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News: 2012 Press Release
For Release: March 8, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces Medical Malpractice Rates Lowered For Three Companies
Rate Reductions will save doctors, dentists and other medical providers nearly $19 million
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced lower rates for medical malpractice insurance offered by NORCAL Mutual Insurance, The Dentists Insurance Company, and the Medical Insurance Exchange of California's Physicians and Surgeons program, saving doctors, dentists and other medical providers nearly $19 Million annually in premiums. Last year, Commissioner Jones required the top six medical malpractice insurance companies in California to submit rate filings to the Department of Insurance to justify their current rates. After review of those filings, Commissioner Jones called for rate reductions. As a result of the Commissioner's rejection of excessive rates, three of the companies decreased their medical malpractice rates. The three remaining companies' rates are still under review by the Department of Insurance.
"These medical malpractice insurance rate reductions demonstrate once again that giving the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive rates can result in major savings for policyholders, in this case for doctors, dentists and other medical providers," said Commissioner Jones. "It simply defies reason that the Insurance Commissioner has the authority to reject excessive medical malpractice rates for doctors and dentists, but does not have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rates for families, individuals and businesses. I continue to urge the State Senate to pass Assembly Bill 52 to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive health insurance rates and that the voters be given a chance to reject excessive rate hikes by qualifying the Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act for the November ballot."
"These medical malpractice rate reductions also demonstrate, once again, the important role that Proposition 103, which authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to reject excessive rate hikes for property and casualty insurance including medical malpractice insurance, has played in reining in medical malpractice rates since its passage in 1988," said Commissioner Jones.
Rates for NORCAL Mutual, the second largest medical malpractice writer in California, are being reduced by 7.07 percent. The reduction saves doctors and other medical providers $9.65 million. The company also decided to retroactively apply the lower rate to January 1, 2012 so its policyholders wouldn't have to wait another year before it takes effect. Rates for The Dentists Insurance Company are being reduced by 13.42 percent, saving dentists nearly $4 million. And rates for the Medical Insurance Exchange of California's Physicians and Surgeons program are being reduced by 19 percent, resulting in premium savings of $5.3 million.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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