by Bonnie Cavanaugh of Property Casualty 360º
The good news for doctors and Medical Malpractice insurers is that more than 90 percent of all medical-liability claims are resolved out of court with no payment to the patient.
But less favorably for insureds: Nearly all plaintiffs, regardless of the ultimate settlement, wind up terminating the relationship with the physician in question and telling an average of 13 friends about their bad experience.
And despite that high settlement percentage, insurers still pay an average of $37,000 in defense costs per claim, according to Maury Magids, founder and CEO of Medical Malpractice carrier Capson Physicians Insurance of Austin, Texas.
One way Capson looks to control legal costs: It responds to litigation quickly by assigning each Med Mal case an in-house staff attorney rather than a claims adjustor. Those lawyers communicate with plaintiffs’ attorneys in hopes of coming to an agreement.
So far this year, early resolution of settlements has helped the carrier close four cases that incurred a total of $1,500 in defense costs. That savings, Magids adds, is passed onto the client through lower premiums.
And by simply listening to their patients’ complaints and letting them know their concerns are heard, doctors can help prevent lawsuits from ever being filed in the first place, says Magids, whose company bills itself as “the Medical Malpractice Carrier that Listens.”
Capson’s physician clients are able to get immediate feedback from patients via an electronic-based patient-satisfaction survey they’re asked to fill out as they exit. Questions include: “How was your experience?” “How was the wait?” “How was the staff?” “How was the doctor?” “Were you satisfied with the visit? If not, why?”
The patient satisfaction program is being utilized at Health Central Women’s Care, the private OB/GYN practice of Dr. Jay Staub in Dallas, a Capson client.
“Our practice is pretty IT savvy,” says Staub, who has worked in personal care for 29 years and welcomes the chance to gather data that will help his practice avoid any potential issues. “We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve.”
Staub says he left his longtime insurance carrier for Capson several months ago when his former provider merged with a larger insurer and “became somewhat impersonal.” He was also attracted to Capson’s approach to Med Mal lawsuits: basically, “you shouldn’t have any,” Staub says.
As an operating philosophy, Capson does business under the assumption that technological innovations can help streamline underwriting, which then lowers overhead costs and allows a sizable savings to be passed onto the client.
“Doctors are still paying more than they should for Med Mal premiums,” says Magids. “They’re paying more for losses in regard to frequency and severity—and also more for an industry that has not cut its costs.”
According to Magids, Capson’s insurance premiums are 15-20 percent lower than the traditional market in terms of what physicians pay for Med Mal coverage.
“We’re coming at the market quite differently than a traditional Medical Malpractice insurance company,” says Magids. “We have created an online experience for a physician to come and quickly fill out a form online. The whole process is done in a couple of minutes.”
For more information, visit our website at http://www.capson.com/.