Physicians’ Mutual’s CEO, Others, Draw Larger Salaries, Bonuses

March 14, 2007

The CEO of the company that provides medical malpractice insurance to 1,450 physicians in West Virginia got an 18.5 percent pay raise last year, boosting his total compensation to $429,750, according to a report filed with the state insurance commissioner.

David Rader, chief executive officer of West Virginia Physicians’ Mutual Insurance Co., earned a $315,750 salary plus $114,000 in bonuses last year, which was $67,250 more than he received in 2005.

In 2004, his first year on the job, Rader’s salary was $187,500 and he did not receive a bonus.

The Legislature created Physicians’ Mutual to help doctors who were unable to buy malpractice coverage from private companies.

It was launched using a $24 million long-term, low-interest state lottery loan; a $3 million assessment on all insurance companies that do business in the state; and $3 million from a $1,000-per-physician assessment.

Last year, Chief Operations Officer Tamara Lively was paid $227,250, an increase of 9.5 percent. Chief Financial Officer Gary Schultz received $226,000, an increase of 13 percent, according to compensation reports the company filed. Vice President Deborah Lessard received $140,625, nearly double the $72,917 she was paid in 2005, and Vice President Scott Atkins received $65,000.

Physicians’ Mutual’s board of directors approved the bonuses. Board chairman, Dr. Robert Ghiz, said the board was “thrilled to death” with the company’s success and thinks the top employees deserved their pay.

“We think we’re getting a good deal,” Ghiz said.

Annual malpractice premiums for participating physicians dropped 5 percent in 2006 and another 15 percent this year. Rader said malpractice premium rates are set at the beginning of each year.

Some surgeons received premium reductions of 28 percent this year according to Rader. He estimates the company now insures about 70 percent of the doctors in the state.

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