Florida has always been a very important state for the medical professional liability industry. Not only are there many and varied medical professional practices in Florida, but premiums are among the highest in the country. Florida is the fifth largest state in the nation based on the size of written premiums. The counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach generate most of the medical malpractice premiums—and claims—for the State of Florida.
The Impact of Tort Reform on Florida Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums
The significant tort reform measures of 2003 made the State of Florida a much more attractive place for physicians and surgeons and stabilized the cost of medical malpractice insurance. By placing caps on non-economic damages in Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, the tort reform initiative reduced the number and size of claim filings and award amounts. Medical malpractice insurance companies came back into the State so that, today, there are over 20 companies actively soliciting medical malpractice business in the State of Florida.
Then in June 2013, Florida legislature once again approved reforms that would make Florida a more attractive state in which physicians and surgeons could practice. As a result of the reforms, plaintiffs were required to hire expert witnesses who practice in the same specialty as the defendant. The bill, Senate Bill 1792, also allowed a physician’s attorney to secure a patient’s medical records from physicians who had previously seen the patient. The intent of this law was to minimize frivolous lawsuits, and, more importantly, make Florida a more attractive State for practicing medicine.
In 2014 and 2015, the Florida Supreme Court overturned many of the tort reforms adopted earlier in the decade. Most specifically, the courts overturned the elimination of caps on non-economic medical malpractice insurance judgments in wrongful death cases. While all signs point to a destabilization of the Florida medical malpractice insurance marketplace, rates are stable due to other factors, such as consolidation of practices, competition among carriers, and the soft market in pricing.
Major Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies in the State of Florida
The major carriers in the State of Florida are:
- The Doctors Company
- Medical Protective Company
- Norcal (which recently acquired FD Insurance Company)
- MAG Mutual Insurance Company
- Pro Assurance Insurance Company
Premiums for Medical Malpractice Insurance in Florida have stabilized
Rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida have stabilized in recent years, the result of tort reform and competition. Those specialties paying the highest premiums in Florida are Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Ortheopedic Surgery, Emergency Medicine and Neurosurgery. The lowest rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida are enjoyed by Psychiatry, Occupational Medicine and Allergy.
While rates for medical malpractice insurance in Florida are historically cyclical, many insurance industry analysts believe that the soft market, which began around 2008, characterized by low rates and low claims, will continue at least for a few more years. Changes in healthcare, such as Accountable Care Organizations and pieces of the Affordable Care Act, may contribute to the extension of the soft market for an indefinite period of time. All this continues to make the state of Florida an extremely attractive place for physicians and surgeons as well as other healthcare providers.
The medical malpractice insurance professionals at Gracey-Backer, Inc. have been immersed in the sales and service of medical malpractice insurance since 1981. We represent the major medical malpractice insurance companies in the State of Florida. We have a depth of experience and expertise that physicians and surgeons deserve. If you have not shopped your medical malpractice insurance recently, please give us a call. Remember, quotes are FREE!!
Barbara Gracey Backer
Barbara Gracey Backer is the Vice-President of Gracey-Backer, Inc., an Insurance Agency in Delray Beach, Florida specializing in All Lines of Professional and Personal Insurance. She may be contacted at 800-272-6055 X118 or at email@example.com.