Drop is second since jury award cap was imposed
AUSTIN – Texas’ largest medical liability insurance provider said Monday it will cut its rates by 5 percent starting in January.
The drop by the Texas Medical Liability Trust, or TMLT, comes on top of a 12 percent decrease the company implemented last January, after a new law and state constitutional amendment allowed a cap on jury awards and limited insurance companies’ liability.
“If you think about it, that’s a 17 percent reduction in rates in just a year, and I think what’s more important than that, that’s over $34 million of savings to TMLT’s Texas physicians in a single year,” TMLT president and CEO W. Thomas Cotten said during a Capitol news conference.
WooHoo! Great news!
TMLT had raised its rates by 147.6 percent between 1999 and 2003, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also attended the news conference and used the occasion to praise the medical malpractice reform law.
Dewhurst said the medical malpractice insurance market has stabilized and 13 new insurance companies have entered the Texas market.
TMLT, however, is the only major company that has reduced rates since the new law was approved. Dan Lambe, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Texas Watch, said that TDI data showed that doctors statewide have seen less than a 4 percent drop in premiums since the bill was approved. That is not the meaningful relief that doctors were promised, Lambe said.
Beats another 147% increase!
TDI data shows that Texas doctors covered by the top four insurers paid $396 million in total premiums before September 2003 and now pay about $383 million.
TMLT said it represents about 12,000 doctors, serving 48.2 percent of the available physician market in Texas.
They insure me, so I just got a raise.