First Medical Malpractice Insurance Rate Increase In Three Years Only 5%

NEW YORK, NY (07/06/2010)(readMedia)-- The average medical malpractice insurance rate increase for New York doctors this year is five percent, New York State Insurance Superintendent James J. Wrynn announced today. By law, Wrynn is charged with establishing the rates for medical malpractice insurance coverage. The increase, which took effect July 1, followed two years of rate freezes.

"I am pleased that we could keep the first medical malpractice rate increase in three years to an average of five percent," Wrynn said. "This rate will help hold the line on costs for physicians while giving the insurance companies the resources to pay claims as they come due."

Wrynn established new base rates resulting in five percent increases for Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC), the largest medical malpractice insurer with almost 60% of the market, and Physicians' Reciprocal Insurers (PRI), the second largest medical malpractice carrier with almost 30% of the market.

Two smaller specialty carriers, Hospitals Insurance Company (HIC) and Academic Health Professionals Insurance Association (Academic), also received five percent increases.

While the average rate will increase by five percent, some doctors' increases can be somewhat more or less depending on their specialty and location.

The Medical Malpractice Insurance Pool (MMIP) is the State's insurer of last resort. MMIP provides insurance for doctors and others who are not able to get insurance in the voluntary market. For the fewer than 300 doctors covered by the pool, rates will rise an average of 9.9%.

"In the short term, this increase will relieve the pressures on both doctors and insurers," Wrynn said. "But long term, the system is still in crisis and needs to be reformed. We cannot afford to lose doctors because of high medical malpractice insurance rates and we have to make sure patients are properly protected. We will keep working toward a long term solution."