Tuesday, September 13, 2005

You Won, Now What?

The Governor's signature is barely dry on the med-mal bill, but things may start to get interesting. As reported in Crain's, ISMIE, the state's largest med-mal insurer, is being called in for a hearing about its latest rate increases.
Some of the increases were “problematic,” says Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the state’s insurance regulator.
Many people, myself included, wondered if the proponents of the measure were so intent on getting the caps provision passed that they set themselves up for a whole lotta trouble down the road. More to the point, I wonder if the docs and/or ISMIE got so caught up in the U.S. Chamber's rhetoric that they themselves may wind up regretting the other regulatory reforms contained in the law. Some may say that this just shows how fair and balanced the law is. Maybe, but I think that this may be just the first taste of what's to come.


At September 13, 2005 at 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ISMS/ISMIE lobbyists still received their paychecks, right?

At September 16, 2005 at 8:40 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

John, I know less about the details of the law than you do, but it wouldn't surprise me that a law passed by two democratic houses and a pretty far left democratic governor wouldn't be a "REAL" tort reform bill.

Count me as unsurprised if it makes things worse. All the easier to get it repealed when you have the clout.

Now, down in Missisippi, they passed a pretty dramatic tort reform bill.

Here are the results.

"Prior to the legislation, Mississippi was known as the "jackpot justice capital of America." The American Tort Reform Association had labeled certain jurisdictions "judicial hellholes." A survey of more than 1,200 senior in-house counsels for the U.S. Chamber Commerce ranked Mississippi 50th in virtually every category of judicial system nationwide. Insurance companies were fleeing the state. Others were refusing to write new policies. The medical field was particularly strained: Liability insurance was in many cases unaffordable, and in some cases unavailable.
One year later, the story is very different. Mass Mutual Insurance Group, St. Paul Travelers, World Insurance Co. and Equitable Life Insurance Co. are returning to Mississippi. State Farm Insurance eased its growth restrictions for homeowners' insurance and lowered its rates on property insurance.

The Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi, which writes 60% of the medical malpractice coverage for doctors in the state, had raised its rates 20% the year prior to the tort reform legislation. After its passage, MACM did not raise its rates at all. "Those people who said tort reform would not work and actively fought any civil justice reform," Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale said. "I think this indicates they were wrong." MACM also recently announced an end to its moratorium on new business; it also just declared it will cut its rates for 2006."


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