New Med-Mal Insurer to Begin Covering Ohio in January

December 23, 2003

Ohio Department of Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin announced that OHA Insurance Solutions (OHAIS) Inc. has been licensed to begin selling medical liability coverage statewide to a limited number of physicians starting Jan.1 and to hospitals starting in March.

Created by the Ohio Hospital Association, OHAIS is an Ohio-domiciled medical malpractice company and will provide additional options in the market.

“A major priority at the Department is to return stability to the market and ensure that doctors practice and deliver quality care to Ohioans,” Director Womer Benjamin said. “OHA Insurance Solutions will increase the availability of coverage in Ohio and is a welcome addition to the market.”

OHAIS, a hospital-owned company, was licensed by the Department after meeting financial, operational and management requirements. Ohio law requires a minimum capitalization of $5 million. The insurer is capitalized through a $10 million investment from OHA with additional capital from Ohio hospitals. Hospitals are required to invest in OHAIS for members of their medical staffs to be eligible for insurance. The requirement is an additional safeguard OHAIS has instituted to ensure that money is available to pay future claims.

“The Department is looking at several curative measures which should positively impact the current tight market,” Director Womer Benjamin added.

Recently, the House Insurance Committee passed legislation that would permit the establishment of a $12 million fund to be used for medical malpractice initiatives. The money could help finance a medical malpractice insurance company called a Medical Liability Underwriting Association (MLUA) if the market further deteriorates. The legislation is likely to have a House floor vote in January. The MLUA would write primary coverage for doctors unable to find major medical liability coverage.

In addition to chairing the Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission, established under SB 281, Director Womer Benjamin has directed the Department to create a system for reporting medical malpractice lawsuits, outcomes and settlements; to conduct a rigorous review of rate filings; and to initiate examinations of the rating and underwriting practices of Ohio’s top medical malpractice insurers.

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