Tort reform drives down malpractice premiums in some states

January 9, 2009

Some pockets of the country are experiencing a drop in medical malpractice insurance liability rates, thanks to tort reform occurring in state legislatures.

Some pockets of the country are experiencing a drop in medical malpractice insurance liability rates, thanks to tort reform occurring in state legislatures, according to research by an insurance brokerage firm.

Most notably, Texas, which in 2003 passed a $750,000 constitutional limit for non-economic damages in professional liability cases, has experienced a 25 to 30 percent drop in premiums with some insurance carriers, says Kathleen Pinkham of CBIZ Medical Professional Solutions in Leawood, Kansas.

West Virginia, Mississippi, Florida, and Missouri have also passed tort-reform statutes this decade, which have helped reduce rates by as much as 10 to 25 percent for some physicians, Pinkham says. Premium rates are partially based on the amount of malpractice cases in the area, so caps on damages tend to coincide with fewer lawsuits, she points out.