Florida Insurance Council
December 10, 2009

Medical professional liability insurance rates have fallen since 2003 because the number of claims brought against physicians has dropped dramatically in Florida.  The number of claims against physicians is down all across the country.  Accordingly, we do not believe tort reform accounts for this as frequency is down in states that enacted their tort reforms more than 30 years ago and claims are down in states that have never enacted any tort reform.

The fact that claims frequency is down all across the United States points to a broad, systemic factor like how the plaintiff's bar views these cases as opposed to factors like a state adopting tort reform as the cause for the decline in claims frequency.  We believe that attorneys have found the economics of pursuing medical professional liability cases to be challenging and fewer plaintiff's lawyers will take these cases because of the high cost of prosecuting them.
 
The passage of tort reform in 2003 may have also impacted the desire of Florida plaintiff's lawyers to take these cases because of limits on recoveries than now exist.  The low limits of coverage Florida physicians carry also placing an artificial cap on the recovery that can be made and all of these things add up to make other tort cases more attractive for plaintiff's lawyers to pursue from an economic perspective.

Rates have fallen about 30% since 2005 and more carriers have entered the Florida market.  As a consequence, Florida's medical professional liability market is one of the most competitive in the nation.  The 2007 Conning Medical Malpractice Study "Getting Ahead of the Curve" identified Florida's medical malpractice marketplace as the 7th most competitive in the country using data developed by the U. S. Department of Justice to determine market share.