Fixing the System

Physician's Money Digest, September15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 17

Even as the nation's physiciansface a crisis over medical malpracticepremiums, lawyers aregetting slammed too. According to theAmerican Bar Association, legal malpracticeinsurance is costing lawyers anaverage of 30% more than a year ago.Unlike doctors, however, lawyers aren'tblaming the legal profession for theincreases—they're targeting the insurancecompanies.

The falling stock market has cut intoinsurance company profits, some lawyerssay, which is causing them to raisepremiums in an effort to beef up thebottom line. At least 1 big company,American National Lawyers InsuranceReciprocal, Virginia's largest legal malpracticeinsurer, has gone out of business.That left about 14,000 lawyersscrambling to find coverage, a situationthat many doctors in malpractice-crisisstates like Mississippi and West Virginiamight find familiar.