Real reason for high insurance

Published: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 12:13 a.m.

This is in response to William Lindsay's letter (Jan. l3). Insurance rates don't rise because of lack of peer review. Peer review is privileged and not subject to scrutiny by plaintiffs' attorneys.

Insurance rates rise because independent actuaries examine past losses and calculate trends for future losses and advise rates with which the insurance carriers can break even (loss ratio of 100 percent) with any profit coming via income from investment of premiums until they are paid out as losses from claims.

In regard to his suggestion that doctors form their own malpractice insurance: There have been at least four doctor-owned and managed insurance organizations (first trusts, then companies) in this state since 1975.

Two of them are the main source of medical malpractice insurance, but they've also had to raise their rates anywhere from 10 percent to 100 percent to keep up with the increasing, unconscionable judgments being awarded by the "foolish jurors and incompetent judges" to which he refers in his letter.

The main theme of Lindsay's letter parrots the inaccurate assertions of the Academy of Trial Lawyers that tort reform is aimed at depriving the victim of real compensation for his alleged injury. This is a lie.

The many state and federal attempts at tort reform, past and present, seek to limit only non-economic damages awards ("pain and suffering") to a reasonable level.

Not a single bill tries to limit the amount of a judgment to compensate for past and future loss of income, necessary future treatment and home or institutional care necessitated by someone's, negligence or error in judgement.

Perhaps, Lindsay will explain how limiting the trial attorneys' unjustified massive income (40 percent to 50 percent of all jury awards go to the plaintiff's attorney after his expenses are taken off) is a plot by the Republicans.

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