W. Va. Okays Rate Hike for Medical Malpractice Insurer

August 31, 2004

The Associated Press reported that an insurance company that had threatened to stop offering medical malpractice coverage to doctors in West Virginia has been granted a 9.5 percent rate increase, according to Gov. Bob Wise.

The state Insurance Commission’s approval of the rate hike will allow NCRIC Inc. to continue operating in West Virginia, Wise said.

NCRIC, of Washington, D.C., had announced in January that it was withdrawing from the state and would not renew current policies. The company agreed earlier this month to reconsider that decision after discussions with state officials and sought approval for the 9.5 percent rate increase.

NCRIC currently provides coverage to 147 doctors in West Virginia

“This is a positive step forward on our journey to assure a stable market for all qualified doctors,” Wise said. “We must continue to guarantee that every West Virginian has access to the doctors he or she needs and every West Virginia doctor has access to reasonably priced medical malpractice insurance.”

Last year, NCRIC sought a 35 percent rate hike but the commission approved a 9.8 percent increase.
The company’s average policy in West Virginia currently costs $38,853 a year.

Since NCRIC’s announcement that it planned to pull out of West Virginia, doctors had been scrambling for coverage.

“We strive to attract and retain companies to provide affordable quality medical liability coverage in our state. I am happy to say that today we have moved closer to our goal,” Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline told members of the West Virginia Medical Association at a meeting Friday.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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