Wash. Commissioner Closes Doors on MAP

March 30, 2005

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced recently that he is closing the voluntary Market Assistance Program (MAP) for medical malpractice insurance due to a lack of business. Kreidler pointed out that the availability of medical malpractice insurance is improving and costs are beginning to go down. The MAP was to cease taking new applications effective March 31.

Kreidler requested the creation of a voluntary market assistance program – or MAP – to assist physicians and medical providers who were having difficulty finding medical malpractice insurance. Under the MAP, participating insurers formed a voluntary partnership with local insurance agents and brokers to shop applications for coverage among each other to determine which insurer was best suited to accept the risk.

“The success we achieved for physicians and their communities could not have been met without the commitment of the 10 participating companies, especially Physicians Insurance, the Doctors Company, and G.E. Medical Protective, along with the dedication of Dave Hargreaves, Chair of the MAP Producers Committee, and the support of the Washington Insurance Council which administered the MAP,” praised Kreidler.

More than half of the applicants to the MAP – 32 of 62 – were successfully placed with one of the participating liability carriers. Most of the physicians and medical providers unable to obtain coverage through the MAP were reportedly denied for prior claims histories or gaps in coverage. Only two doctors applied for assistance in the last eight months.

In early 2002, nearly 1,300 physicians and medical providers had to find new coverage when the state’s second largest medical malpractice insurer, Washington Casualty, announced it would no longer offer liability insurance to physicians. The St. Paul Group also had withdrawn from the medical liability market nationwide. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner assisted in finding new coverage for hundreds of health care providers before the MAP was formally created in July 2002.

“I’m grateful to those who worked to make the MAP such a successful vehicle for assistance during this latest hard market when premiums spiked and insurance became difficult to find,” said Kreidler. “Insurance market cycles are predictable. We need to make reforms to the system today that will lessen the hardships we’ll face when the next hard market comes around.”

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