corporation, which acquired NORCAL on May 5, 2021, as part of a sponsored demutualization. Rating enhancement provided to NORCAL reflects the integration of the company into the ProAssurance organization and the operational and expense synergies to be realized, as well as explicit support from a Parental Guaranty provided by ProAssurance for the $191 million of converted contribution certificates upon NORCAL’s demutualization, should NORCAL be unable to pay principal and interest at maturity.

Despite capitalization at the strongest level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), balance sheet strength is at the low level of a very strong assessment when considering the continued decline in surplus and additional reserve charges from older accident years. Operating performance has been assessed at marginal as the group has underperformed the medical professional liability (MPL) composite, on average, during the prior five-year period and into the second quarter of 2021. Underwriting losses reflect reserve deterioration following changes to reserving protocol, which led to higher loss severities compared with historical patterns. Additional unfavorable reserve development is expected to continue in the near term.

The stable outlooks reflect the expectation that NORCAL’s rating fundamentals will remain unchanged over the intermediate term. Risk-adjusted capitalization is expected to remain supportive while ongoing strategic initiatives implemented by ProAssurance are expected to stabilize operating performance and strengthen the group’s ERM.

The FSR of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a-” (Excellent) have been removed from under review with developing implications and affirmed with assigned outlooks of stable for the following members of NORCAL Group:

· NORCAL Insurance Company
· NORCAL Specialty Insurance Company
· Medicus Insurance Company
· FD Insurance Company
· Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, a Mutual Insurance Company

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ProAssurance Declares Quarterly Dividend

September 8, 2021 by matray

The Board of Directors of ProAssurance Corp. has declared a cash dividend of $0.05 per common share, payable on Oct. 8, 2021, to shareholders who own our stock as of September 24, 2021.

The ProAssurance dividend policy anticipates a total annual dividend of $0.20 per share, to be paid in equal quarterly installments. However, any decision to pay future cash dividends will be subject to the Board’s final determination after a comprehensive review of the company’s financial performance, future expectations and other factors deemed relevant by the Board.

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20th Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims

August 27, 2021 by matray

November 18, 2021 (EST) | Virtual Conference

SAVE 10% with MLM Code: D10-673-673DX03

The American Conference Institute (ACI)’s 20th Annual Advanced Forum on Obstetric Malpractice Claims takes place this Fall on November 18th, 2021!

Attend this one-of-a-kind event and hear from an unparalleled faculty of claims specialists, risk managers, medical experts – as well as an outstanding array of plaintiff and defense attorneys – who will share their insights and provide practical guidance for addressing some of the most complex medical and litigation challenges.

• How COVID-19 is impacting obstetric malpractice trials – from virtual court room proceedings to jury selection
• The evolving role and evolving liabilities of midwives and L&D nurses
• Legal challenges surrounding optimal management of high-exposure claims
• The controversy surrounding hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cooling – debating the pros and cons
• The fundamentals of genetics relative to cerebral palsy
• Ethical dilemmas in obstetrics malpractice
• And more!

Stay current on the evolving standards of care, emerging theories of liability, and new defense strategies. View the Full Agenda & List of Distinguished Speakers and Register Today!

SAVE 10% with MLM Code: D10-673-673DX03

Register Online:
Phone: 1-888-224-2480

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The Doctors Company Recognized for Informing Healthcare Providers During COVID-19

August 16, 2021 by matray

The Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) recently recognized The Doctors Company for providing comprehensive COVID-19 resources to healthcare professionals at the time it mattered most.

At its 2021 National Virtual Conference, the IMCA honored The Doctors Company for making timely information available to all healthcare professionals through its website as well as traditional and social media. The IMCA Showcase Awards recognize the most effective and innovative work from the best minds in insurance marketing and communications.

According to The Doctors Company, from the first pandemic article posted on its website on Feb. 7, 2020, it has sought to make answers to healthcare professionals’ questions easily accessible and relevant. As new questions arose regarding liability coverage, preparing a practice for COVID-19 patients and temporarily closing a practice, the company continued to update the available information. As the pandemic progressed and needs of healthcare professionals evolved, The Doctors Company added expert content on telehealth, reopening a practice, vaccine FAQs and insights on lessons learned.

