Doctor-Owned Med-Mal Insurance Company Gets Green Light to Serve Ohio Docs

December 15, 2004

Healthcare Underwriters Group Mutual of Ohio (HU), a medical liability insurance company owned and governed by Ohio doctors, has received authorization from the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) to begin issuing insurance policies to doctors.

HU is reportedly the only insurance company domiciled in the state that offers Ohio doctors ownership and governance of the company as well as protection against claims of malpractice.

The license to operate, also called a Certificate of Authority, was granted this week by Ann Womer Benjamin, director for the Ohio Department of Insurance. HU’s licensure means that the company can now offer medical professional liability insurance to all Ohio doctors. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

“Our goal is to give Ohio doctors more control over the availability of medical professional liability insurance,” said Steven Salman, HU’s CEO. “We think HU will play a major role in helping to stabilize Ohio’s insurance crisis.”

“HU was modeled after the nation’s most successful doctor-owned companies,” said Salman. “We made sure the company’s only product was medical liability insurance for doctors and that our risk pool includes only well-qualified Ohio doctors.”

The HU Insurance model

HU is a mutual insurance company. The new company is non-profit and does not carry a premium load for profit. Additionally, HU will operate as a non-assessable mutual meaning that policyholders cannot be “assessed” to pay for losses if HU’s losses are greater than anticipated. HU has secured high-quality reinsurance for extraordinary losses.

If, on the other hand, losses are less than anticipated, HU’s policyholder-owners may receive either a dividend payment or a reduction in future premiums. Dividend payments and premium reductions are both subject to approval by the ODI.

A hallmark of HU will reportedly be an aggressive approach to defending claims. The company’s management team is reportedly experienced and focused on employing an aggressive defense strategy, including an intolerance of nuisance claims.

Through ownership in HU, Ohio doctors have a strong and unified voice on issues of medical liability. For example, a physician board of directors will review actuarial data and make recommendations for establishing annual premiums. Ohio doctors will also be involved in setting underwriting and claims-handling policies.

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