Tort Reform Ushers in New Era in Medical Malpractice Coverage
Medicus first new major player to enter Illinois market on second anniversary of new law
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the approach of the second anniversary of medical tort reform later this month, Medicus Insurance Company today officially launched its professional medical liability insurance for Illinois physicians.
“Competition lowers prices and gives doctors and hospitals a choice, and that is a good thing.”
Medicus brings medical leadership and insurance expertise along with financial strength to Illinois in support of the lower premiums that physicians need in the state. Medicus is committed to help make health care more available and affordable.
The Illinois tort reform act, signed by Gov. Blagojevich in August 2005, places a cap of $500,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases among other important reforms. Hospital liability is capped at $1 million.
Tort reform advocates in Illinois, like Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, believe that tort reforms are the spark that will drive down the number of frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant jury awards, allowing emerging companies like Medicus to enter the Illinois market.
“Medicus and other companies who begin providing medical malpractice insurance in Illinois will create a more competitive environment that will be good for consumers, doctors and our overburdened courts,” Murnane said.
Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard, who helped lead the tort reform effort, said with Medicus entering the Illinois market it proves that the Illinois General Assembly did the right thing.
“Medicus coming to Illinois proves that our medical malpractice reform legislation works,” Senator Dillard said. “Competition lowers prices and gives doctors and hospitals a choice, and that is a good thing.”
“Helping Illinois doctors is a personal mission for me because of my tort reform background,” said Dr. Bill Bailey, Vice President of Medical Relations for Medicus. Dr. Bailey led the successful tort reform fight in Texas as President of the Texas Medical Association and nationally as a delegate to the American Medical Association.
“No one knows like another doctor the wound that medical malpractice issues can create. I joined Medicus to provide personal attention to our insured doctors as well as to help them lower their rates and practice better medicine,” Dr. Bailey said. Dr. Bailey is a nationally known plastic surgeon and attorney, and is well regarded for his patient safety expertise.
“Along with better laws, bringing robust competition to the Illinois market helps new doctors set up shop here and keeps the doctors who are here from leaving,” said Howard Lamb, chairman of Medicus Insurance Company. “When that happens, it is a victory for consumers and it proves that tort reform is working.”
“Today is not only a special day for Medicus, it is an important milestone for the medical community and consumers in Illinois,” said Sheldon Davidow, president of Medicus. “Doctors will have more reason to stay in Illinois and consumers will have more choices of medical service providers who will no longer flee the state in search of more affordable insurance. Medicus stands firmly behind physicians by supporting tort reform efforts and vigilantly contesting meritless lawsuits.”
Initial underwriting by Medicus in Illinois has found Illinois doctors hungry for professional liability insurance. The company has already insured close to 200 physicians in Illinois. Meanwhile, leading hospitals across the state have already approved Medicus as an accepted insurance provider for their doctors.
“Medicus is offering insurance coverage at substantially lower rates than ISME and others,” Davidow said.
As the cost of medical malpractice insurance skyrocketed in Illinois over the past decade, some communities found themselves without specialty physicians or in some cases with no doctors at all. In fact the doctor who delivered Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s second child left Illinois because of the malpractice crisis here.
In 2001, there were 17 malpractice insurance providers in Illinois. The crisis drove most malpractice carriers out of the state. Now, five fully licensed insurers remain. Medicus’ entrance in the Illinois market will signal the reverse of that situation.
A well qualified OB-GYN, who now pays $138,484 per year for malpractice insurance in Cook County with market leader ISME will pay $124,636 with Medicus. The lack of legacy claims and a highly experienced management team gives the company its competitive advantage. Medicus’ management possesses more than 150 years of combined experience in the medical liability market and is comprised exclusively of experts in the medical field and insurance industry.
Dr. Richard Jorgensen, a prominent vascular surgeon from DuPage County, said that Medicus offered welcome relief to Illinois doctors.
“Doctors have long suffered under the weight of high medical malpractice premiums caused in large measure by outrageous lawsuits and egregious awards. With the new caps on damages, Medicus is proof that tort reform will work,” Jorgensen said.
Based in Austin, Texas, Medicus offers coverage in Texas, Illinois, Missouri and Nevada, with the addition of more states pending. Medicus Insurance Company has accepted $15 million of a $100 million facility led by seasoned insurance investors Cypress Group and veteran medical investors CHL Medical Partners. The Company has A rated reinsurance. More information about the company can be found at www.medicusins.com.