Ohio Experiences Slight Bump in Closed Medical Malpractice Claims in 2009
January 25, 2011by
side note: While Ohio's closed medical professional liability claims experience an uptick in 2009, the total is still down 33 percent from the 5,051 claims that closed cataloged in the report's inaugural edition from 2005. The Ohio Department of Insurance recently issued its fifth annual Ohio Medical Professional Liability Closed Claim Report. Data collected from entities providing medical professional liability coverage to Ohio healthcare providers and healthcare facilities shows a total of 3,344 medical professional liability claims were closed in 2009. Claims that generated an indemnity payment averaged $322,158 per closed claim. Ohio law requires all entities that provide medical professional liability insurance in Ohio—including authorized insurers, surplus lines insurers, risk retention groups and self-insurers—to annually report closed claim data to the Department of Insurance. Claims are reported to the department and included in analysis based on the year in which they reach final outcome. The specific data filed by each reporting entity is confidential and is not subject to public record requests. The department is required to prepare an annual report summarizing the closed claims on a statewide basis. Some key findings in the report include: • Total Closed Claims: A total of 3,344 closed claims were reported for 2009 by 99 entities. Authorized insurers reported the majority of the closed claims, 1,796. Self-insured entities reported 1,185 closed claims, surplus lines insurers reported 212 closed claims and risk retention groups reported 151 closed claims. For 2008, a total of 3,080 closed claims were reported. • Indemnity Payments: Seventy-six percent of medical malpractice closed claims resulted in no payment to a claimant. A total of 2,542 closed claims had no indemnity payments while 802, or 24 percent, closed with an indemnity payment. The total amount paid to claimants was $258,370,436, an average of $322,158 per closed claim for those claims that generated an indemnity payment. Based on the combined data of all five years, approximately 22 percent of the closed claims generated an indemnity payment at an average of $287,931. • Closed Claim Expenses: While most medical malpractice claims closed with no payments to claimants, almost all closed claims generated expenses for investigation and defense. These expenses totaled $107,739,769, an averageof $39,350 per closed claim. Based on the combined data for all five years, the average expenses per closed claim were $32,071.