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Torri Howard, Vice President, Account Executive, Parker Smith & Feek

Medical Malpractice Liability and the Changing Market

By Torri Howard
Vice President, Account Executive
Parker Smith & Feek

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Original Publish Date: March 10, 2020

Over the last decade or more, the healthcare industry has been in what is considered a soft market. Decreasing premiums, flexible underwriting, and an abundance of capacity have insurers looking to expand their market share by growing their book of business. Often, insurers would outbid or underprice an account to win the business. While many in the insurance industry over the last two years have seen rising rates, diminished capacity, and strict underwriting practices, especially in the property and automobile lines, the medical malpractice insurance has remained relatively unaffected by the hardening market until recently. There are signs that market conditions are firming substantially with some tough years yet to come.

In a hardening market, insurers are less concerned about the growth of their business and more focused on the overall profitability of their existing books of business. They reevaluate their appetite, examine the profitability of an account, restrict terms and conditions, and may even reduce capacity. Several factors are contributing to the changes happening in the medical malpractice liability market, specifically, including the following:


What can we expect looking ahead? The days of decreasing premiums appear to be gone for now. It is likely that we will see a rise in rates as carriers look to rebuild their reserves and improve their combined loss ratios that have been higher than 100% for several years. Rate increases will vary depending on the type of risk, overall risk profile, and claims experience. The underwriting process will become more stringent. There will be a few more questions to answer and extra hoops to jump through in order for an insurer to consider writing an account. Preparation is key. Here are a few things to think about:

Be sure you are partnered with a trusted broker who has the experience and knowledge to navigate a hardening market. Medical malpractice premiums have been on the decline for more than a decade. Many brokers have simply not experienced a hardening market and do not understand the associated challenges. Look for a broker that has the knowledge and resources to obtain the best possible outcome for your business.

Torri Howard is a Vice President and Account Executive in the Parker Smith & Feek Healthcare Practice Group, specializing in commercial insurance products. She coordinates the resources within her firm to design and implement insurance programs tailored to meet the risk management objectives of her clients. In addition, she manages all aspects of the insurance program for some of Parker Smith & Feek's largest and technically complex clients. She holds the Associate in Risk Management Designation (ARM). Torri can be reached at 425-709-3642 or by clicking here