MPL Association: Latest COVID-19 Relief Proposal Would Mean Critical Liability Protections for Healthcare Professionals, Facilities
December 15, 2020
The Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL Association) president and CEO Brian K. Atchinson issued the following statement last night about the COVID-19 relief proposals that include liability protections for healthcare workers and facilities put forward earlier in the day by a bipartisan Congressional working group:
“With doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals stretched beyond their limits in this latest COVID-19 surge, we are gratified that lawmakers are taking action to protect those who have been serving so tirelessly and the facilities where they work. Along with the pressure those on the front lines face dealing with the pandemic, they find themselves not only at personal risk but exposed to professional liability for years to come. Federal action would be crucial given the current patchwork of state laws and executive orders that leave those responding on unequal footing depending on where they practice. At the same time, this plan allows that victims of gross negligence or willful misconduct may still be compensated for injuries they suffer.
The MPL Association urges Congress to move forward with this proposal. These protections honor the nation’s healthcare professionals and their self-sacrificing dedication by offering protection for them from the future threat of lawsuits at a time when they are providing care for a tsunami of patients under crisis conditions.”
AM Best Revises Outlooks to Negative for Members of ISMIE Mutual Group
December 11, 2020
AM Best has revised the outlooks to negative from stable and affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” of ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co. and ISMIE Indemnity Co. Both companies are domiciled in Chicago, IL.
These Credit Ratings reflect ISMIE’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.
The revision of the outlooks to negative reflects pressure on the group’s operating performance assessment following deterioration in underwriting and operating results and the ongoing challenges that the group faces to improve near-term results in a difficult medical professional liability (MPL) market. Underwriting performance has suffered over the most recent five-year period, largely as a result of significant declines in premium and a reduction in favorable development of prior accident year reserves. In addition to these influences, ISMIE’s earnings have been impacted by declining levels of investment income due to the prolonged low interest rate environment. These mounting pressures resulted in a net loss in 2019 and through the third quarter of 2020.
ISMIE has implemented a strategy to improve operating performance, which includes rate increases and reducing policyholder dividends. However, underwriting and operating losses are expected to continue over the intermediate term. AM Best notes that risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), is expected to remain at the strongest level during this time.
The decline in the group’s earnings is further strained by its single state, monoline concentration of risk in the MPL sector as it relates to price competition, loss cost trends and regulatory challenges. The group is implementing an expansion strategy into new territories and product offerings as it seeks new opportunities to deploy its capital. AM Best will continue to monitor the group’s performance closely, given the considerable execution risk related to these initiatives.
AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of MLMIC Insurance Company
December 9, 2020
AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A+ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “aa-” of MLMIC Insurance Co. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect MLMIC’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The ratings also benefit from the financial support provided by MLMIC’s direct parent company, National Indemnity Co., which is ultimately owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
MLMIC has a long track record of favorable reserve development and adequate underwriting returns. In recent years, net operating results have been somewhat skewed by a 100% loss portfolio transfer to National Indemnity Co. in 2018. As such, the company’s net underwriting results in the most recent years do not benefit from the reserve releases related to prior years. The direct underwriting results remain in line with historical trends, and further support the current operating performance assessment.
MLMIC’s insurance portfolio is concentrated in the medical malpractice line of business. The company underwrites risks only within New York state, which is one of the nation’s most challenging 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 risk profile of the company.
AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to MMIC Risk Retention Group, Inc.
December 8, 2020
AM Best 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. 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.
AM Best Affirms Superior Rating for the Cooperative of American Physicians’ Mutual Protection Trust
December 8, 2020
The Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP) announced that its Mutual Protection Trust (MPT), the organization's core product, earned its fourteenth-consecutive A+ (Superior) Rating with a Stable Outlook from AM Best Co.
“Given the turbulence that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, especially on the medical community in California, physicians are now more than ever reliant on the financial strength of MPT,” said Sarah E. Scher, JD, CAP CEO. “Our message to our member physicians is that we are here for you so that you can focus your efforts on what matters most, your patients.”
Best also affirmed the Cooperative of American Physicians Insurance Company (CAPIC) as A- (Excellent), also with a Stable Outlook. CAPIC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CAP and provides reinsurance and other benefits to CAP and its primary medical professional liability partner, MPT.
As part of its grading report, Best recognized MPT’s level of risk-adjusted capitalization, financial flexibility and favorable market position in California. The report also recognized the framework and capabilities of the enterprise risk management program that is “managed both holistically and individually, for MPT, CAP and CAPIC, with engagement from senior management and the board of trustees and directors.”
ProAssurance Declares $0.05 Dividend to Shareholders
December 3, 2020
The Board of Directors of ProAssurance Corp. has declared a cash dividend of $0.05 per common share, payable on Jan. 7, 2021, to shareholders who own its stock as of Dec. 22, 2020.
For 2020, ProAssurance’s dividend policy anticipates a total annual dividend of $0.72 per share. On an annualized basis going forward, the policy anticipates annual dividends 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 ProAssurance Board’s final determination after a review of the company’s financial performance, future expectations and other factors deemed relevant by the Board.
The ProAssurance Board also set May 25, 2021 as the date of the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held at its headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. The record date for the meeting is March 29, 2021.å