“We are honored to receive this recognition, which highlights the importance of our focus on serving those who provide care,” said Stacy Schultz, senior vice president of marketing for The Doctors Company. “We recognized early in the pandemic that not only our members but healthcare professionals nationwide would benefit from the expert insights we could provide to help enhance patient safety and avoid liability risks during these unprecedented times.”

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LAMMICO Honors Two Hospitals with 6th Annual Patient Safety Award and Grant

August 12, 2021 by matray

LAMMICO recently honored St. Bernard Parish Hospital in Chalmette, Louisiana, with its 6th Annual LAMMICO Patient Safety Award and Grant for its work preventing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Urinary tract infections are one of the five most common types of healthcare-associated infections. CAUTIs have been associated with increased risks, increased morbidity, mortality, hospital cost and length of stay.

By demonstrating the most effective methods employed to prevent CAUTIs after completing LAMMICO's risk management and patient safety education, St. Bernard Parish Hospital was awarded a:

  • $10,000 grant to be used for nursing professional development

  • One-year Risk Manager membership to the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM)

  • One-year complimentary membership to Medical Interactive Community for all employees to access our risk management CME/CNE/MOC courses online

St. Bernard Parish Hospital assessed their Foley catheter utilization trends and identified opportunities to decrease usage. Providers and nursing staff were re-educated regarding standard operating procedures and Foley removal protocol. An action plan was developed and implemented to decrease Foley utilization and improve urine culture practices. Over a year, their CAUTI rate improved significantly.

The Spine Hospital of Louisiana at The NeuroMedical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was named the second-place participant of the Patient Safety Award and Grant. They reviewed and then rewrote their urinary catheterization policy and created a urinary catheter insertion and removal competency checklist included with the revised policy. A grant of $5,000 to be used for nursing professional development was presented to this hospital in recognition of their second-place honor.

LAMMICO commends these two hospitals and all others who submitted award applications, for their commitment to improving patient safety.  

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Curi Named to Ward’s 50 List of Top-Performing P&C Insurance Cos.

July 21, 2021 by matray

Curi was named to the Ward’s 50 list of top-performing property and casualty insurance companies for 2021. This is the second consecutive year the medical professional liability insurer has been recognized by the Ward’s 50 list.

“We’re honored to be recognized as a top performer by Ward—particularly in light of the headwinds that our industry and our customers are facing right now,” said Jason Sandner, Curi chief executive officer. “Our commitment to the physicians and practices we serve, coupled with our strong financial foundation and disciplined approach to underwriting, will continue to be critical as we navigate healthcare challenges together.”

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 2,900 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 2021 list recognizes outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance from 2016 to 2020.

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CAPAssurance, a Risk Purchasing Group, Names Mitch Temple Vice President Business Development

July 19, 2021 by matray

The Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) today announced the appointment of Mitch Temple as its new vice president of business development for its CAPAssurance Risk Purchasing Group. Temple will be responsible for marketing CAPAssurance medical professional liability insurance and risk management services to hospitals, healthcare facilities and large medical groups through its select broker network.

Temple served most recently as the director of sales  at Med-IQ, specializing in customized risk management programs that support healthcare providers, reduce risk and improve patient safety.

“Mitch is a resourceful business development executive who will be instrumental in spearheading the continued steady growth of CAPAssurance, and helping it adapt to the ever-changing market conditions” said Sarah E. Scher, JD, CAP CEO. “Mitch brings entrepreneurial talent that is evidenced by his sales and implementation of MED-IQ products ranging from online risk management education, Just Culture implementation, data analytics and custom programs in response to COVID-19.”

Temple will report to Alyson Lewis, CAP senior vice president and chief underwriting officer. “Mitch combines a proven business development track record in the health care marketplace with the creativity and ingenuity required to develop customized, effective risk financing solutions for the CAPAssurance broker network and client base. We’re delighted to add him to our growing team,” Lewis said.

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

June 30, 2021 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 Company and its affiliates: Princeton Insurance Company; PLICO, Inc.; Wellfleet Insurance Company; and Wellfleet New York Insurance Company; as well as MedPro’s two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group (both domiciled in the District of Columbia). The outlook of these 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 maintaining a margin of safety. Furthermore, the ratings benefit from the explicit and implicit financial support provided by its affiliate, National Indemnity Company, 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 resulted in MedPro outperforming its peers over the longer term.

The group’s large allocation in 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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