Illinois’s ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company, the state’s largest medical malpractice insurer, announced this week that it will cut its average premiums by 5.2 percent starting July 1, 2006.
The announcement by ISMIE came less than a month after the state’s top insurance regulator ordered the company to freeze its rates for next year and try to cut them by 3.5 percent.
Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, predicted then that doctors would see “real, meaningful benefits” from the order.
Dr. Stephen Burger, president of the St. Clair County Medical Society, said ISMIE’S rate reduction is “encouraging news,” but that doctors in Illinois are still paying two to three times more for malpractice insurance than doctors in Missouri.
“We’re still paying considerably more than our counterparts across the river,” he said.
ISMIE says litigation reform last year led to a modest drop in the frequency in claims and a relatively flat number of claims.
“While results appear promising, it took Illinois a while to get into this litigation mess and it will take time to heal,” said Dr. Harold Jensen, chair of ISMIE. “We are optimistic about an imminent return to a thriving, competitive marketplace, but that is premature.”
Rates for doctors insured by ISMIE will still vary by the location of doctors’ practices, their medical specialties and other factors.
ISMIE has 13,000 policyholders in Illinois and covers nearly 70 percent of the state’s malpractice insurance market.
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