W. Va. Gov. Notes Physician’s Mutual Files Application for Licensure with Commission

May 18, 2004

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise announced that the Physician’s Mutual Insurance Company filed its application for licensure with the Insurance Commission.

“Last year, this administration asked the Legislature to enact sweeping reforms to address the medical malpractice crisis,” Wise said. “The Legislature responded with a package that included transforming the BRIM H.B. 601 Physician’s program to a West Virginia doctor-owned company.

“Today, the reality of a West Virginia doctor-owned company is one step closer. West Virginia physicians are better suited to manage this line of business than out-of-state insurance companies who may only be interested in a quick dollar.”

There will be more than 1,450 physicians moving from BRIM to the new company once the application is approved. The state will reportedly not be at risk for claims against the Physician’s Mutual. Under the provisions of H.B. 2122, $24 million from tobacco settlement funds and assessments on physicians and insurers will provide the initial capital of $31 million for the company.

“I am extremely gratified to reach this milestone in the creation of West Virginia’s first Physician’s Mutual Insurance Company, a movement that began 3 years ago with the passage of H.B. 601,” said Dr. Robert Ghiz, chair of the Physician’s Mutual Insurance Company. “It is the culmination of a monumental effort by many organizations and individuals, including Gov. Bob Wise, members of the Legislature, physicians across the state and the mutual board of directors.

The target date for the beginning of the new program is July 1, 2004. After that date, BRIM will no longer be permitted to issue renewals or new policies to doctors. The new company must accept all liabilities of the H.B. 601 program that were physician related. Those joining the new program will not be required to purchase tail insurance because of the transfer.

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