Insurance Regulators Usually Come From Within The Insurance Industry

In a recent article in the Kansas City Star, the author found that Insurance Regulators and Insurance executives routinely trade jobs through a "revolving door."  In an informal nationwide survey conducted by the newspaper, One-third of the new insurance commissioners came from the insurance field.  Moreover, more than half of the 35 insurance commissioners who left their jobs in the last three years procured new jobs with the insurance industry or groups that work for the insurance industry.

According to the Kansas City Star:

"Insurance companies have far deeper pockets, and far greater political pull, than consumers might ever dream of -- and their influence is considerable.  The reason is simple.  Big money is at stake.  Insurance premiums now equal roughly 10 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product."

Doug Heller, director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a non-profit California advocacy group was quoted

"The industry (insurance) gets what it wants across the country"

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Insurance Reform, Not Tort Reform Results in Physician Malpractice Premiums Being Reduced in Illinois

The St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting a story announcing that a medical malpractice insurer in Illinois will actually cut physician premiums for malpractice insurance as a result of recent legislation designed to aid competition between insurers. Berkshire Hathaway's Med Pro insurer is slated to cut rates 32% statewide and 38.5% in Madison and St. Clair counties this year. It is also expected to accept up to $100 million in new premiums beginning next year. Significantly, the Post Dispatch reports that "it was not the landmark bill's caps on how much doctors and hospitals can be forced to pay in a lawsuit that apparently did the trick." It was the provisions in the bill that forced medical malpractice insurers to share comprehensive information on how they set their rates which allowed other competitors to adjust their rates. The information on how and why a 30% rate decrease could be offered to physicians came directly from the director of the state's Division of Insurance, Michael McRaith.

What Berkshire is telling us is that ... it's the availability of the data that allows them to set rates that are more competitive than they could have set before,
McRaith said. "This just shows that it's insurance reform that has the capacity to lower rates and bring in competitors," said Mark Fraley, acting director of the Center for Justice and Democracy. "The caps never should have been an issue because they just don't work"

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Georgia Insurers Raise Malpractice Premiums Following Tort Reform

In a recent article which appears in the Macon Telegraph News at least seven Georgia Insurance Companies selling medical malpractice insurance to physicians have raised their premiums in the 16 months following the passage of medical malpractice caps in Georgia. This hike was made despite promises from lobbyists for the insurance industry that a cap would decrease malpractice premiums during their push for the malpractice legislation, Senate Bill 3, which passed in March of last year. In July of last year, Dennis Kelly, of the American Insurance Association, admitted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that "We have not promised price reductions with tort reform." In fact, a March 2002, media release from the AIA states " insurers never promised that tort reform would achieve specific premiums savings..."

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