Positive Industry Outlook Predicted for Medical Professional Liability Sector

June 28, 2012

Decreases in frequency of claims among healthcare practitioners, the stabilization of claim severity trends, shifts in the medical profession, the impact of risk management training and advancements in patient safety are all contributors to a positive outlook for the medical liability insurance sector, according to panelists at the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) 2012 Seminar on Reinsurance held June 5 in Boston.

Panelists included Elke Kirsten-Brauer, executive vice president and chief underwriting officer for MGIS Underwriting Managers Inc., a business unit of The MGIS Companies, a leading national provider of physician insurance products; Kimber Lantry, executive vice president, Hudson Insurance Group; Kevin Bingham, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and moderator John W. Buchanan, principal, Reinsurance, Insurance Services Office.

“We are seeing that most insurers are using reserve releases in the last few years to show continued great results. This is set to continue for at least another three years which support any trends in declining accident year underwriting results,” said panelist Kirsten-Brauer. “We cannot predict the next hard market, but given the current environment, the medical professional liability industry is positioned to continue as a very profitable insurance industry segment today and well beyond 2012.”

Kirsten-Brauer’s presentation detailed the changes in the medical profession such as the shift in physician demographics and group sizes, and the impact of these changes on the future of the industry. Statistics show one in five doctors currently practicing graduated before 1970; the significant number of physicians expected to retire in the next few years will be replaced by medical students who are now being trained on empathy, importance of work/life balance and communication skills that will help them better understand the perspective of the patient and their family. These skill sets will contribute to improved communication between patients and physicians that will reduce the likelihood of medical liability claims.

Kirsten-Brauer also examined how the use of predictive modeling tools can drive claims and underwriting improvements, provide an understanding of the overall portfolio, isolate competitive advantages and refine risk management goals.

“This prominent group of industry professionals gave us a critically important, well-rounded perspective on the medical liability field which we needed to provide given the ever-changing healthcare climate,” said Athula Alwis, associate vice president and actuary with Freedom Specialty Insurance Company, and member of the CAS Reinsurance Conference Organizing Committee who pioneered this panel.

Source: Casualty Actuarial Society

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