Announcing its entrance into the Texas malpractice insurance market, Advocate, MD Insurance of the Southwest said its improved coverage options and excellent rates are proof that tort reform efforts ushered in last year with the passage of Proposition 12 are starting to work.
“This is great news for doctors, for businesses, and for the patients whose physicians are excited about practicing medicine again,” Howard Lamb, president and CEO of Advocate, MD, said.
Advocate, MD is a medical professional liability insurance company that was authorized by the Texas Department of Insurance to begin underwriting business in Texas earlier this year. The company said it provides doctors and their patients with 25 percent more insurance protection than the most popular policy limit that has been available from competitors in the state of Texas. Additionally, this coverage is provided by Advocate, MD at a lower cost for most doctors based on their State-approved rates.
“Physicians’ strong response to our product shows their eagerness to remove the financial uncertainty that practicing medicine in Texas meant prior to tort reform last year,” Lamb stated. “I think all Texans will be happy to know that their doctors can now carry higher insurance limits to protect them in case of an injury. Advocate, MD chose to do this because we believe Proposition 12 works and that Texans deserve the benefit.”
By 2003, most doctors were weary of an almost-daily battle with paperwork and a constant threat of malpractice lawsuits. Many physicians considered dropping all or part of their practices, in direct response to the escalating costs of medical malpractice insurance.
Proposition 12 is a constitutional amendment limiting non-economic damages to $750,000, with no more than $250,000 coming from physicians and $250,000 from any one hospital or nursing home. The law does not limit measurable economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills.
“Governor Rick Perry, the Legislative leaders and those who headed the Proposition 12 coalition are to be commended for their leadership in pushing for Prop. 12’s passage,” Lamb said.
Lamb noted that some malpractice cases were, and are, indeed warranted—and patients deserve the protection that quality professional liability insurance and the courts can bring them when a doctor practices bad medicine. “But, in the majority of instances, lawsuits alleging malpractice are frivolous,” Lamb said. “Proposition 12 is intended to bring order to the system by wringing out the lawsuits with no merit and giving appropriate compensation to those who are really damaged.”
Advocate, MD is an admitted insurance carrier approved by TDI and is a member of the Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guarantee Association. Unlike some malpractice insurance underwriters in Texas, physicians insured under Advocate, MD are never assessed for additional fees, sometimes known as “surplus contributions.”
The company insures all specialties in all areas of the state. Standard limits of coverage are $250,000 per incident and $750,000 for the aggregate, compared to $200,000 per incident and $600,000 for the aggregate that most other carriers in Texas provide as their most purchased limit of insurance.
“The reward Proposition 12 has allowed us to give Texas doctors and their patients is a higher level of compensation in the event of injury. Physicians are getting 25 percent more coverage for the same premium with Advocate, MD,” Lamb said. “The public is better protected and that’s a rate reduction, any way you look at it.”
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