Laws were passed in Florida in 2003 to reform the medical malpractice insurance industry. Rates rose 98 percent in some specialization during the time period between 1998 and 2002. Doctors were hoping the reform would lower their medical malpractice rates. A new study has shown that claims have gone down but rates have only decreased slightly. It is hoped that rates will continue to decrease even though insurance companies have posted recored profits.
The largest insurer, Jacksonville-based First Professionals Insurance Co. (NASDAQ: FPIC), asked the state insurance office for an 11.7 percent decrease on top of the 8.5 percent decrease it passed on last year. Its rates would be just below 2003 levels, said President Bob White.
And premiums will continue falling for the next two years, then stabilize as more years of lower claim data are factored into the rate formula, White said.
The new laws capped rewards for pain and suffering at $500,000 in order to help reduce costs. Studies have shown that medical malpractice claims have dropped around the country in the same time period.