Medical Liability Monitor’s 2017 Annual Rate Survey Indicates a 1.1 Average Rate Decrease Among Medical Malpractice Insurers Despite Underwriting Challenges
October 4, 2017by
Chicago — According to just-released data from the 2017 Medical Liability Monitor Annual Rate Survey, the medical professional liability (medical malpractice) insurance industry’s collective mature, base-rate premiums experienced an overall average decrease of 1.1 percent from last year. More specifically, Internal Medicine rates decreased 1.1 percent, General Surgery rates decreased 1 percent and OB/Gyn rates decreased by 1 percent. “The slight average decrease in mature, base-rate medical malpractice insurance premiums marks a continuation of the medical professional liability insurance industry’s historic soft market,” said Michael Matray, editor of Medical Liability Monitor. “What’s interesting is that the market continued to soften at the same time the industry’s combined ratio crept above 100 percent for the first time in a decade. The question is how long can insurers be aggressive with pricing in the face of slipping underwriting results.” For the overwhelming majority (74.2 percent) of insurers participating in this year’s Annual Rate Survey, rates remained flat between 2016 and 2017, very similar to the percentage with no manual change shown between 2015 and 2016 (75.2 percent). The next largest segment of rate change was increases within the 0.1 percent to 9.9 percent (13.3 percent). When reported medical malpractice insurance rates are broken down regionally, the only region reporting an average rate increase is the Northeast region – due to a 12-percent increase in the Pennsylvania PCF surcharge and Maine reporting a 2.5-percent increase. In the South, decreases in Texas and Virginia of 3 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, and increases in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina of 1.5 percent, 1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, combine for an overall decrease for the region of 0.9 percent. The change reported for the Midwest is a 2.1 percent decrease. Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio all reported decreases around 5 percent. A very slight decrease (0.3 percent) was reported for Illinois due to one carrier reducing the rate for the OB/Gyn specialty. Nebraska and Indiana are each reporting increases of roughly 3 percent, but the increase in Nebraska is driven by an 18 percent increase in the PCF charge. The two states with the largest reported changes are in the West region — Hawaii and Montana — report average decreases of 9 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. In New Mexico, the PCF surcharge increased by 9.3 percent, while the primary carriers are holding rates flat, driving an increase for the state of about 1.3 percent.
###Medical Liability Monitor is the only independent publication reporting exclusively on the medical professional liability insurance and risk management industries. The monthly newsletter, founded in 1975, has conducted the Annual Rate Survey since 1991. To order the Annual Rate Survey or to subscribe to the monthly newsletter, visit www.medicalliabilitymonitor.com or call 312-944-7900.