Insurance Council Statement on Medical Malpractice Agreement
The Florida Insurance Council August 8, 2003
statement was released today by the Florida Insurance Council's Vice President,
Sam Miller, who can be reached at 850-459-3012.
Florida Insurance Council acknowledges the tireless efforts of Governor Jeb Bush and the Legislature in developing a compromise bill to address the medical
malpractice crisis in Florida. The issues are very difficult to
understand, let alone to develop a solution to the growing problem of the rise in
medical malpractice losses.
Council's desire has always been to return rate stability and a competitive
marketplace to Florida. The state has gone from 60 insurance
carriers operating to only four that are currently writing new business.
Florida Insurance Council shares the concerns expressed by others, and is
disappointed that the compromise does not go far enough to have a definite impact
on reducing losses thereby returning the market to a
competitive state. The bill clearly does not adequately address serious issues
raised by the insurance community. Specifically, the Council sees the pierceability of a cap on non-economic damages as a detriment to stabilizing rate levels. We
acknowledge that any cap is better in predicting losses than present law. In
addition, the current limits of liability chosen by the vast majority of
physicians will have less of an impact due to the compromised level of the cap.
addition, there is little in the proposal to justify a rate freeze or rate
reduction. Current rates are based on anticipated losses for the current year.
Most of the proposals will not impact losses until sometime in the future due to
the way Florida law operates. Rates should be allowed to develop
based on experience as it happens.
Council is concerned that the insurance industry, the healthcare community, and
the consumer will not see significant relief from this compromise while the trial
lawyers continue their hold on the system.
516 North Adams Street ● Post Office Box 784 ● Tallahassee, Florida 32302-0784 ● Phone: (850) 224-7173 ● Fax: (850) 224-6532 ● www.aif.com