Truth is Our Ally… It Just Needs To Get out There
September 28, 2011
The Insurance Industry has consistently either directly or through proxies such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provided half truths and untruths about the reason(s) for high premiums for malpractice insurance. All this while studies show that neither lawsuits nor verdicts have influenced high premiums. Instead, it is the Insurance Industry’s greed that has lead to these high premiums for the doctors.
At a news conference this afternoon, the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers called on state Insurance Commissioner Jim Long to conduct a hearing into rates charged by Medical Mutual Insurance Co. of North Carolina, which insures about 6,300 doctors statewide.
“It appears to us that they have crossed the legal threshold for having an excessive rate,” said Dick Taylor, the academy’s CEO. The academy argues that excessive rates are barred by state law.
For more than five years, the trial lawyers have engaged in a campaign to convince the public — and doctors, too — that the insurance companies, not malpractice lawsuits, are behind the rising cost of malpractice insurance. But until now the group hadn’t questioned the legality of medical malpractice rates or asked the insurance commissioner to step in.
In 2007 the trial lawyers unveiled an analysis by Jay Angoff, a lawyer and former insurance commissioner in Missouri, of Medical Mutual’s financial condition and performance from 2001 to 2006. The study was based on data submitted to the state Department of Insurance.
Angoff said the amount of claims paid by Medical Mutual has been “very stable” from year to year “while premiums have gone way up.”