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
The Doctors Company Appoints Grace Vandecruze to Board of Governors
November 17, 2020
Grace Vandecruze, MBA, CPA, has been named to The Doctors Company Board of Governors.
Vandecruze is founder and managing director at Grace Global Capital LLC, a consulting firm that has provided mergers and acquisitions (M&A) financial advisory, restructuring, and valuation services to the insurance industry and financial regulators since 2006. She also has served as a managing director at Swiss Re, where she was responsible for the firm’s regulatory advisory practice in the insurance and financial services industries; as a vice president at a private equity firm specializing in the insurance industry; and as an associate in the Financial Institutions Group at Merrill Lynch.
“We are pleased to welcome Grace Vandecruze to our board,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company. “Her expertise in M&A and capital markets will be of great value as we continue to expand our platform for service to healthcare. She joins a distinguished group of professionals who are dedicated to our TDC Group vision of protecting those who provide superior care, reducing operational and financial risk in the provision of healthcare services, and simplifying delivery of high-quality healthcare.”
“I am very excited to join this dynamic and innovative insurance company,” said Vandecruze. “As the company continues to diversify into new and growing markets, I look forward to contributing my expertise in M&A and finance to the board.”
Vandecruze earned an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in accounting from Pace University. Before attending the Wharton School, she was an auditor for six years in the financial services industry at Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton. She also is a board member of M Financial Group and was appointed to the Wharton Graduate Executive board. She recently authored the book Homeless to Millionaire: 6 Keys to UPLIFT Your Financial Abundance.
Curi Announces Next CEO, Transition Plans for Current CEO in 2021
October 15, 2020
Curi today announced that Jason Sandner will be its next chief executive officer. Sandner will officially take the helm on July 1, 2021, when current CEO Dale Jenkins steps down after more than 25 years of service to the company. Jenkins will continue to serve on Curi’s Board of Directors.
Currently Curi’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Sandner was selected following a multi-month, nationwide search led by Curi’s Board of Directors with the assistance of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. A senior executive with two decades of financial, operational and managerial expertise, Sandner has managed the financial strategy of Curi and its affiliates for more than a decade.
“We believe Jason Sandner will help the company deliver ever-greater success to our member community,” said Dr. Robert Schaaf, Curi’s Board chairperson. “We looked for someone who has a passion for serving doctors and believes in the vision and strategy we’re aggressively pursuing. Jason is an extremely capable leader, and our search process proved to us that he is the very best person to lead Curi into the future.”
Sandner joined Curi in 2011 as its vice president of finance, was promoted to chief financial officer and recently took on the role of chief operating officer as well.
“Jason has had a strong positive impact on Curi and the broader physician community over the years, and I’m thrilled that the Board chose him to be my successor,” Jenkins said. “We’re a purpose-driven team here at Curi, passionately curious about new ways to improve our offerings for physicians and their practices, and Jason is a wonderful embodiment of that spirit. He believes deeply in what we do, and he sees opportunities for Curi to keep getting better in the future.”
“It has been incredibly rewarding to be part of Curi’s growth and evolution over the years, especially alongside leaders like Dale and our physician colleagues on the Board,” Sandner said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the company and our team into this next phase of growth in support of our mission to help physicians in medicine, business and life.”
Journal Article by CRICO Strategies and UMass Memorial Health Care Selected for the ASHRM Excellence in Writing Award
September 24, 2020
The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) has granted the ASHRM Writing Excellence Award to the journal article, “Harnessing the Power of Medical Malpractice Data to Improve Patient Care,” by authors from CRICO Strategies and UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc. The article was published in ASHRM’s Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, Volume 39, Number 3, which was released in Q1 2020.
The ASHRM Writing in Excellence Award was established in 1991 to recognize journal articles with exceptional technical merit and practical value. The 2020 review included 11 articles from Q4 2019, Q1 2020 and Q2 2020, and were scored by ASHRM’s Editorial Review Board.
Study authors include Dana Siegal, RN, CPHRM, CPPS, John Swift, MBA, of CRICO Strategies, Janell Forget, RN, BSN, JD, and Tim Slowick, MBA of UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc.
“UMass’ story offers a tangible, repeatable example of how health systems can use their medical malpractice data—and national comparative data—to improve patient care,” said Michael Paskavitz, vice president of CRICO Strategies. “UMass has invested in leveraging its medical malpractice data and, more importantly, sharing the learnings from the data across its institution. The return on this investment is borne out of its ability to reduce future medical malpractice claims, as described in the article.”
The article describes how, UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass., harnesses its deeply coded medical malpractice data and benchmarks its performance against national peers to catalyze clinical improvements. This strategy has proven successful in yielding positive change in such areas as ED ultrasound coverage, obstetrics communication and airway management training. UMass Memorial’s ability to embed claims data use into its culture and to share learning across clinical services offers lessons for healthcare organizations of any size.
The Writing Excellence Award winners will be recognized during the ASHRM 2020 40th
Anniversary Conference, an online-only virtual event to be held October 12-14, 2020.
The article is available in the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management (open access until Oct. 31, 2020). A webinar is available that shares key takeaways from the article and is available to all.
ProAssurance Declares $0.05 Quarterly Dividend
September 3, 2020
The Board of Directors of ProAssurance Corp. has declared a cash dividend of $0.05 per common share, payable on Oct. 9, 2020, to shareholders who own our stock as of September 24, 2020.
For 2020, the ProAssurance 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 Board’s final determination after a comprehensive review of the company’s financial performance, future expectations and other factors deemed relevant by the Board.