325 Mo. Policies Affected By Farmers Withdrawal

September 26, 2003

Farmers Insurance Group told the Missouri Department of Insurance that it is withdrawing from medical malpractice coverage in all 18 states where the firm operates. Affected in Missouri is physician and hospital business written by two Farmers subsidiaries, Truck Insurance Exchange and Mid Century Insurance Co.

They accounted for about 6 percent of Missouri’s physician market and 41 percent of the hospital business in 2002.

Farmers will renew malpractice insurance contracts that renew Jan. 1, but providers that hold policies with March renewal date will not have their coverage extended. The withdrawal process will last 15 months.

Farmers assured MDI that Missouri market conditions did not prompt the withdrawal. In 2002, the Farmers subsidiaries reported $20 million in earned premium in Missouri with no losses paid and only $1.2 million in projected losses on claims that year.

Farmers officials indicated that they had 325 policies for physicians in effect in Missouri, but the number of doctors involved was unclear because each policy can cover one or more professionals and their staffs.

After Missouri lost 57 percent of its capacity to write new medical malpractice business in 2001 and 2002 because of national insolvencies, withdrawals and moratoriums on new policies, the state had increased the number of companies accepting new applications from five to nine this year.

Despite the loss of Farmers, Physicians Insurance of Wisconsin plans to begin marketing here in 2004, and the state-sponsored insurance plan for doctors unable to find private coverage will open for business next year. A directory showing the current status of medical malpractice carriers for doctors is available online.

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